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Exploring the relationship between electronic literacy and heritage language maintenance. Language Learning Technology 10(2): 93–113, 2006. .html

By Jin Sook Lee


This paper focuses on the electronic literacy practices of two Korean-American heritage language learners who manage Korean weblogs. Online users deliberately alter standard forms of written language and play with symbols, characters, and words to economize typing effort, mimic oral language, or convey qualities of their linguistic identity such as gender, age, and emotional states. However, little is known about the impact of computer-mediated nonstandard language use on heritage learners ’ linguistic development. Through in-depth case studies of two siblings, the study examines the linguistic and pragmatic practices of these learners online and the perceived effects of non-standard forms of computer-mediated language on their heritage language development and maintenance. The data show that electronic literacy practices provide authentic opportunities to use the language and support the development of a social network of Korean speakers, which results in greater sociopsychological attachment to the Korean language and culture. The informants report that the deviant language forms found in e-texts enable them to engage in online interactions without the pressures of having to spell the words correctly. However, they express frustrations in not being able to distinguish between correct and non-standard forms of the language, which appear to be affecting their offline language use

Year: 2009
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