Women and Ethnic Language Maintenance: A Study of Italian Immigrant Family Triads in Saint-Leonard, Montreal (Quebec)

Women and Ethnic Language Maintenance: A Study of Italian Immigrant Family Triads in Saint-Leonard, Montreal (Quebec)

Women and Ethnic Language Maintenance: A Study of Italian Immigrant Family Triads in Saint-Leonard, Montreal (Quebec)

Women and Ethnic Language Maintenance: A Study of Italian Immigrant Family Triads in Saint-Leonard, Montreal (Quebec)s

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Référence bibliographique [4477]

Venditti, Rosa L. 2003. «Women and Ethnic Language Maintenance: A Study of Italian Immigrant Family Triads in Saint-Leonard, Montreal (Quebec)». Mémoire de maîtrise, Montréal, Université Concordia, Département de géographie.

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1. Objectifs


Intentions :
«The purpose of this thesis is to examine women’s role in the process of intergenerational ethnic language continuity. It focuses on language use and maintenance among three generations of women from within the same families, in other words, from immigrant women to their daughters and granddaughters. The first generation must have migrated to Canada in the post-war period, must have a spouse of the same ethnic origin and must be a resident of Saint-Léonard. These criterias are necessary in order to control some of the factors cited in the literature as influencing language maintenance, such as marriage in or out of the ethnic group, residential location and time since migration.
The first objective of this research is to measure the degree of linguistic acculturation of first-generation Italian immigrant women by recording their linguistic behaviour in a variety of contexts. [...] The second objective is to assess the degree of knowledge of the ethnic language of the second and third generations and, as with the first generation, their linguistic behaviour in various contexts. These generations may reside outside St-Leonard. The third objective is to examine if and how different degrees of linguistic acculturation achieved by first-generation immigrant women influences intergenerational ethnic language maintenance.» (p. 4)

2. Méthode


Échantillon/Matériau :
«Fifty-four first-generation Italian immigrant women answered the preliminary questionnaire. [...]
From these fifty-four women, twelve first-generation Italian immigrant women participated in the semi-structured interviews. Of these, two women preferred not to have their daughters (and consequently granddaughters) contacted. Of the remaining ten, six daughter-granddaughter dyads agreed to an interview.» (p. 101)

Instruments :
«Six questionnaires were prepared; one for the sampling survey and five for the semi-structured interviews of which three were for the third generation since the age of this cohort can range from pre-schoolers to adults - married or single.» (p. 94)
Type de traitement des données :
Analyse de contenu

3. Résumé


«During post WW II migration wave, Italians accounted for a large portion of immigrants and they settled extensively in Ontario and Quebec. Within Quebec, over 90 percent live on the Island of Montreal, and the Francophone municipality of Saint-Leonard has the highest concentration of Italians since 1971. Initially, assimilation was the expected outcome of immigrants’ adaptation; however, since 1971, multiculturalism encourages the maintenance of ethnic culture and language, but loss of ethnic languages still occurs. The three-generation language shift model suggests that by the third generation, the dominant language will be this generation’s mother tongue. However, the literature cites several factors as countering linguistic assimilation, such as residential concentration and intramarriage. Women have consistently shown higher retention rates than men, yet they have received little attention in the intergenerational process. In addition, research on the third generation is still recent and focuses at macro levels. The objective of this thesis is to investigate the role of women in the inter-generational process of ethnic language maintenance and to identify the forces at work, specifically within the home domain, that encourage the retention of the ethnic language. This study is based on data collected from a pilot survey that served to identify potential family triads and from semi-structured interviews of the family triads of which the grandmother resides in Saint-Leonard. The results show that intergenerational linguistic change varies by family as a result of the many domains in an individual’s life and the particular characteristics of each family history since migration.» (p. iii)