Social and other nonlinguistic dimensions of grassroots heritage language community groups
The case of La Casa Amistad
Keywords:Heritage language development, language socialization, diasporic familism, grassroots community groups, sense of community, Black churches, Spanish, Hispanics
In this article, I focus on the different roles that self-formed ethnic community groups play in the heritage language socialisation of Hispanic families. The article is based on an ethnographic study conducted in La Casa Amistad, a small group of middle-class Hispanic families living in Vancouver, Canada. The analysis focuses on the different ways in which membership in the group supported the families in their goals to raise multilingual children, and on how the group became a bridge that connected likeminded parents who shared a similar culture as well as language beliefs, values and practices. Group participation also provided a safe environment where members reported feeling a sense of belonging. In this manner, such supportive and non-threatening environment functioned like a surrogate extended family
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