The Intergenerational Transmission of Minority Languages (ITML) Project is studying the extent to which speakers of minority languages in New Zealand are passing their language on to their children. The phrase ‘minority language’ is used here to refer to languages other than the three official languages of New Zealand: English, Māori and New Zealand Sign Language.
We are planning a number of interrelated projects, including a ‘bilingual teens’ project, which, with funding from NZILBB, focuses on the experiences of parents and their teenage children in situations where intergenerational transmission has been successful. The data sources for the ‘bilingual teen’ ITML project are twofold: recent census data on the number of child speakers and interviews with parents and their minority language speaking teenagers. Information from both sources will allow the ITML project to address the deficits in current knowledge with pamphlets and presentations to parents and relevant professional bodies. The project also has set up a website which includes information, resources, advice and encouragement drawn directly from the interviews to encourage parents to raise their children as speakers of their minority languages.