Date of Award
Major Research Paper
Master of Arts (MA)
Immigration and Settlement Studies
Agnes G. Meinhard
Mehrunnisa Ahmad Ali
This study examines the relationship between heritage language ability and ethnic identity in a sample of ethnically diverse second generation Canadians. Previous literature suggests that ethnic identity and heritage language ability are strongly related. The findings from this study, gleaned from 114 surveys and 2 focus group interviews, only partially support this hypothesis. Instead, this study reveals that identity is a complex and mutable concept that is more clearly related to oral language ability than to language literacy. The findings suggest a distinction between external/behavioral expressions of ethnic identity, such as participation in ethnic activities, and internal/attitudinal markers of identity, such as pride or belief in group values. The results from both the interviews and the surveys indicate that participation in ethnic practices is related to oral language ability but not literacy. No clear link between internal aspects of identity and language ability was found.
Mah, Bonnie, "Ethnic Identity and Heritage Language Ability in Second Generation Canadians in Toronto" (2005). Theses and dissertations. Paper 74.