Language-Use of Western and Non-Western Migrant Families in Flanders: How Does Family Language Reflect Family Acculturation?

Graziela Dekeyser, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven
Paul Puschmann, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven
Gray Swicegood, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven
Koen Matthijs, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven

We investigate the determinants of language-use between migrant parents and their children in Flanders. Coleman’s family capital theory serves as the theoretical orientation of the study. Differences in physical, human and social capital are believed to account for differences found between migrant families’ use of the heritage and/or destination language (Dutch) at home. Data from 900 migrant adolescents from the Leuvens Adolescents’ and Families Study is analyzed by means of Multinomial Logistic Regression (dependent variable is ‘language-use at home’: 1) only Dutch, 2) only heritage language & 3) Dutch & heritage language). Preliminary correlation analyses indicate that language-use is related to background variables such as ethnicity and migration generation. Some family capital variables appear to be significant (parental conflict, parental dissolution, human & physical capital of mother) while others are not (relationship quality with parents & physical capital of father). More data will be collected during the fall of 2012.

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Presented in Session 182: Immigrant Assimilation in the United States and Europe