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In pursuit of linguistic gold: mothering in a globalised world

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  26 May 2009

Abstract

A follow-up of Jin-Kyu Park's contribution in ET97 on ‘English Fever’ in South Korea, by examining one of the consequences in Singapore – the destination for thousands of ‘study mothers’ who migrate from South Korea and China to help their young children acquire ‘linguistic capital’ by learning English.

This paper focuses on the existence of around 7000 Chinese (PRC) and 5000 Korean study mothers in 2007 in the Republic of Singapore (Toh, 2008). Known in their respective home countries as ‘wild goose mothers’ (kirogi omma) and ‘study mothers’ (pei du mama), these mothers leave their husbands behind while they accompany their children, some as young as 7 years, to a foreign country in the pursuit of linguistic gold. ‘We have good science and maths at home but we need the English to make it work.’

Type
Original Article
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2009

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