|About the Book|
Research on language maintenance and language shift among US Latinos generally has focused on the Mexican American and Puerto Rican populations, and there is limited research on this issue in relation to the Cuban American community. Further, theMoreResearch on language maintenance and language shift among US Latinos generally has focused on the Mexican American and Puerto Rican populations, and there is limited research on this issue in relation to the Cuban American community. Further, the research on this community focuses on maintenance or loss of a language at a societal level, rather than at a familial one. This cross generational study examines the role of language ideology and life choices in the maintenance or language shift across three generations of a single Cuban American family in the US. This study follows the methods of applied linguistics and falls within the framework of language maintenance and language shift. Using in-depth interviews and participant observations, the research examines how immigration and the process of establishing a new life in the US affects multiple generations of a family. In particular, the study focuses on the social, economic, and political factors that effect cultural change within this Cuban American family. By emphasizing life choices and their impact on language maintenance or language shift, the research demonstrates that language ideology and everyday language decisions, which at first glance might seem trivial, are the major forces affecting whether a language is maintained or lost. The study traces the political circumstances that brought this particular Cuban family to the US and the importance of their classification as refugees and not as traditional immigrants, highlighting the relationship between Cuba and the US, the special refugee status given to Cubans by the US since 1960, and the political presence that Cuban Americans have developed in local and national politics, all of which distinguish them from other US Latino communities. The results provide evidence for the view that the unique circumstances of Cuban Americans help to inform their decisions on language maintenance across generations and that language ideology and other life choices play a pivotal role in the maintenance of the Spanish language or the language shift to English with this family.