Mother tongue maintenance among North American ethnic groups

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27 Scopus citations


Research among groups of immigrants to the United States and Canada has isolated a number of possible factors for both loss and persistence of the mother tongue in subsequent generations. These include practice of the religion of the homeland, residential concentration, within-group marriage, occupational specialization, visits to the homeland, and others. The research reported in this article is based on data in the Human Relations Area Files from 11 immigrant groups to North America. The research suggests that residential pattern and religious practice are the principal factors accounting for mother tongue maintenance into the third generation. Appeal is made to the childhood language socialization paradigm in explaining this finding.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)175-192
Number of pages18
JournalCross-Cultural Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 1999

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Anthropology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Psychology (miscellaneous)


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