HISPANIC FAMILIES’ ATTITUDES TOWARDS THEIR HERITAGE LANGUAGE IN HOUSTON AND ITS SUBURBS
Vargas Blanco, Edgar Mauricio
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The following study explores the attitudes of 40 Hispanic families towards Spanish and their ethnic community in Houston and its suburbs. The research participants included 20 Colombian families and 20 Mexican families. A mixed methodology using quantitative and qualitative methods was used. Through family’s observation, surveys and interviews to the members of the family, the researcher examines from different angles how these attitudes towards the heritage language help to the maintenance of shift from the minority language to English. The data collected showed that the majority of the families decided to transmit the heritage language at home using several strategies. Although the parents expressed various types of motivation to maintain Spanish, the majority of them believe that is was needed for professional purposes. When comparing and contrasting the parents’ attitudes, in most of the cases, mothers’ positive attitudes towards the transmission of the language were more noticeable than the fathers because they have a more instructional and stricter role at home. In addition, the Mexican families have more relatives than the Colombian families to support and motivate the maintenance of Spanish. The participants who do not have any extended family tended to find other ways to mitigate the lack of connection to their relatives by using internet communication technology or relating with other Hispanic people in the area.