The Impact of Adolescent Neighborhood and School Context on Asian and Latino Young Adults’ Native Language Use with Family

Lindsey Wilkinson, Portland State University

Native language maintenance can be valuable at the individual and societal level, making rapid shifts to English at the expense of the native language a phenomenon of concern. Research examining patterns of language shift has long focused on the demographic characteristics of ecological contexts, particularly neighborhoods. Although adolescence and the transition to adulthood have been identified as critical developmental stages in the process of language shift, little work has focused on the role of schools in adolescents’ language maintenance or loss. This study uses data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health to investigate the impact of school and neighborhood composition on native language use among Latino and Asian young adults. Results show low rates of intergenerational language maintenance among Asian and Latino young adults and that school context, particularity the concentration of immigrants within the school, has a greater impact on language maintenance than does adolescent neighborhood context.

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Presented in Poster Session 3