Qualitative Study on Language Assimilation in Latino Families

The purpose of this study is to explore language assimilation among Latino populations. This study aims to explore the decision making process of second and third generation Latino parents when deciding whether or not to teach their children Spanish, and explore how language patterns influence intergenerational relationships. This is a qualitative study using semi-structured interviews with six participants acquired through convenient sampling. The participants are Latino parents of adult children. An inductive approach was used to produced three major themes: Family and Community Influences, Intentionality and Regret, which together offer an understanding of the factors considered by Latino parents when making this decision, and offers insight into their residual feelings about their decision. This study’s results indicate that social work practice should be better informed about the language assimilation process among Latino populations. It is important for social workers to understand that every Latino family has their own language assimilation process and language patterns. If social workers are unaware, it is possible to offend Latino families, and to unconsciously ascribe values surrounding language to Latino clients. Being aware and understanding this process can help social workers practice cultural humility, be more inclusive and less biased.