Language Choice Patterns among Bilingual Migrant Students

  • Published : 2003.03.01


This paper investigates the patterns of language choice among bilingual Korean students in New Zealand and presents the findings by the individual variables which influence their language behaviour. Respondent variables such as gender, present age, age at migration, region, and duration of residence were adopted as frames of analyses as they were thought to bring us macro-sociolinguistic features of language behaviour in a broad sense. A total of 177 primary to tertiary students from three regions of New Zealand (Auckland, Wellington, and Christchurch) were surveyed to find out characteristics of their language choice patterns with diverse interlocutors in a wide range of contexts. It was found that the younger AAM (age at migration) group showed a greater shift towards English. In addition, the longer the respondents had resided in New Zealand the more they used English. The results also revealed that females generally used less English and were more flexible choosing either Korean or English according to the situation. The younger respondents were using more English in some exceptional contexts where tertiary students were ahead of secondary students. Respondents from Wellington, on the whole, shifted towards English more than others from Auckland, and Christchurch. From these findings some implications are suggested for Korean students, teachers, researchers, and the government not only in New Zealand but also in Korea.