Language and the second generation: bilingualism yesterday and today

A. Portes, R. Schauffler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

208 Scopus citations


The language adaptation of second generation children is explored in the context of the history of linguistic absorption and bilingualism in America. Strong nativist pressures toward monolingualism have commonly led to the extinction of immigrant languages in two or three generations. This article explores the extent of language transition and the resilience of immigrant languages on the basis of data from south Florida, one of the areas most heavily affected by contemporary immigration. Results indicate that: knowledge of English is near universal; preference for English is almost as high; preservation of parental languages varies inversely with length of US residence and residential locations away from areas of ethnic concentration. Hypotheses about other determinants of bilingualism are examined in a multivariate framework. The relationships of bilingualism to educational attainment and educational and occupational aspirations are also explored. -from Authors

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)640-661
Number of pages22
JournalInternational Migration Review
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1994
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Demography
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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