Estimates of Intergenerational Language Shift: Surveys, Measures and Domains

Jennifer M. Ortman, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Studies of intergenerational language shift present different rates of language shift across immigrant generations, leading to discrepant conclusions regarding the pace and magnitude of language shift between immigrant generations in the United States. Using data from Pew Hispanic Center surveys, the Children of Immigrants Longitudinal Study, and the Immigrant and Intergenerational Mobility in Metropolitan Los Angeles study, I analyze language shift between generations using different measures of language use, preference, and knowledge across immigrant generations and national origin groups. The analyses show that results based on a measure of language preference show a faster pace of intergenerational language shift than measures of knowledge or use and that the pace of language shift varies across domains of use and by national origin. The findings suggest that discrepancies across samples, measures, and domains may reflect different stages in the language shift process, rather than conflicting evidence regarding the pace of language shift.

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Presented in Poster Session 1