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Acculturation -- United States, Cultural pluralism -- United States, Bilingualism, Children of immigrants -- Language use -- Effect of school and neighborhood on


While opponents of immigration often claim that the new immigrants are failing to learn English and thus to assimilate, a growing body of research suggests otherwise. In fact, Anglicization, or loss of mother tongue, is occurring at a rapid rate across all groups of new immigrants (Alba et al. 2002; Lopez 1999; Portes and Hao 1998; Veltman 1983) and continues to follow the three generation pattern observed among earlier waves of European immigrants (Fishman 1965). However, there is evidence that this shift is occurring more rapidly for Asian immigrants than for Latinos (Alba et al. 2002; Lopez 1999), due in part to the greater size and concentration of Latinos in the U.S. and the different immigrant experiences of each group.

Research examining patterns of language shift among immigrants has long focused on the demographic characteristics of ecological contexts, particularly the size and concentration of linguistic minority groups within neighborhoods (Alba et al. 2002; Lieberson and Curry 1971; Lutz 2006; Stevens 1992) among adult immigrants. Yet while adolescence and the transition to adulthood have been identified as critical developmental stages in the process of language shift (Phinney 1990), little work has focused on the role that school composition plays in adolescents’ language use and maintenance. Acknowledging the parallel roles of neighborhood and school contexts in adolescents’ transition to young adulthood and the differences in immigrant experiences, this study investigates the impact of both neighborhood and school composition on Latino and Asian young adults’ native language use with family


Paper presented to the Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association, San Francisco CA, in 2009.

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