ERIC Number: ED234633
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1982-Oct
Reference Count: 0
The Maintenance of Spanish over Three Generations in the United States.
Lopez, David E.
The national language patterns of Hispanics are assessed across three generations using data from the 1979 Current Population Survey. The apparently high rates of Spanish use and maintenance found in 1979 and 1980 are consistent with earlier sources that report much lower rates because of the rewording of the language use questions in the 1979 survey. The 1979 survey uses questions that yield skewed results by greatly overestimating the proportion of the population for whom the ethnic language is their dominant or most frequently used language. Correcting for this bias requires the development of a three-category scale which corresponds directly to levels of language maintenance. Using this scale, a three-generational analysis was performed. There were distinct shifts from first to second and from second to third generations. One notable result was that Spanish use among third generation Hispanics is markedly higher than what is found for other immigrant groups. The retention of Spanish is particularly strong among Mexican Americans. There was also a clear association between using Spanish and low socioeconomic status. There was a secondary trend, revealed by multiple discriminant function analysis, in which high status and maintaining Spanish while also gaining competence in English is distinguished from either monolingual pattern. (Author/RW)
Descriptors: Hispanic Americans, Language Maintenance, Language Usage, National Surveys, Questioning Techniques, Spanish
National Center for Bilingual Research, 4665 Lampson Ave., Los Alamitos, CA 90720
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: National Inst. of Education (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: National Center for Bilingual Research, Los Alamitos, CA.