Article published in:Spanish Maintenance and Loss in the U.S. Southwest
Edited by Daniel J. Villa and Susana Rivera-Mills
[Spanish in Context 6:1] 2009
► pp. 69–84
Intergenerational Spanish transmission in El Paso, Texas
Parental perceptions of cost/benefit
This study examines the beliefs held by a group of adult Spanish-English bilinguals from El Paso, Texas regarding the vitality of Spanish in their community and the ways in which their own experience of being bilingual on the US-Mexico border has influenced their perceptions of the benefits and costs of fostering Spanish development in their children. Results show that parents’ positive attitudes toward Spanish did not translate into the investment of time and resources to foster Spanish development in their children nor, ultimately, into the use of Spanish by their children. Households where the mother perceived herself as having an active role in her children’s linguistic development and where she perceived both Spanish and a bilingual/biethnic identity as desirable for her children’s future were also households where children were expected to speak Spanish at home and where more opportunities for linguistic development were present. The author argues that these beliefs must be understood as a consequence of the underlying tensions present in the community, where intense linguistic and interethnic contact takes place every day.
Keywords: border dynamics, language loss, language maintenance, bilingualism, language attitudes
Published online: 09 April 2009
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