Socio-demographic effects on native language retention for groups speaking Spanish and groups speaking Asian languages in South Florida

Document Type



Master of Arts (MA)


Global and Sociocultural Studies

First Advisor's Name

Chris Girard

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Walter Gillis Peacock

Third Advisor's Name

Hugh Gladwin

Date of Defense



This thesis examined the contribution of socio-demographic characteristics to native language retention among Hispanics and Asians in Miami-Dade County (MDC). Data from the 1990 Public Use Microdata Samples (US Census) for MDC were used. Because the dependent variable, native language use in the home, was dichotomous, logistic regression was employed. Consistent with the ecological perspective and the hypothesized effects of a Spanish-speaking enclave in MDC, the results confirmed linguistic household isolation, residential segregation, household size, and employment were statistically significant predictors of parental language retention for Hispanics. However, for Asians, only linguistic household isolation and household size were found to be statistically significant predictors of native language retention with no effects for residential or work environments. The findings also indicated the processes of parental language maintenance differed between Hispanic and Asian groups in which native language retention was greater among Spanish-speaking groups when compared to groups speaking Asian languages in Miami-Dade County.



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