English Language Acquisition Among Latino Immigrants Literature Review

Pages: 12 (4201 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 35  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: Doctorate  ·  Topic: Communication - Language

¶ … Connected Immigrant Communities

Chaney (2010) reports that there has been a large influx of Hispanic immigrants to Nashville, Tennessee over the last two decades. This large number of immigrants to the area has led to the establishment of an ethnic enclave in the community. The proliferation of Hispanic organizations, churches, and other community elements is the evidence for enclave development. This development of the enclave has enabled Hispanic immigrants to operate and live entirely within the Hispanic dominated environment, which include the primary use of Spanish as the main language of communication. Chaney notes that the enclave environment reduces the involvement of Hispanics into the larger English-speaking American culture environment, which in turn slows down the acquisition of the English language among Hispanic immigrants (Chaney).

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Bleakley and Chin (2010) examined the effects of age of arrival of Hispanic immigrants to the United States on the person's social assimilation and English language acquisition. They note that for the Hispanic population in Chicago, the tendency is for the immigrants to move into the Hispanic enclave of the Chicago area, thereby immersing themselves not in the general English speaking population, rather they are living in an enclave in which the Spanish language is the dominant language. For those under the age of 15 at age of arrival into the U.S., the trend was higher for acquiring English language skills. However, for that subgroup, associations between English language acquisition, higher divorce rates, change of residency, and decreased fertility were noted. Overall, living in the Hispanic enclave tended to lower trends of English language acquisition among all immigrants, with focus on the 15 and above age group showing the least English language acquisition (Bleakley and Chin, Age at Arrival, English Proficiency, and Social Assimilation Among U.S. Immigrants).

Literature Review on English Language Acquisition Among Latino Immigrants Assignment

Schrauf (2009) examined English language use by bilingual immigrants in who lived in ethnic neighbourhoods using the Spanish language. The study sample included 60 older Puerto Rican immigrants, dividing the sample among three language proficiency groups (fluent, low intermediate, and high intermediate). Participants were asked to assess their own English language proficiency and the use of English in their social milieu. The results indicated that the ethnic neighbourhood protected the native language use among older immigrants, though English language use was increasingly being used in their lives. Children were noted as significant forces of social change in bringing English language use into the ethnic language household. People identified in lower economic and social strata were associated with lower rates of English proficiency. Schrauf notes that the level of fluency of English language speaking is connected to intracultural variation factors (Schrauf).

Burr and Mutchler (2003) studied the effects of English language acquisition and use by older Mexican immigrants on household dynamics. The investigators wanted to find out if English language use had any effect upon the ability of the older Mexican immigrant to live independently. The sample data was drawn from the 1990 U.S. Census data, including residence statistics, ethnic identification, and language use. The results demonstrate that ethnic enclaves (those areas with high proportions of Hispanic immigrants) supported the ability of the older Mexican immigrant to live independently, likely due to ability to immerse within the native language culture. Additionally, the association between English language use and living arrangements was less significant for the older Mexican immigrant when living within an ethnic enclave (Burr and Mutchler).

Shihadeh and Barranco (2010) report on the association between violent crimes against Latino's and the factors of ethnic isolation. Lack of English language acquisition among Latino immigrants in traditional communities generally was not associated with any notable increases in violent crimes against Latino's, as these ethnic neighbourhoods are considered safe and culturally homogenous. However, there was a significant increase in violent crimes against Latino's once they moved out of their traditional ethnic neighbourhood enclaves, particularly among those who did not have English Language proficiency (Shehadeh and Barranco). Ethnic neighbourhoods protect the non-English speaking Hispanic immigrant, but the lack of English language acquisition results in poor and oftentimes disastrous consequences when the immigrant moves out of the ethnic enclave. In this respect, the characteristic of the enclave to protect the Hispanic immigrant may ultimately be to their detriment in the larger population.

Haurin and Rosenthal (2009) examined the relationship between ethnic enclaves, language, and Hispanic home ownership. They found that there a decreased rate of homeownership among Hispanics living in ethnic communities in the United States. The investigators note that homeownership among Hispanics tended to increase when there was proximity to a family social network of other homeowners. Additionally, the effect of lack of language acquisition tended to be associated with low rates of home ownership. However, even among non-English proficient Hispanics, the proximity issue tended to even out the results. The implication is that lack of English language acquisition among Hispanic immigrants is associated with low rates of home ownership, yet proximity to other Hispanic homeowners can mitigate that effect, with local programs aimed at home ownership being recommended (Haurin and Rosenthal).

Hwang, Xi, and Cao (2010) studied the relationship between income earnings of Hispanic immigrants to English language use. They hypothesized that earnings would be related to variations in English language use, depending upon the type of language environment. The results of the study demonstrated that there were a correlation between earnings and language use; earnings decreased in communities where there were ethnic enclaves. Ethnic enclaves tended to protect the native cultural characteristics including language, yet did not increase income earnings (Hwang, Xi and Cao).

Factors in English Language Acquisition (I just used this as a general heading to capture any other "tie" elements along with anything else)

Bleakely and Chin (2008) studied the outcomes for second-generation Hispanic immigrants relative to the age of their parents' arrival in the United States. English language proficiency by parents was associated with positive outcomes for preschool attendance and children's learning of the English language, and low English proficiency was associated with negative outcomes, including increased school dropout rates and scoring below grade level (Bleakley and Chin, What Holds Back the Second Generation? The Intergenerational Transmission of Language Human Capital Among Immigrants). The effect of English language acquisition among Hispanic children shows that overall low academic scores are noted for those struggling to learn English, and can inappropriately identify some ELL children as learning disabled due to native language use as the primary mode of communication at home (Blatchley and Lau).

Hakimzadeh and Cohn (2007) show that second generation Hispanic immigrants (those born in the United States) report English language proficiency; though parents of the second generation group report limited English proficiency. As English fluency increases across generations, the trend to use English as the primary language also increases. Puerto Rican and South American Hispanic groups report the highest rates of English proficiency, and Mexican immigrants report the lowest rates of English language acquisition. English language use in the home happens more slowly than it does in social settings. In the study, only 7% of foreign born Hispanics report using English at home (Hakimzadeh and Cohn).

English language learning by immigrant children in the U.S. education system may contribute to increased usage of English at home. Proctor et al. (2010) report that English language instruction for Latino's in the school setting tends to be associated the usage of English in the home setting. English language use in the school setting is necessary for academic success, and so of greater importance for the native Spanish-speaking child than for an older immigrant who is not in school. The study indicated that while English language acquisition among immigrant children increased with English language instruction in school, there was a loss of cultural heritage that the investigators found to be paradoxical to the desirability of people in America to be bilingual, especially in the employment field where knowing two or more languages can mean increased earnings (Proctor, August and Carlo). This may be due to a desire among immigrant children to immerse in the culture, and be related to increased use of the English language at home.

Akresh (2007) reports that the longer a person has been in the United States, the more likely they are to use the English language in all settings. English use at home tends to rise less dramatically among first generation immigrants than it does in the social setting (Akresh). Livert and Otheguy (2010) report that there is an increase in English language use by second generation immigrants as reflected in their use of personal pronoun transference into their native Spanish language, which is normally neutral. Age of arrival and duration of time in the United States were factors associated with development of English language use, though country of origin was the strongest predictor of pronoun use and eventual development of English language use at home (Livert and Otheguy).

Learning another language is difficult. Having to learn the language depends on the need to do so, which relates to whether it is a social or economic imperative. Also, one will tend to… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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