Exploring the Motivations and Identities of Immigrant Adolescents Pursuing Korean Heritage Language Learning: Navigating Across Contexts

Jung-In Kim, School of Education and Human Development at the University of Colorado Denver

For more information on this presentation, please contact JUNG-IN.KIM@UCDENVER.EDU.


This study investigated nine Korean immigrant adolescents’ motivational experiences while learning and maintaining Korean as a heritage language (HL) in the United States. Constant comparative analyses of data showed that, although all students experienced heritage motivation and expressed self-determined and autonomous reasons for learning the HL at some point in their lived experience, the students’ reasons for learning Korean varied within and across contexts according to their identity experiences, showing at least three meaningful patterns emerged. These adolescents’ various ranges and types of constructed reasons for learning Korean were informed by their identities as Korean HL learners, which were allowed or constrained in several sociocultural contexts (e.g., home, American school, and Korean HL school).