Heritage Language Maintenance and English Language Acquisition among Tenth-Grade Asian and Hispanic Students in the United States Sixth Heritage Language Research Institute UCLA, June 2012 Eunjeong Choi The University of Texas at Austin Literature Review Research on language use and the shift among the U.S. immigrant population has documented a rapidity of heritage language loss and concomitant English acquisition in a number of immigrant groups (Fishman, 1991; Lopez, 1996; Rumbaut, 2009). Among immigrants, Asian-Americans have the highest heritage language attrition rate such that only one in ten third-generation Asian-Americans is bilingual, whereas the number of bilingual third-generation Latinos is four times higher (Lopez, 1996). Literature Review (cont’d) At the core of heritage language maintenance are ecological patterns of heritage language learning and teaching. That is, the speaker simultaneously belongs to the home and community where the heritage language is actually used and to a mainstream society that exclusively uses English. Family and ethnic community members are the most immediate and critical community in which the use of the mother tongue occurs for the purpose of intergenerational intimacy and communication (Carreira & Kagan, 2011; Tse, 2001; Tseng & Fuligini, 2000). It has also been found that support from mainstream institutions is no less important for heritage language maintenance (Tse, 1998). However, it seems that immigrant children’s shift to becoming completely monolingual English speakers does not reside solely within the individual, but it is shaped by the society where English ability is a prerequisite to academic and social success (J. Lee and Oxelson, 2006; Rhodes & Pufahl, 2010). Focus of this study Within this context, this research aims to investigate the patterns of heritage language use with ethnic community members speaking the language and the acquisition of the English language among tenth-grade students in the United States As the two immigrant groups show relatively low and high rates of heritage language maintenance respectively (Lopez, 1996; Rumbaut, 2009). Dataset Data from the Educational Longitudinal Study of 2002 (ELS: 2002) that was conducted by the Research Triangle Institute on behalf of the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). This secondary school study aimed to track developmental and educational experiences of a nationally representative sample of tenth grade students in the United States. Using a sub-dataset pertaining to “Part IV: Language” in the student questionnaire surveyed in the base-year of 2002. Out of the nationally representative study, this current research particularly focuses on Asian and Hispanic students whose native languages are not English (N=1069). Research Questions 1. How often do the Asian and Hispanic students speak their heritage languages with family members and friends, and are there any differences of language use frequency between the two groups? 2. How is their English ability manifested in their reading test scores depending on their generational status and the developmental stage of English acquisition? Methods RQ1: chi-square testing RQ2: two Two-Way ANOVA analyses Research Question 1 Figure 1. The distributions of native language use frequency with family members and friends Asian, with mother Hispanic, with mother Asian, with father Hispanic, with father Asian, with siblings Hispanic, with siblings Hispanic, with friends Asian, with friends 0% 10% 20% Never 30% Sometimes 40% 50% About half of the time 60% 70% Always or most of time 80% 90% 100% Research Question 1 Interpretation There was a strong association between ethnic group and how much the students use their native languages with their mother, father, and siblings, but no significance was found in their native language use with friends between the two groups. The students generally follow the typical profile of heritage language speaking children. Namely, they spoke their native languages relatively more with their mother and father, less with their siblings, and much less with friends, which was consistent with the previous research findings. Research Question 2 2. How is their English ability manifested in their reading test scores depending on their generational status and the developmental stage of English acquisition? Two-Way ANOVA 1: Generational Status and Reading Test Figure 2. Reading test scores of the two racial groups depending on generational status. Research Question 2.1 Interpretation There was a significant effect of race on the reading test scores, such that the Asian students had a significantly higher reading score mean than the Hispanic students. However, there was neither the significant main effect of generational status nor the significant interaction effect on the reading test. Two-Way ANOVA 2: ESL Experience and Reading Test Figure 3. Reading test scores of the two racial groups depending on previous ESL program experience Research Question 2.2 Interpretation The mean difference of the reading scores between the two racial groups was not significant among those who had ever been in an ESL program before, but it became significant among those who had never been in an ESL program before. In other words, the gap between students with relatively incomplete English fluency and students with relatively high English fluency was greater for the Asian-student group. Conclusion Both Asian and Hispanic students used their heritage languages more frequently with their mother and father than with their siblings and friends. The Asian students generally showed less frequent use of a heritage language with community members and higher English acquisition than their Hispanic peers. It seems that Asian students, who had acquired English ability and had no need to be placed into an ESL program, had a faster assimilation to the English language than the Hispanic students. Limitations and Further Investigation Difficulty in extrapolating data specific to a minority subset from the available ELS dataset. The English reading test scores as English acquisition? What is the relationship of heritage language maintenance and English acquisition? What influences the differences between the two groups? References Carreira, M., & Kagan, O. (2011).The results of the national heritage language survey: Implications for teaching, curriculum design, and professional development. Foreign Language Annals, 44(1), 40–64. Fishman, J. A. (1991). Reversing language shift:Theoretical and empirical foundations of assistance to threatened languages. Bristol, PA: Multilingual Matters. Lee, J., & Oxelson, E. (2006). “It’s not my job”: K–12 teacher attitudes toward students’ heritage language maintenance. Bilingual Research Journal, 30(2), 453–477. Lopez, D. (1996). Language: Diversity and assimilation. In R. Waldinger & M. Bozorgmehr (Eds.), Ethnic Los Angeles (pp. 139–163). New York: Russell Sage Foundation. National Center for Education Statistics. (n.d.). Education Longitudinal Study of 2002 (ELS: 2002). Retrieved from http://nces.ed.gov/surveys/els2002/index.asp. Rhodes, N. C., & Pufahl, I. (2010). Foreign language teaching in U.S. schools: Results of a national survey. Washington, DC: CAL. Rumbaut, R. G. (2009). A language graveyard? The evolution of language competencies, preferences and use among young adult children of immigrants. In T. G. Wiley, J. Lee & R. Rumberger (Eds.), The education of language minority immigrants in the United States (pp. 35–71). Clevedon, UK: Multilingual Matters. Tse, L. (1998a). Affecting affect: The impact of heritage language programs on student attitudes. In S. Krashen, L. Tse & J. McQuillan (Eds.), Heritage language development (pp. 51–72). Culver City, CA: Language Education Associates. Tse, L. (2001). Resisting and reversing language shift: Heritage-language resilience among U.S. native biliterates. Harvard Educational Review, 71(4), 676–709. Tseng,V., & Fuligni, A. J. (2000). Parent-adolescent language use and relationships among immigrant families with East Asian, Filipino, and Latin American backgrounds. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 62(2), 465–476.