ERIC Number: ED354779
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1993
Moving In and Out of Bilingualism: Investigating Native Language Maintenance and Shift in Mexican-Descent Children. Research Report: 6.
A study investigated patterns and influences in Mexican-American children's Spanish language maintenance and shift toward English dominance or monolingualism. Subjects were 64 Mexican-descent children, ages 8-9, of varying immigration backgrounds (Mexican-born, U.S.-born of Mexican-born parents, U.S.-born of U.S.-born parents), and their families in one California community. Interviews and activities were conducted to investigate language proficiency, attitudes, and choices, and the children were observed and tape-recorded in everyday activities at home and at school. Preliminary findings indicate that a shift from Spanish to English is occurring across generations in language choice for home and school use. However, despite the tendency for children to have greater access to English-speaking teachers as they progress through grades, some still rely on English in academic activities with peers, suggesting an environment supportive of Spanish and of language alternation. A similar shift toward English appears in language proficiency across background groups, and interlingual dependency appears to occur only for foreign-born children with access to Spanish across a wide range of domains. Many adults want their children to be proficient in both languages. Overall, a strong commitment to bilingualism emerges, despite an intergenerational shift toward English. Bibliography and survey questions are appended. (MSE)
Descriptors: Bilingualism, Children, Code Switching (Language), English (Second Language), Family Influence, Immigrants, Language Attitudes, Language Maintenance, Language Proficiency, Language Role, Mexican Americans, Monolingualism, Spanish Speaking, Surveys, Tape Recordings
Dissemination Coordinator, National Center for Research on Cultural Diversity and Second Language Learning, Center for Applied Linguistics, 1118 22nd Street N.W., Washington, DC 20037 ($4).
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Office of Educational Research and Improvement (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: National Center for Research on Cultural Diversity and Second Language Learning, Santa Cruz, CA.