E pluribus unum: Bilingualism and loss of language in the second generation

Alejandro Portes, Lingxin Hao

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This study examined patterns of language adaptation by over 5, 000 secondgeneration students in south Florida and southern California. It found that among most immigrant nationalities, knowledge of and preJerence Jar English is nearly universal, that only a minority remain fluent in their parents' languages, and there are wide variations among immigrant groups in the extent of their retention of these languages. The authors used multivariate and multilevel analyses to identify the principal Jactors accounting Jor variation in Joreign language maintenance and bilingualism. They Jound that a number of variables emerged as significant predictors, but these variables do not account Jor differences among immigrant nationalities, such as between children of Asian and Hispanic backgrounds, that become even more sharply delineated. The reasons Jor this divergence are explored and their policy implications are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationInterdisciplinary Perspectives on the New Immigration
Subtitle of host publicationVolume 6: The New Immigrant and Language
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages26
ISBN (Electronic)9781135709945
ISBN (Print)9780815337102
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)


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