The Experience of Language Use for Second Generation, Bilingual, Mexican American, 5th Grade Students
Description: There is a paucity of research regarding language use among bilingual clients, particularly with Latino children. In order to provide culturally sensitive counseling for bilingual, Spanish-speaking, Latino children it is important to understand their experience of language use. The purpose of this study was to investigate how second generation, bilingual, Mexican American, 5th grade students experience language use in the two languages with which they communicate. I employed a phenomenological method to data collection and analysis and conducted semi-structured individual and group interviews with three boys and five girls (N = 8). Analysis of the individual and group interviews yielded four main structures: (a) dominant language determined perception of developing dual selves, (b) speaking two languages useful in language brokering and upward mobility, (c) dominant language determined experience of language use, and (d) language use and aspects of the complementarity principle. Findings from this study suggest that bilingual Latino children experience language brokering for their parents as difficult, speaking two languages as useful regarding upward mobility, and that their dominant language influences various aspects of their daily experiences such as with whom and where they use each language. Limitations to this research include insufficient time building rapport with participants and challenges related to unexplored dimensions of bilingualism in the counseling research literature. An overarching implication for future research, clinical practice, and counselor education is that bilingualism, language use, and the depth of experience of Latino children are largely understudied topics.
Date: December 2017
Creator: Paz, Michael