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The Learning Conference 2003

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Presentation Details


Exploring L1 Loss and Maintenance in Canada: Future Research Directions Focusing on Spanish-Speaking Immigrants

Martin Guardado.

This paper focuses on the loss of first language skills or the lack of their development in a contact situation with a dominant language (i.e. English), and more specifically on Spanish as a minority language in English-speaking contexts. A new generation of researchers working in a variety of interconnected fields has recently completed insightful research projects in this area utilizing varied research methods, but mostly relying on qualitative approaches. Some of those fields include linguistics (Thomas & Cao, 1999; Wong Fillmore, 1991) applied linguistics (Kouritzin, 1999; Sakamoto, 2000), ethnoliguistics and sociolinguistics (Schecter & Bayley, 2002), anthro-political linguistics (Zentella, 1997); speech-language pathology (Schiff-Myers, 1992) and others. Those projects have illuminated the field of language loss and maintenance in important ways and have provided the basis for further investigation. Despite significant advances in the last two decades, the current understanding of this field is still inadequate and ongoing research is required in order to form a stronger conceptual understanding of the issues involved. In this paper I suggest focusing more strongly on under-researched Latino populations and on overlooked aspects of the first language maintenance and loss phenomenon (i.e., child-rearing practices). Finally, this paper briefly describes an exploratory study conducted in Vancouver and introduces a research agenda that is currently being formulated.


Martin Guardado  (Canada)
PhD Student
Language and Literacy Education Department
University of British Columbia

Martin Guardado is a PhD student in the Department of Language and Literacy Education at the University of British Columbia. He is currently teaching in the UBC-Ritsumeikan Academic Exchange Program at the same university.

  • First Language Loss
  • First Language Maintenance
  • Bilingualism
  • Spanish as a First Language
  • English as a Second Language
  • Hispanics
  • Minority Languages

(30 min Conference Paper, English)