Navigating a New Home Using English: An Ethnographic Interview Study on English Language and Filipina Immigrants’ Mothering Experiences in Korea

MinSoo Kim-Bossard
page. 115~135 / 2022 Vol.16 No.2


In an ethnographic interview study, I examine the role that the English language plays in the lives of Filipina immigrants in South Korea as they navigate their new home as mothers of young children using the following research question: What impact does Filipina immigrant mothers’ knowledge of the English language have on their mothering experiences and the ways they navigate local communities in Korea? I examine how Filipina mothers use English as a means of communication with their children, as an asset to pursue employment opportunities, and as a channel through which they establish relationships in Korean society, which has a multi-billion US dollar market for English language education. While language skills are often promoted as a solution for difficulties immigrant mothers face during their time of transition, Filipina immigrant mothers’ language skills, their English in particular, help us understand the complexities of relational power dynamics within their homes, workplaces, and local communities.

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