Literacy practices and heritage language maintenance: A case study of three Cameroonian adolescents

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The British University in Dubai (BUiD)
The study reports on the regulated and unregulated literacy practices of three adolescent children who all interact within a multilingual context in which we examine these practices to ascertain which of the language. The Subjects speak, understand and/or are familiar with at least 10 languages between them (English, French, Pidgin English, Spanish, Cameroonian dialects, Latin, German, Arabic, Chinese and Mandarin). We undertook an ethnographic case study by using literacy diaries and lexical retrieval tasks to obtain qualitative data which describes whether the knowledge of L1 and L2 and other languages is a significant predictor of the accuracy of lexical access. We assumed that the prevailing sociolinguistic and cultural environment in which the Subjects live will affect which language(s) make up their memory store. We also discuss heritage speakers in the light of differences in language input and learning experience which determine the behavior manifestations of linguistic knowledge and aptitude in regulated and unregulated contexts through using an ethnographic case study. Ultimately, our aim is to corroborate the bank of current literature which is seeking to make this aspect of psycholinguistics and sociolinguistic analysis an area of research in its right. We also interpret our findings as evidence that L1 attrition and successful competence in L2 and heritage languages are dependent on a combination of attitude, motivation and other personal background variables.
literacy practices, heritage language, Cameroonian adolescents, psycholinguistics analysis, sociolinguistic analysis