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The Effects of Family Structure on the Development of Bilinguality

Author(s): Lily Halsted

Journal: Psychology
ISSN 2152-7180

Volume: 04;
Issue: 09;
Start page: 688;
Date: 2013;
Original page

Keywords: Bilingualism | Heritage Languages | Monolinguals | Language Use Surveys

This study examines the role of family structure in the development of different levels of bilinguality. Students from five different public and private universities responded to an extensive survey on various aspects of bilinguality. Participants were divided into three groups: monolinguals, non-fluent bilinguals and fluent bilinguals. In line with the initial hypothesis, higher levels of bilinguality correlated with having more bilingual family members. Also further evidence was found for the importance of the mother, father and sisters in becoming bilingual. Additionally, the presence of bilingual step-parents and grandparents on acquisition and maintenance of a second language was examined and fund to be much less influential than the role of the parents. Finally, the influence of socio-economic status (SES) on development of bilinguality was measured with no clear effect being found. The unique contribution of this study is that it attempts to connect the influence of specific family members to different levels of bilinguality.

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