Note: This is a student project from a course affiliated with the Ethnography of the University Initiative. EUI supports faculty development of courses in which students conduct original research on their university, and encourages students to think about colleges and universities in relation to their communities and within larger national and global contexts.

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Title:That Weird language Mom and Grandma Speak: Heritage Language Maintenance and Loss in College Students
Author(s):Munch, Evan
Language Loss
College Students
Abstract:For bilingual students, attending a university away from home serves as a separation from one's native linguistic norms to an entirely new set of language practices. These U.S. institutions of higher learning almost always demand English in favor of other native or heritage languages. This study examines the ways a small group of second- and third- generation Lithuanian immigrants attempt to maintain their heritage language. It also looks at how language loss can manifest within a college environment. The research suggested the difficulties and challenges college life poses on the retention of a heritage language. Discussions for further research include: how University policy might implicitly prescribe English, use of heritage language among friend as a marker of kinship, the difficulty of resisting English monolingualism within the U.S. public school system, and the loss of ethnic customs and identity in sync with language loss.
Issue Date:2011-08
Course / Semester:ENGL401 Spring 2011: Introduction to the Story of the English Language
Professor Catherine Viera
Date Available in IDEALS:2011-08-18

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  • Student Communities and Culture
    The university offers an extraordinary opportunity to study and document student communities, life, and culture. This collection includes research on the activities, clubs, and durable social networks that comprise sometimes the greater portion of the university experience for students.

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