Ethnolinguistic vitality, prejudice, and family language transmission

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Abstract

Studies of ethnolinguistic vitality have suggested some usefulness of that notion for predicting language maintenance behaviors among groups who might be in the process of language shift. Strangely little use of the concept has been made for the study of the cornerstone of maintenance, intergenerational transmission. The present investigations were undertaken to test the hypothesis that ethnolinguistic vitality determines family policies about the transmission of Spanish among Mexican Americans in the Southwest In the first study, conducted in Austin, Texas, the prediction was that the parents transmitting Spanish possess stronger ethnolinguistic vitality beliefs than those who withhold the language from their children. In the second inquiry, carried out in rural southeast Arizona, the hypothesis remained the same, but the research design was altered and an index of experience with prejudice was incorporated. Findings suggest that ethnolinguistic vitality is an important determinant of family transmission policies, but that a perceived prejudice is an equally potent determinant in the opposite direction. The results are discussed in terms of implications for maintenance of a positive personal and cultural identity by parents and children.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)177-207
Number of pages31
JournalBilingual Research Journal
Volume20
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1996

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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Education
  • Linguistics and Language

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