• Perspectives on heritage language and the U.S. and student language choices

      Papadimatos, Alexa (State University of New York College at Fredonia, 2018-05)
      The purpose of this study was to examine what specific factors influence student linguistic choices and how those choices affect the rate of heritage/home language attrition and its subsequent maintenance. A qualitative research design consisting of interviews was used to examine how heritage language speaking college students felt about their heritage language proficiency, family connections and experiences in American public schools. The languages reflected in this research include Spanish, Haitian Creole, Romanian and Italian. The participants in this study are all students of a four-year comprehensive public university, but have grown up in areas all across New York state. The key objective for this research was to explore how the perceived attitudes of teachers, parents and members from the same minority language groups as the participants, affected the participants' own view of their home language and if the participants felt that maintaining their home languages was important. All of the participants noted that maintaining their heritage/ home language was an integral part in their success in social, economic and political contexts. This research concludes with recommendations on how school administrations and individual school teachers can come to better serve their heritage language speaking students, by checking their own assumptions about minority language communities. [from author's abstract]