Mother Tongue Maintenance Among North American Ethnic Groups

Cross-Cultural Research Vol/Iss. 33(2) SAGE Publications Inc Published In Pages: 175–192
By Schrauf, Robert W.


Using HRAF's ethnographic reports from 11 immigrant groups to North America (1959-1989), the author asks: what social structural factors account for these patterns of language loss and retention? While focusing on the second and third generations, this study assesses the impact of residence, religion, school, festivals, homeland, marriage, and labor on language retention. The author suggests that residential closeness and the continued practice of religious rituals from the country of origin are the main factors influencing mother tongue maintenance into the third generation, while participation in community festivals is a marginal predictor.


Since there was no data on language proficiency levels, the study relied on the ethnographers' assessments and reports based on the community members' judgments.


Sample Used Coded Data Comment
HRAFResearcher's ownEthnographic reports on 11 immigrant groups to North America from 1960 to the present (four decades).

Documents and Hypotheses Filed By:stefania.becerralavado