Language Minority Students: Bilingual Identity Development in the College Years.

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Title: Language Minority Students: Bilingual Identity Development in the College Years.
Author: Orlov, Leonid Y.
Advisors: Thomas E. H. Conway, Ph.D., Committee Member
Siu-Man Raymond Ting, Ph.D., Committee Chair
Richard E. Tyler, Ph.D., Committee Member
Abstract: Following a preliminary screening, 7 undergraduate students participated in semi-structured interviews to aid in understanding of their experience as bilinguals at North Carolina State University. Only respondents indicating a language other than English (L2) as their first or "native" (L1) qualified for participation. The sample included persons of both sexes, from diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds, speaking 6 heritage languages with varying degrees of proficiency. Research question number 1 dealt with the latter aspect of bilingualism. There were 3 participants who reported higher proficiency in their first language (L1 Dominant), 2 ? in English (L2 Dominant), and 2 indicated an equal proficiency in both (Balanced). The second research question assessed the respondents' valorization of the 2 languages. All participants reported at least some valorization of both languages. Research question number 3 sought to obtain rich qualitative data on students' experiences as members of a language minority (LM). All of the Dominant participants (5 out 7) seemed to endorse the latter approach to bilingualism. Because no research on bilingualism to date involved identity development in college-aged individuals, this study attempts to explain the phenomenon via a conceptual fusion of theories that describe experiences of other minorities. Biracial identity development was used to explain the way bilinguals negotiate 2 disparate identities: 1 representing a minority group and 1 — a majority cohort. Gay identity development was used to approximate bilinguals' experience of "invisibility" — having to make the choice of either announcing their LM membership or concealing it, a.k.a. "passing" for the majority. The participants who were labeled as Balanced, seemed more likely to pass than to disclose. The Balanced student identifying as Caucasian, reported using his appearance and lack of an accent to pass for the monolingual majority on a regular basis as a stigma management strategy. The psychological impact of the latter on this Caucasian American language minority (CALM) student's delayed identity development has not been previously studied and warrants further inquiry. Of the L2 Dominant respondents, 1 came across as ambivalent, while the other appeared to favor disclosure slightly. The remainder of the sample (all L1 Dominant) seemed to overwhelmingly endorse disclosure and reject passing. In general (with 1 exception), L1 Dominant participants seemed to describe their LM experiences in emotional terms. On the contrary, the 4 participants who reported high proficiency in English came across somewhat more pragmatic in talking about their experiences. This was noted as a theme of insignificance, describing advantages of being a part of LM. Several other definitive patterns seemed to emerge from the data: communication (as being both impeded and enhanced by bilingualism), differentiation (as an advantage of bilingualism), conditional (describing the decision to pass or disclose) and skeptical (referring to passing ability). Research question number 4 endeavored to further synthesize all of the above data in a conceptual framework unique to bilingual development. Participants exposed to both languages from birth or from an early age, tended to have a more integrated bilingual identity than those who learned a second language as adults. Nevertheless, the former individuals seemed to have less of an insight into their relative minority status as bilinguals. The study concludes that the other minority development theories are a good starting point for describing language minority experiences of the 7 university students in the sample. Future research on this topic is encouraged in order to construct a comprehensive model of bilingual identity development for this cohort. Interventions, such as providing supportive counseling to help students cope with issues of proficiency (speaking with an accent, expressing thoughts and feelings) and development (achieving integrated bilingual identity) are suggested as part of the discussion.
Date: 2005-10-31
Degree: MS
Discipline: Counselor Education

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Intro.mp3 446.9Kb Unknown View/Open
L1=L2_College.mp3 523.8Kb Unknown View/Open
L2_Schooling-USA.mp3 567.7Kb Unknown View/Open
L1-L2_Grade12.mp3 343.1Kb Unknown View/Open
L1_Grades4-10.mp3 524.2Kb Unknown View/Open
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Dedication.mp3 170.0Kb Unknown View/Open
etd.pdf 8.140Mb PDF View/Open
L1-L2_Grade10.mp3 566.4Kb Unknown View/Open
L1+L2_Mixing.mp3 965.8Kb Unknown View/Open
L1_Age0-1.mp3 345.5Kb Unknown View/Open
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