Interpreting Differences in Parental Encouragement to learn the host language: California and Catalonia Compared


  • Ann Elizabeth Wilson Departament de Didàctica de les Ciències Socials, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona


This article is based on a subset of data gathered in a bi-national PhD study regarding measures of parental encouragement when comparing immigrant background and native students (n=233) in Catalonia (Spain) and California. The ANOVA means comparisons of parental encouragement based on groupings of first generation, second generation, and native students show a decrease in parental encouragement (over immigrant generations) among the Californian respondents but an increase among the Catalan respondents. It is hypothesized that in Catalonia, newcomer parents realize over a period of years importance of the Catalan language in Catalonia, in contrast, in the US, parents of newcomer students arrive aware of the importance of learning English. Nevertheless, more data is needed to confirm this hypothesis. Results are combined with a review of recent literature in order to argue the need for more studies on immigrant parent attitudes as perceived by their children toward L2 learning, especially in Catalonia.



Parental attitudes, parental encouragement, immigrant students, language learning motivation, L2


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Author Biography

Ann Elizabeth Wilson, Departament de Didàctica de les Ciències Socials, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona

Ann Elizabeth Wilson is currently a research fellow at the department of Social Science Teaching Methodology, Universitat de Barcelona.




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