Since colonial times, the U.S. has been a nation both divided and united by its ethnic and linguistic diversity. Benjamin Franklin himself regarded the German minority of Pennsylvania as linguistically and racially inferior, yet also printed the first German newspaper in Philadelphia (Baron, 1990). Today, our country prides itself in being a so-called "melting pot" of world cultures, and in fact has no official language (Adams, 1990). Yet, somehow the broad, unwritten consensus has always been that English is the language necessary to succeed, and indeed, immigrants from all over the globe have often been motivated to quickly learn English for their own survival here. Social scientists and policymakers are more attuned to needs of linguistic minorities than ever before, and have implemented various strategies to encourage a shift towards the English language for the sake of economic incorporation. The relatively recent rise in bilingual education programs is just one example that reflects the new trend towards pluralism, a model for ethnic relations in which different groups maintain separate cultures and identities, but share equally in rights, liberties, and economic opportunities. Today's Hispanic immigrant youth are the largest test subjects of such pluralist experimentation, and are widely enrolled in bilingual education programs that have been hotly debated. Before explaining why and how Hispanic immigrant youth learn English though, this essay will discuss precisely who Hispanics are, what unique conditions they face today, how language fits into a pertinent model of assimilation, and the salience of language in ethnic identity. With this framework in place, I will argue that today's pluralist, or "additive bilingualism," approaches to encouraging English comprehension among Hispanic immigrant youth are far better than monolinguistic, "subtractive bilingualism," or English "immersion" programs that aim to promote English use at the expense of the Hispanic mother-tongue.
[...] Introduction to Sociology, Edition Four. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, Inc. Glazer, N. (1977). Public Education and American Pluralism. In J. Coleman (ed.) Parents, Teachers, and Children: Prospects for Choice in American Education (pp. 85-109). San Fransisco: University of South California Press. Greene, J. (1998) A Meta-Analysis of the Effectiveness of Bilingual Education. Austin, TX: The Tomas Rivera Policy Institute. Retrieved April from compuserve.com/homepages/jwcrawford/greene.htm. Massey, D. S. (1995). The New Immigration and Ethnicity in the United States. Population and Development Review 21, 631-649. [...]
[...] For instance, in percent of all Latinos were foreign born, and 25.6 of all Latino households contained 5 or more people (versus only 10.8 percent among non-Hispanic Whites) (US Bureau of the Census, 2002a). Hispanics also take up an unprecedented portion of immigration. In total, they make up 52.2 percent of the immigrant population (U.S. Bureau of the Census, 2002b). Also noteworthy is the fact that today's immigrants are the most linguistically monolithic of all time, as 40 percent of today's immigrants speak Spanish, in contrast to the diverse distribution of European languages used by immigrants of the classic era (Massey 646). [...]
[...] The New Second Generation: Segmented Assimilation and Its Variants. In Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 530. (pp. 74-96). Stanford Working Group, Federal Education Programs for Limited- English- Proficient Students: A Blueprint for the Second Generation, June Taylor, D (1977). Bilingualism and Intergroup Relations. In P. Hornby (ed.) Bilingualism: Psychological, Social, and Educational Implications. New York: Academic Presses, Inc. US Bureau of the Census (2000). Report on Language Use and English-Speaking Ability. Washington DC: US Census Bureau, Population Division, Education & Social Stratification Branch. [...]
[...] Thus, even though linguistic isolation may have risen significantly between 1990 and 2000, English is not dying out in the US, as many proponents of English-only education programs insist (US Census, 2000). Overall, the great majority - 215.4 million out of 281.4 million of US residents speak English fluently (US Census, 2000). Data on today's immigrants and Hispanics indicates that second-generation immigrant youth of Hispanic origins are indeed learning English, not unlike their European counterparts did percent of second-generation Latino children become English dominant or monolingual, which indicates that language shift not only continues, but also increases over generations (Stanford Working Group, 1993). [...]
[...] Code switching and code mixing in the ESL classroom: A study of pragmatic and syntactic features. Advances in Speech Language Pathology. Journal of the Speech Pathology Association of Australia, 19-28.) Brice, A. (2002). The Hispanic Child: Speech, Language, Culture, and Education. Boston: Allyn and Bacon (pp. 3-49). Carasquillo, A. and V. Rodriguez (2002). Language Minority Students in the Mainstream Classroom. Philadelphia: Multilingual Matters Ltd (pp. 39-76). Carter, P. and M. Chatfield. (1986, November). Effective Bilingual Schools: implications for Policy and Practice. [...]
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