Prolepsis, syncretism, and synergy in early language and literacy practices: A case study of family language policy in Singapore

Li Ren, Guangwei Hu

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


This article reports a case study of two Chinese-English bilingual families in Singapore and illustrates the importance of incorporating two hitherto disconnected fields of research-family language policy and family literacy practices-to an understanding of early language and literacy acquisition in the familial milieu. Specifically, this work illuminates how such language socialization processes as prolepsis, syncretism, and synergy mediate the influences of the larger sociocultural context on the focal children's bilingual and biliteracy learning at home. A comparison of the two families reveals similarities and differences in the way they drew on language practices from multiple resources to involve their children in an array of bilingual/biliteracy activities and to align these activities to the current and projected future needs of the children. The study shows how the family members' cultural backgrounds, past experiences of learning and parenting, educational beliefs, and aspirations for the children shaped language ideology, language practices, and language management at home.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)63-82
Number of pages20
JournalLanguage Policy
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 11 Jan 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Early literacy
  • Family language policy
  • Language ideology, language practice, and language management
  • Prolepsis, syncretism, and synergy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Linguistics and Language

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