Latinos: Remaking America

By Marcelo M. Suárez-Orozco; Mariela M. Páez | Go to book overview

Chapter 15
Bilingual Infants
Mapping the Research Agenda
Barbara Zurer Pearson

The most important linguistic characteristic of Latino infants in the United States setting is their potential for becoming bilingual. With two languages as their “first language, ” Latino infants may participate as insiders in two language communities—and even perhaps in a third, the community of bilinguals. But babies don't decide to be or not to be bilingual: their parents (and educational institutions) make these decisions for them. If economic, cultural, and political circumstances warrant the coexistence of multiple languages, then children will learn them. Without compelling reasons to use two languages, children will not learn both. How does bilingual development unfold? When does it happen? And when does it not happen? There begins our research agenda.

The work I will describe was done collaboratively by the Bilingualism Study Group (BSG) at the University of Miami from 1988 to 1997 with coauthors D. K. Oller, V. Umbel, M. Fernández, V. Gathercole, and A. CoboLewis and a cadre of students. We explored a number of topics with bilingual subjects at several ages and in several domains, beginning with a longitudinal study of twenty-four Spanish- and English-learning babies from three months to three years of age, focusing on early vocalizations. Our last project was a large cross-sectional study involving a thousand school-age children. I cannot report on everything our small group covered, much less do justice to the dynamic and expanding field of early bilingual studies. Instead, this chapter focuses on three questions we investigated about bilingual babies—questions that I think are of interest to a more general audience and where we have something new to say. The first question is theoretical, the second normative, and the third practical.

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Latinos: Remaking America
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Contents vii
  • Acknowledgments xi
  • Introduction - The Research Agenda 1
  • Notes *
  • References *
  • Part One - Histories, Migrations, and Communities 39
  • Chapter 1 - Latino History in the New Millennium 45
  • Notes *
  • Chapter 2 - Caribbean Latinos in Historical Perspective 59
  • Notes *
  • Chapter 3 - Miami Cubans 75
  • Notes *
  • References *
  • Commentary 93
  • Notes *
  • Chapter 4 - Community Dynamics and the Rise of Street Gangs 97
  • References *
  • Chapter 5 - Gender, Ethnicity, and Race in School and Work Outcomes of Second-Generation Mexican Americans 110
  • Notes *
  • References *
  • Chapter 6 - Mutual Transformation 126
  • Notes *
  • Commentary 146
  • Chapter 7 - Latino Religious Life in the United States 150
  • Notes *
  • References *
  • Chapter 8 - Mass Public Responses to the “new” Latino Immigration to the United States 165
  • Notes *
  • References *
  • Chapter 9 - The Effects of 1996 U. S. Immigration Reform on Communities and Families in Texas, El Salvador, and Mexico 190
  • Notes *
  • References *
  • Commentary 202
  • References *
  • Part Two - Health, Families, Languages, Education, and Politics 207
  • Chapter 10 - The Latino Health Research Agenda for the Twenty-First Century 215
  • References *
  • Chapter 11 - Latinos' Access to Employment-Based Health Insurance 236
  • Notes *
  • References *
  • Commentary 254
  • Chapter 12 - From Braceros in the Fields to Braceras in the Home 259
  • References *
  • Chapter 13 - Risk and Resilience in Latino Immigrant Families 274
  • References *
  • Chapter 14 - The Plasticity of Culture and Psychodynamic and Psychosocial Processes in Latino Immigrant Families 289
  • References *
  • Commentary 302
  • References *
  • Chapter 15 - Mapping the Research Agenda 306
  • Note *
  • References *
  • Chapter 16 - Latin@ Languages and Identities 321
  • Notes *
  • References *
  • Chapter 17 - Guideposts for the Nation 339
  • Notes *
  • References *
  • Commentary 359
  • Chapter 18 - The Schooling of Latino Children 362
  • Notes *
  • References 372
  • Chapter 19 - Affirmative Action, X Percent Plans, and Latino Access to Higher Education in the Twenty-First Century 375
  • References *
  • Commentary 389
  • Notes *
  • Chapter 20 - Latino Participation in American Elections 398
  • Note *
  • References *
  • Chapter 21 - Gender and Citizenship in Latino Political Participation 410
  • Notes *
  • References *
  • Commentary 430
  • Note *
  • Epilogue - Racial Diversity and Corporate Identity in the Latino Community 435
  • Notes *
  • References *
  • Afterword - American Projections 457
  • Notes *
  • Notes on Contributors 463
  • Index 467
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