Maintaining a minority language: a case study of Hispanic teenagers

John Gibbons, Elizabeth Ramirez

Research output: Book/ReportBookpeer-review


This book explores two main areas. First, what a high level of proficiency in two languages comprises, and second, the factors that can produce this high level of bilingual proficiency. The book develops a model of proficiency that includes the literate, formal and academic language usually acquired at school. However, many minority language students are educated in only one language, so the book goes on to examine other factors, such as home literacy practices and positive attitudes to the non-school language, that might contribute to the development of high bilingual proficiency, and tests these factors for the nature of their contribution. The interviewees are 106 Hispanic teenagers in Sydney, and they provide a rich source of information in the form of open comments in their own words and answers to closed questions, and, together with the completion of language assessment tasks, this constructs a clear picture of their language behaviour and beliefs, and how these affect their language proficiency.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationClevedon, England ; Buffalo ; Toronto
PublisherMultilingual Matters
ISBN (Print)1853597414
Publication statusPublished - 2004
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameMultilingual matters
PublisherMultilingual Matters


  • Language maintenance--Australia--Sydney
  • Bilingualism--Australia--Sydney
  • Literacy--Australia--Sydney
  • Spaniards--Australia--Sydney--Languages
  • Teenagers--Australia--Sydney--Language
  • Spanish language--Social aspects--Australia--Sydney

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