An exploratory study into home minority language usage and maintenance in bilingual primary school children in Northern Ireland’s growing multicultural community

  • Andrew Fogarty

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Education


The idea for this study came about following informal discussions with concerned culturally and linguistically diverse parents of primary school children living in the ABC council area who were raising their children to be bilingual but had concerns about their children’s home minority language attrition.

Data was collected from parents and children and analysed using grounded theory and triangulated with data from a content analysis of children’s picture books and narrative accounts and compared with the academic literature.

The findings from the study detail how parents at home and globally are attempting to maintain their home minority language in their children. In addition, the findings from the study highlight that there is a lack of literature available for the children that actively promote the concept of being bilingual and the benefits, despite there being a significant amount of academic research literature aimed at adults.
The researcher, based on the findings of the research, recommends that children’s picture books are made available that cover the concept of being bilingual that can be read to the children in their own home language by their parents. Furthermore, the benefits of bilingualism should be disseminated to all key stakeholders and professionals who work with children, highlighting common myths that are often in circulation that lack any scientific evidence.

In addition, by promoting partnerships between the mainstream schools and the complementary schools allowing CALD children to learn their own home language in after school clubs. These home language clubs should also be accessible to local monolingual children. All children should be given recognition in the form of a formal qualification if they have attained a certain proficiency in any language. Finally, the researcher suggests further research in relation to recently arrived culturally and linguistically diverse families to the ABC council area as well as Northern Ireland and the UK in general.
Date of AwardJul 2021
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Queen's University Belfast
SupervisorKaren Kerr (Supervisor) & Caroline Linse (Supervisor)


  • Bilingual children
  • ESOL
  • home language
  • BFLA
  • ESLA

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