In time, use of Spanish dies in immigrant families,
Sept. 14, 2006
Tucson, Arizona | Published: http://www.azstarnet.com/allheadlines/146577
TRENTON, N.J.— A few generations after families move to the United States
from Latin American countries, fluency in Spanish dies out and English
becomes the dominant language, according to a new study.
paper counters arguments that Latino immigration to the United States could
create a bilingual society and a basic change in American culture.
sentiments have played a role in debates over U.S. immigration law.
study — by sociologists Douglas Massey at Princeton University and Ruben
Rumbaut and Frank Bean at the University of California-Irvine — found
Spanish giving way to English among Southern California's heavily Hispanic
study suggests that Mexican immigrants arriving in Southern California today
can expect only five out of every 100 of their great-grandchildren to speak
in the nation's largest Spanish-speaking enclave … Spanish appears to be
well on the way to a natural death by the third generation of U.S.
residence," the two said in the paper, published in the September issue of
the journal "Population and Development Review."
authors used survey data to show that Hispanics with each successive
generation are becoming English speakers, just like previous immigration
waves in U.S. history.
paper drew two studies, one conducted in 2004 and the other in 2001 to 2003,
to assemble a sample of 5,703 Southern California residents; 1,642 had
Mexican roots and a total of 2,262 had Latin American ancestry.
Survival of Spanish among the descendants of Mexican and Central American
immigrants was higher than among other groups, but English took over as the
Mexican-Americans with two U.S.-born parents but three or more foreign-born
grandparents, only 17 percent spoke fluent Spanish. Among those with only
one or two foreign-born grandparents, Spanish fluency dropped to 7 percent.
the third generation of Mexican-Americans, 96 percent prefer to speak
English in their homes