Cross-Cultural Communication in Russian-Speaking Immigrant Families in Israel: Language Practices of the Second Generation

Cover Page


В статье рассматриваются вопросы динамики повседневного общения детей и родителей в семьях русскоязычных израильтян. Русскоговорящие родители, иммигрировавшие в Израиль в 1990-е гг., принадлежат к последнему советскому поколению и, по большому счету, являются носителями традиционного русско-советского вербального стиля межличностной коммуникации. Их рожденные в Израиле дети, владеющие русским и ивритом, являются билингвами и демонстрируют коммуникативное поведение, подчиняющееся местным культурным нормам. Анализ межкультурной и двуязычной семейной коммуникации показывает, что русско-советский и израильский культурные сценарии живо взаимодействуют; это проявляется в репертуаре лингвистических средств и имеет тенденцию усиливаться при использовании языка. Определяющим для исследования является вопрос о том, как язык отражает состояние кросскультурности иммигрировавших и какие модели речевого поведения задействованы в повседневной семейной коммуникации. Результаты прагматического, конверсационного и дискурсивного анализа раскрывают особенности некоторых языковых и коммуникативных практик, используемых вторым поколением иммигрантов, а также указывают на то, что дети - иммигранты во втором поколении - становятся агентами перемен. Выявлено, что обе стороны вовлечены в процесс «культурного перевода» языковых парадигм: унаследованный менталитет старшего поколения и новый культурный опыт младшего поколения взаимодействуют в построении социально-культурной и языковой идентичности детей иммигрантов.

Full Text

1. Introduction How does language reflect the cross-cultural condition in immigration? Which patterns of verbal behavior are enacted in everyday family talk? Even more specifically, how do Russian-Soviet and Israeli educational discourses manifest themselves in interpersonal dialogues and construct family interaction? Having observed the following two situations in the families of Russian-speaking Israelis I came to the idea of studying this issue. In the first episode, a group of adults - Russian and native Israelis - got together around a table, and there was some lively discussion. Our host’s nine-year old son kept trying to interrupt in order to say something, but the adult company, including his mother, paid no attention to his numerous attempts. Eventually, the boy could not bear being ignored any longer and shouted loudly, addressing his mother in Hebrew: “Ima, tni li kawod - ani yeled!”(Mom, show me respect - I am a child). The boy, a competent bilingual Russian and Hebrew speaker, used Hebrew to address his mother, when demanding respect, substantiating his demand, and focusing on his status - that of an Israeli child. His choice of Hebrew gave him, intuitively, a sense of confidence to adjust the language to fit his sense of who he is[1]. A few months later, I witnessed a similar situation when observing communication in another Russian-speaking Israeli family. An eleven-year old girl tried to get her parents’ attention when they were busy with their visitors. In appealing to the lack of a corresponding attitude from the grown-ups, she exclaimed: “Ima, aba, aval atem lo mit’iahasim bihlal le ma she ani omeret!” (Mom, Dad, but you don’t take care at all for what I am saying). Using Hebrew to address her parents, the girl made a highly emotive statement, accentuating that her own needs have to be considered and signalling the evaluation of the lack of discursive contribution expected from the adults. In both cases, the guests smiled encouragingly, the children were allowed to speak, and the general conversation continued. It was apparent that modern Israeli society accepts such discursive behaviour in children. Children in Israel are clearly the focus of attention, they are allowed much leeway, and their active presence doesn’t disturb the adults (Katriel 1986, 1991). At the same time, I saw some Russian-Israeli parents exchange a subtle look of disparagement: in our experience of childhood, such verbal behaviour was not even a possibility! Indeed, in Soviet Russia, where showing respect for a child was not recognised as an unwritten social law, the attitude to the position and rights of children was explicitly different. Hence, the commonly-held beliefs about the acceptable ways of parent-child linguistic interaction are likely to maintain a disparity for Russian-Israeli parents. Russian-speaking parents, who immigrated to Israel in the 1990s, belong to the last generation that internalized the cultural heritage of Soviet Russia and as such, they are carriers of the conventional Russian-Soviet verbal style of interpersonal communication. They obviously bring their cultural assumptions into everyday interaction with their children, and their expectations, consequently, influence the format of communication. Their children, however, are Israeli-born bilingual Russian-Hebrew speakers who display local Israeli verbal behaviour styles. Thus this paper looks at the cross-cultural communication between the older and the younger generations in the families of Russian Israelis. It explores which culture-specific patterns of linguistic behaviour both parties, and children - especially, mobilize in their communication. It also reveals the meaning of the dominant discursive modes in particular communicative moments, as well as in the wider, cultural Russian-Israeli encounter. 2. Russian-speaking families in Israel: Cultural continuity and change in immigration As noted by Schieffelin and Ochs (1986: 164), everyday discourse is a “powerful socializing medium”, conveying crucial cultural information not only through content but also through the form of discourse. The research further extends Schieffelin and Ochs’ (Ibid.) language socialisation paradigm to explore how immigration affects the socialisation process of parents-children everyday communication. In the framework of the immigrant community, multiculturalism is treated as a temporary compromise with the hope that the second generation will narrow down or close the gap to the mainstream (Alba and Nee 1997). In Israel likewise, better integration of new immigrants, obviously depends on their readiness to accept Israeli values and the cultural stereotypes of the new homeland. Crossing the cultural bridge to the host society goes hand in hand with the acquisition of a new language. Hebrew proficiency is regarded as a sign of a successful acculturation, and the general language policy of the state has been traditionally targeted at the ubiquitous encouragement of Hebrew use with apparent disregard of other languages and separate cultural identities that these languages promote (Ben Rafael 1994; Spolsky and Shohamy 1999). Within this general policy, however, as recent research on immigrants has reported, the unqualified majority of Russian Israelis, belonging to different socio-economic strata, tend to see Russian culture and language as a major factor in their identity, and are determined to preserve this part of their lives (Remennick 2003, 2007; Yelenevskaya and Fialkova 2013; Zbenovich and Lerner 2013). They also believe Russian culture and Russian language, in particular, to be one of the most important values to be transmitted to their children. Moreover, most immigrants perceive Russian culture and language as superior to Israeli culture and Hebrew language: they enjoy very deep roots in Russian culture and press extremely hesitant attitudes towards Israeli cultural life (Niznik, 2011a; 2011b). As a part of their cultural capital, immigrant families have brought with them conceptual models of the successful parenting. There is no doubt, however, that the process of childrearing is to a certain extent challenged by the host culture. While Russian Israeli parents obviously transfer from their culture implicit knowledge of childrearing and goals for the education of their children, they encounter new implicit assumptions, as well as explicit practices concerning childrearing in Israel. In addition, while the adaptation to the host culture reveals itself in the public domain, the upholding of the traditional cultural patterns of raising the children is apparently favoured in (and in that is limited to) the private realm - home and family context. It is not uncommon, that children of this generation - who are for the most part Israeli-born with dominant Hebrew and a different perception of the world as part of their Israeli cultural background - experience tension and even confront parents’ attempts to instil Russian Soviet cultural norms to the cultural world they live in. Indeed, simultaneous with the evident success of Russian Israelis in preserving and maintaining their cultural heritage, recent research reports on a serious cultural change among the second generation of Russians in Israel: the younger Russian generation is going through extensive Israelization (Remennick and Celnik 2011). In spite of their self-definition as “Russians” or “Russian Israelis” some of them are no longer proficient in Russian language, particularly in reading and writing (Niznik 2007). Moreover, they do not continue to perform cultural practices that are considered part of the Russian identity (for example, reading books, musical training and cultural consumption (Elias and Khvorostianov 2010; Niznik 2011b). They adopt Israeli manners and customs and are thus visibly indistinguishable from the locals. This ostensibly contradictory situation of cultural continuity, coupled with change within the Russian-speaking community in Israel, apparently constitutes a cross-cultural encounter within the Russian immigrant family. Different generations speak different languages and are exposed to different cultural models and practice different cultural styles of communication. It seems in this context, that the resources mobilised by the older generation of Russian Israeli immigrants to preserve their cultural and language universe and employed for passing the cultural capital onto their children are viewed as going “against the flow” (Zbenovich 2013, 2014). It is also evident that the practices of raising children by Russian Israelis are mostly vivid and could be better examined through the prism of a ‘clash’ within the family dialogues between immigrant parents and their Israeli-born children, who possess the inherent local communicative style. It should be noted that the linguistic and social motivations of cross-generational interaction have been recently extensively investigated in different cultural contexts. Research on children’s and adults’ linguistic performance in multilingual settings incorporates analysis of acculturation and maintenance of heritage language (Haque 2011; Nesteruk 2010; Ng 2007), linguistic and social meaning of language alternation (Gafaranga 2005; Guerini 2006; Torras and Gafaranga 2002), as well as language preferences in negotiating family values (Zhu 2008). The questions of how a multilingual context determines the use of linguistic forms and what are diverse factors that play a role in research on multilingual communication were also approached from a broader ethnographic perspective (Auer and Li Wei 2007; House and Rehbein 2004; Saville-Troike 2003). This extensive literature, and the empirical evidences it provides, helps to understand the sociolinguistic situation in different immigrant communities. It suggests that children learn the new language readily, before their parents, while parents use their native language to pass on their cultural heritage and knowledge to children. In the context of Russian- speaking immigrant communities, these insights seem particularly relevant, since most of the adult immigrants of the 1990s were monolingual and had little experience in learning languages, and have provoked intensive research. Sociolinguistic research on parents-children interaction within the Russian-speaking immigrant communities worldwide focuses on psychology of communication (Shulova-Piryatinsky and Harkins 2009) and emotion-related factors in language choice (Pavlenko 2004) and was based on data from parents’ questionnaires and discussions in Internet forums. On the Israeli scene, as far as Russian-Hebrew communication is concerned, the studies focus on the language policy models (Kopeliovich 2010; Schwartz 2008) and examine relationship between family relations and language maintenance (Tannenbaum and Berkovich 2005). In consideration of the insights gained by these studies into the dynamics of the Russian language use in Israel, I suggest switching the focus of the analysis and tracking the ways linguistic forms are used in informal communication and how they reflect the cross-cultural encounter inherent in the life of immigrant families. I would argue for the necessity of incorporating cultural and pragmatic analysis of linguistic form that revolves around the examination of communicative modes and styles, as well as key cultural concepts. More specifically, the research aims at understanding not only the immigrants’ attitudes towards the maintenance of the Russian language, but rather how this language functions in the family's private realm. 3. Data and Methods The study is based on ethnographic observations during the period 2009-2014 among Russian-speaking Israeli families residing in Jerusalem area, in the North of Israel (Haifa) and in the central part (Tel Aviv area). Research subjects are twenty eight urban, educated, middle-class (the intelligentsia) families (56 children and 63 adults) who immigrated to Israel from the former Soviet Union in the early 1990's. The families were recruited through the snowball technique - those who were initially contacted helped us to find others[2]. The parents (28 married couples and 7 single mothers) are in their mid-thirties to mid-forties, they immigrated to Israel during their late teens or early twenties. The majority of the parents graduated from Israeli universities and are employed in professional occupations (e.g., teachers, scientists and academics, medical doctors and staff, lawyers, graphic-designers, system analysts and counsellors). The children are Israeli-born junior schoolchildren between the ages of six and twelve. At first, a pilot focus group of three families of parents was held in a home setting, where I elicited information by interviews conducted in an unstructured and informal manner. The observation was then escalated by allowing the parents to raise their own topics. The group discussions stimulated the families’ recollections and thus produced the initial data and insights gained. At the next stage, the research database was comprised of natural recorded conversations (over 120 samples of different length, about 50 hours of the recorded material), both pre-planned and spontaneous. The samples of family intergenerational communication were collected at mealtimes in home settings, at the public spaces (e.g. swimming pools, playgrounds and public transport). The conversations were conducted in Russian, however parts of them involve examples of code-switching. The families were told that the focus of the research was on the mechanisms of maintaining the Russian language; they were not, however, told of the research interest in culturally- and linguistically-bound ways of organizing communication, family control and language socialization in immigrant families. Additional data were collected by way of interviews with the families on the issues of raising children in Israel, the host culture and Russian cultural values. The interviews create the broader context that explains data collected through observation of parent-children interactions[3]. The interviews and family interaction allow a combination of two types of information for the same research objective: to interpret the Russian-Israeli parents’ and children’s cultural perceptions as reflected in the patterns of their linguistic performance. My approach to examining the interactional styles used by parents and children is guided by discourse analyses, elaborated within sociolinguistic studies, for accounts of socio-cultural process: speech acts theory (Austin 1999), pragmatic analysis (Grice 1975) and interactional sociolinguistics (Goffman 1967). To identify some particular modes of cross-cultural communication and exhibit some specific characteristics of “Russianness” and “Israeliness” in family interaction, I turned to a close conversational analysis of how participants talk and to what aspects of talk they pay attention. To make sense of the particular fabric of family discourse, I adopted the communicative-pragmatic model suggested by Blum-Kulka (1997). I observed communicative patterns and key-terms that would best explicate the conversational mechanism of the cross-generational interaction. Simultaneously, I studied cultural grounds underlying these linguistic forms that could explain their meanings. In that line of analysis, I drew upon anthropological structural and linguistic approaches for interpretation of cultural key-words, key-concepts and key-symbols (Bloch 2003; Katriel 1991; Wierzbicka 1997). In the interpretative analysis, I looked for the moments of discursive resistance at the interactional level and examined the content and dynamics of the interaction, paying attention to parents’ and children’s negotiation patterns, code-switching modes, turn-taking and speaking rights in relation to family hierarchies in the following section, I examine two episodes in detail: one involves a discursive power game between parties as a result of different proficiency levels of Hebrew and Russian, the other reveals the event of linguistic resistance on the part of a child as reflected in the code-switching. 4. Language choice: The pragmatics of Hebrew and Russian Different levels of familiarity with two languages, Russian and Hebrew, which create everyday discourse, are the underlying gap in the parent-children interaction that was observed. The parents are the main promoters of Russian: judging by the interviews, Russian Israeli parents would like their children to preserve a full mastery of the Russian language. As part of this, parents continue to speak their native language at home, to guide their children’s verbal comprehension and to supervise the accuracy of their speech. The parent’s desire to pass native language to their children is evidenced in immigrant parents’ exclusive use of Russian when speaking with children, even if the latter switch to Hebrew in their response. The patterns of the language choice by children vary according to context. In examining bilingualism, broader social context scholars (Gumperz 1982; Auer 1988) have noted that code-switching performs discursive as well as social functions. The essential question regarding language use then concerns the pragmatic outcome of communicating in Hebrew - the children’s dominant language, and in Russian - which is dominant for the adults. More specifically, how do parents and children establish their positions in the discourse through language choices? No less important is the subject of the children’s and parents’ meta-pragmatic comments around the encounter. In Blum Kulka’s (1997: 180) terms, these comments relate to all aspects of verbal (and non-verbal) behaviour considered worthy of attention. The explicit ways in which participants discuss verbal appropriateness are important in the bilingual discourse, since they act as an index for the communicants in regard to linguistic and conversational performance. The analysis of the following interaction between Ben and his mother illustrates the pragmatic use of both languages. The conversation takes place at mealtime during celebration of Hanukkah. In Israel, this is a holiday that focuses on children, since, according to the tradition, during it, children are given some pocket money. Participants of the conversation are: mother, Ben, aged 8, and visitors - two adults and two children. The general conversation in Russian is taking place, when suddenly Ben switches to Hebrew. (1) Ben: (in Hebrew) Ima, kvar tagidi... [Mom, say it already] (2) Mother: What should I say, Beni? (3) Ben: She ahshav higiya ha-zman le-halukat dmey kis. [That the time has come to give the pocket money] (4) Mother: Yes. (Calls all the children) Kids, come here! (5) Ben: Kama kesev tavi li? [How much money will you give me?] (6) Mother: Ata ben shmone - tekabel shmone shekalim. [You are eight years old - you will get eight shekels] (7) Ben: Shmona shekalim, ki shekel- ze zahar. (correcting the mother) [Eight shekels, because shekel is masculine] (8) Mother: Beni, you switch to Russian now! In pursuit of his goal of getting money - a crucial component of the holiday ritual, Ben switches to Hebrew and directs the conversation to the relevant channel: he points out his mother’s turn to speak - ima, kvar tagidi (mum, say it already...) in (1), and governs the setting of the thematic frame - that the time has come to give the pocket money - in (3). Eventually, in turn (5), Ben asks the direct question pertaining to the sum of his present - kama kesev tavi li (how much money will you give me?) The first two exchanges reflect Ben’s willingness to be informed about the missing component of communication, and one could estimate the boy’s pragmatic vigilance and awareness: the moves (1) and (3) represent meta-pragmatic comments about the mother’s verbal behaviour as regards the absence of her relevant contribution to the discourse in the context of the Hanukkah evening. According to the Gricean theory of conversation and successful communication (Grice 1975), the maxim of ‘quantity’ was violated: for the current purposes of talk, the mother’s participation was less informative than needed. Another act of control by the boy refers to the meta-linguistic level of the talk: In his last turn (7), Ben corrects his mother drawing attention to her improper grammatical use of gender of the numeral “eight” (the noun shekel is masculine, so the correct form is shmona, with the stress o the last syllable). During the entire conversation Ben speaks Hebrew, and until the final move his language choice is ‘unnoticed’. The mother, according to the holiday ceremony (where children and giving them money are in focus) regards her son’s comments with understanding and invites the children in (4). To respond to Ben’s question about money, pertinent within the holiday frame, the mother eventually switches to Hebrew as well - ata ben shmone - tikabel shmone shekalim (you are eight years old - you will get eight shekels) in (6). She responds in Russian in (8) only when she finds her son’s meta-linguistic comment face threatening to the extent that she feels it necessary to code-switch. The mother assumes the violation of politeness formula (of how things are said), and confronts it not only by switching to her native Russian, but also by protesting against further use of Hebrew on the part of her son. If one considers the code-switching in relation not only to a particular speaker but to the dynamics of the interaction as a whole, Hebrew is preferable for the child in the context of the Hanukkah event, since Hebrew reflects the realities related to the Jewish and Israeli experience (for example, school preparation for the holiday). However, a high level of proficiency in Hebrew can also lead to a power game - the boy turns to this language as a pragmatic resource that allows him to question the very role of his parent as an authority. In this social perspective of a power game and shift of authorities, Hebrew embodies for the child an essential pragmatic function. Consequently, the language choice figures as the most salient feature (Gafaranga 2005:291) of meta-control discourse. Meta-pragmatic comments issued by either parents or children manifest the use of the language, dominant and preferable for either party; they serve as a tool on the one hand, for eliciting appropriate ways of verbal behaviour from the communicative partner and on the other, for establishing the power discourse. 5. Code-switching as a marker of linguistic resistance Late Soviet and post-Soviet Russian-Israeli parents continue to encourage their ideas and practices of raising children, adjusting and adapting their educational aims to the new context. The Russian-Soviet parental discourse however is confronted by the manner of communication prevalent in Israel. The Israeli communicative style finds its expression in the very way Israelis interact with their children - the one that offers children to take up a higher proportion of talking space, permits children’s arguments and resistance and allows them a great deal of directness in their self expression. As a result, children are active in communicating with grown-ups; their voices are heard in conversation and they can respond on an equal footing. Thus, growing up in Israel, Russian-speaking children internalize Israeli modes of children's communication and bring them back into their own family interactions. Interpreting the assertive responses of Russian-speaking children, I would suggest that their verbal behavior denotes linguistic resistance that constitutes a boundary between the two discourses. In the following excerpt, we will observe a case of such a linguistic resistance to the repetitive style of Russian-Soviet parental educational discourse. Here Nila, aged 10, is practicing her violin homework, with his mother in the same room, hovering over what Nila is doing. It should be noted, that according to interviews with parents, many Russian-Israelis believe that violin learning (and musical training in general) is a solid practice of teaching discipline. (1) Mother: Nila, stand up straight. (2) Nila: Well, Mom. (3) Mother: And, Nila, you should do intervals when playing the short movements. (4) Nila: Well, Mom, dai! [Enough] Dora (the teacher) has already told me this, don’t tell me this again and again - I do know it by myself. (5) Mother: But dear, this is indeed important! (6) Nila: Lo naim li! Ani lo rotza she tagidi li yoter! Ani ken zokheetr et ze beatzmi! [This is unpleasant! I don’t want you to tell me this anymore! I do remember this by myself] In this example, the Russian educational communication reveals itself through the rhetoric of the mother’s successive reiteration of comments regarding her daughter’s appearance: (1) stand up straight, and performance (3): you should do intervals when playing the short movements. The repetitive instructions elicit the girl’s displeasure, expressed in her linguistic resistance. Nila switches to Hebrew, yet the choice of the language is strongly emotionally contingent: only one word dai (4) is embedded in Nila’s response, conducted entirely in Russian. This emotionally-charged word lends an impassioned quality to the girl’s argument. In Johnstone's (1986) terms, the speaker may find herself in such emotional state that she does not care about reaching the final point of the conversation and instead tries to terminate what disturbs her immediately, using the “basic ground” - the ultimate possible reason, on which all other arguments can be based. For Nila, dai seems to be this ultimate ground - the deepest, most basic reason on which all others rest; a reason that seems to determine the language that the girl uses. A substantial proportion of the examined conversation is conducted in Russian, with Hebrew being used less frequently and only by the daughter. Nila turns to code-switching as a linguistic resource to use in opposing and challenging her mother; to establish her position and terminate what she considers a non-desirable interaction. Nila’a choice of Hebrew substantiates her negation and intuitively gives her a sense of confidence by adjusting the language to fit her feelings. In this exchange, the Russian phrase (4) - I do know it by myself, negates the mother’s control. However, together with the Hebrew dai it does not merely establish cross-generational boundaries, but rather reveals the encounter between two different cross-cultural communicative modes: Russian-Soviet educational and Israeli self-centered. To the mother’s numerous comments on her appearance and behavior, Nila counter-poses her own self-awareness and autonomy and indicates that she is able to control herself: (4) - don’t tell me this again and again. However, the pattern of the girl’s emotional negation seems to climax in her last retort (6). Nila reinforces her resistance by entirely switching to Hebrew, as she reclaims her independence: Ani ken zokheret et ze beatzmi! (I do remember this by myself!), and explicitly demands that the mother stop her comments: Lo naim li! Ani lo rotza she tagidi li yoter! (This is unpleasant! I don’t want you to tell me this anymore!). In doing so, she is desperately trying to escape from her mother’s educational discourse. Notable here is the girl’s usage of the phrase lo naim li - literally, “I feel unpleasant with this”. This Israeli expression reflects the child’s high level of reflexivity, her awareness of her own emotions in considering interactions with the others, and attentiveness to her self-needs. This and other similar Hebrew expressions[4] are ingrained in the self-centred communicative Israeli style (Zbenovich and Lerner 2013). Expressions of this kind, in their literal meaning, are barely translatable into Russian. They did not appear within the legitimate Russian-Soviet discursive, educational communicative style which did not encourage excessive reflection on one’s emotions, and did not provide room for a child’s articulation of her self-needs. 6. Closing remarks: Immigrant children as agents of change To conclude, cross-cultural and bilingual family communication is a fertile site to demonstrate that the practices of raising children are to a significant extent transmitted through culture-specific meanings embodied in language. Russian language is one of the most imperative ways in which Russian Israeli parents mold their culture in immigration, construct social identity and create their community. Moreover, the Russian language is an incentive for the parents’ intuitive survival in their children: it symbolizes the human cultural capital that they strive to pass on to the next generation. This underlies the reason why Russian Soviet cultural scenario operates locally in a vibrant way; it is manifested in the linguistic repertoire and even enforced through language use. Thus the conversational fabric of family dialogues embodies linguistic testimony that cultural meanings and values associated with particular Russian and Soviet cultural domains are constructed through talk and are incorporated within the basically Israeli worldview of the children. On the other hand, however, the familial discourse of child rearing is challenged in Israel by a new language and a new communication style that is deeply rooted in the Israeli cultural ethos. Israeli-born children subvert the Russian-Soviet educational messages inherent in their parents, which for them seem imported from “far away”. The children mobilize various forms of linguistic resistance, and probe different discursive styles taken from their new cultural arsenal of Israeliness and its self-centered communicative style. Analyzing the multi-lingual fabric of Russian immigrant family communication we witness the educational discourse versus acts of code-switching, as well as episodes of pragmatic function of language ingrained in both cultures. Children switch back and forth from Russian to Hebrew and use meta-pragmatic comments to signal their feelings about the inappropriateness of the discursive behaviour of adults in the new Israeli cultural context. Children thus become the agents of the change, when they introduce a new type of discourse and language to the family's educational conversations. While children’s articulation of self-centeredness was not a part of their communication within the legitimate Russian-Soviet family discourse, it is given full reign in modern Israeli culture and is ingrained in the Israeli communicative style. Hence Russian-Israeli parents encounter and interpret a new type of child-rearing discourse and are challenged by the dilemma: to adapt to or to confront the style of communication their children display. Research suggests that both parties are involved in the process of ‘cultural adjustment’ of the language paradigms: the inherited mentalities of the “elders” and the different cultural experience of the younger generation are negotiated in the construction of socio-cultural and linguistic identities of the children. © Claudia Zbenovich, 2016

About the authors

Claudia Zbenovich

Hadassah Academic College

37, Hanavi’im Street, 91010, Jerusalem, Israel, PO Box 1114


  1. Alba, R. and Nee, V. (1997). Rethinking assimilation theory for a new era of immigration, International Migration Review, 31: 4, 826-74
  2. Auer, J.C. P. (1988). A conversation analytic approach to code-switching and transfer, in M. Heller (ed.), Codeswitching: Anthropological and sociolinguistic perspectives, 187-215. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter
  3. Auer, J.C. P. and Li Wei. (2007). Handbook of Multilingualism and Multilingual Communication. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter
  4. Austin, J. (1999). How to Do Things with Words. Oxford: Clarendon Press
  5. Ben Rafael, E. (1994). Language, Identity and Social Division. Oxford: Clarendon Press
  6. Bloch, L.R. (2003). Who's afraid of being a Freier? The analysis of communication through a key cultural frame. Communication Theory, 13, 125-159
  7. Blum-Kulka, Sh. (1997). Dinner talk: Cultural patterns of sociability and socialization in family discourse. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates
  8. Elias, N. and Khvorostianov, N. (2010). 'People of the Book': book reading by the FSU Immigrant Adolescents in Israel. The Journal of Children and Media, 4(3), 316-330
  9. Gafaranga, J. (2005). Demythologising language alternation studies: conversational structure vs. social structure in bilingual interaction. Journal of Pragmatics, 37 (3), 281-300
  10. Goffman, E. (1967). Interaction Ritual: Essays on face-to-face behaviour. New York: Doubleday Anchor
  11. Grice, P.H. (1975). Logic and conversation, in Peter Cole and Jerry L. Morgan (eds.), Syntax and Semantics, vol. 3. Speech Acts, 41-58. New York: Academic Press
  12. Guerini, F. (2006). Language Alternation Strategies in Multilingual Settings. Bern: Peter Lang
  13. Gumperz, J. (1982). Discourse Strategies. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
  14. Haque, Sh. (2011). Migrant family language practices and language policies in Finland. Apples - Journal of Applied Language Studies, 5 (1), 49-64
  15. House, J. and Rehbein, J. (eds.). (2004). Multilingual Communication, Amsterdam: John Benjamins
  16. Johnstone, B. (1986). Arguments with Khomeni: Rhetorical situation and persuasive style in cross-cultural perspective. Text 6 (2), 171-187
  17. Katriel, T. (1986). Talking Straight: Dugri speech in Israeli sabra culture. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
  18. Katriel, T. (1991). Communal Webs: Communication and culture in contemporary Israel. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press
  19. Kopeliovich, S. (2010). Family language policy: From a case study of a Russian-Hebrew bilingual family towards a theoretical framework. Diaspora, Indigenous and Minority Education, 4 (2)
  20. Nesteruk, O. (2010). Heritage Language Maintenance and loss among the children of East European Immigrants in the USA. Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development, 31 (3), 271-86
  21. Ng, H.S. (2007). From language acculturation to communication acculturation: addressee orientations and communication brokering in conversations. Journal of Language and Social Psychology, 26 (1), 75-90
  22. Niznik, M. (2007). Teaching Russian in Israel - Challenging the System. In: M. Kenigshtein (ed.) Russian Face of Israel Features of Social Portrait. Gesharim: Jerusalem - Moskva: Mosty Kul’tury, 403-420
  23. Niznik, M. (2011a). Cultural practices and preferences of ‘Russian’ youth in Israel. Israel Affairs, 17 (1), 89-107
  24. Niznik, M. (2011b). 'I’ve never been to the Theatre': Cultural Preferences of ‘Russian’ internet generation in Israel. Sociological Papers, 16 (The Emerging Second Generation of Immigrant Israelis), 78-92
  25. Pavlenko, A. (2004). Stop Doing That, Ia komu skazala!: Language Choice and Emotions in Parent-Child Communication. Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development, 25 (2) 179-203
  26. Remennick, L. (2003). Language acquisition as the main vehicle of social integration: Russian Immigrants of the 1990s in Israel, International Journal of the Sociology of Language, 164, 83-105
  27. Remennick, L. (2007). Russian Jews on Three Continents, New Brunswick: Transaction Publishers
  28. Remennick, L. and Celnik, P. (2011). The Children of ‘Russian’ Immigrant Parents in Israel: Identity and Social Integration. Sociological Papers, 16 (The Emerging Second Generation of Immigrant Israelis), 1-38
  29. Saville-Troike, M. (2003). The Ethnography of Communication, (third edition). Oxford, Blackwell
  30. Schieffelin, B. and Ochs, E. (1986). Language socialization. Annual Review of Anthropology, 15, 163-191
  31. Schönpflug, U. 2001. Intergenerational transmission of values. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 32, 174-185
  32. Schwartz, M. (2008). Exploring the Relationship between Family Language Policy and Heritage Language Knowledge among Second Generation Russian-Jewish Immigrants in Israel. Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development, 29 (5), 400-18
  33. Shulova-Piryatinsky, I. and Harkins, D.A. (2009). Narrative discourse of native and immigrant Russian-speaking mother-child dyads. Narrative Inquiry, 19 (2), 328-355
  34. Spolsky, B. and Shohamy, E. (1999). The Languages of Israel: Policy, ideology, and practice. Clevedon, UK: Multilingual Matters Limited
  35. Tannenbaum, M. and Berkovich, M. (2005). Family relations and language maintenance: implications for language educational policies. Language Policy, 4(3), 287-309
  36. Torras, M-C. and Gafaranga, J. (2002). Social identities and language alternation in non-formal institutional bilingual talk: Trilingual service encounters in Barcelona. Language in Society, 31, 527-48
  37. Wierzbicka, A. (1997). Understanding Cultures through Their Key Words: English, Russian, Polish, German, and Japanese. Oxford: Oxford University Press
  38. Yelenevskaya, M. and Fialkova, L. (2013). In Search of the Self: Reconciling the Past and the Present in Immigrants’ Experience. Tartu: ELM Scholarly Press
  39. Zbenovich, C. (2013). The Russian-Jewish babushka in Israel: discourse analysis of a cultural phenomenon. In: S. Smyth & C. Opitz (eds.) Negotiating Linguistic, Cultural and Social Identities in the Post-Soviet World, 141-161. Peter Lang
  40. Zbenovich, C. (2014). Linguistic performance of Russianness among Russian-Israeli parents. In: Ryazanova-Clarke (ed.) The Russian Language Outside the Nation: Speakers and Identities, 189-205. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press
  41. Zbenovich, C. and Lerner, J. (2013). Vospitanie - eto rabota: Intercultural encounters in educational communication within Russian-speaking families in Israel. Russian Journal of Communication, 5:2, 119-140
  42. Zhu, H. (2008). Duelling Languages, Duelling Values: Codeswitching in bilingual intergenerational conflict talk in diasporic families. Journal of Pragmatics, 40, 1799-1816



Abstract - 745

PDF (English) - 180


Copyright (c) 2016 Збенович К.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

This website uses cookies

You consent to our cookies if you continue to use our website.

About Cookies