Ethnic Identities In Adults of Mexican Descent: Spanish as Heritage Language




Salisbury, Marcela

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Immigrants who acclimate to society in the United States encounter the challenge of maintaining both cultures. The fluency of Spanish in individuals of Mexican descent may be an essential component of the culture, and ultimately their ethnic identity. In this study six young adult of Mexican descent were interviewed over their perspectives regarding their ethnic identity, heritage, and use of languages. Participants were also given a picture book and performed a narrative task in both English and Spanish. Responses from the questionnaire were compared to their results including, rate of speed and clausal complexity. Findings demonstrated a relation between the heritage language and family interaction, in participants whose native language is Spanish. Some bilinguals were also ambivalent towards their ethnic identity and level of fluency in the languages. Results indicate heritage language is an aspect of culture and identity that is fundamental to these individuals; therefore heritage language maintenance should be considered as an option to strengthen individual’s ethnic identity.



ethnic identity, heritage, Mexican, Spanish, heritage language, immigrants, Mexican-American, Honors College


Salisbury, M. (2015). Ethnic identities in adults of Mexican descent: Spanish as heritage language (Unpublished thesis). Texas State University, San Marcos, Texas.


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