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Date of Award


Document Type

Thesis - Pacific Access Restricted

Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)


Intercultural Relations

First Advisor

Barbara Schaetti

First Committee Member

Valerie White

Second Committee Member

Kent Warren

Third Committee Member

Bruce La Brack


This study focuses on the impact of parental native language proficiency on the ethnic identities of 30 biculturals. By completing a questionnaire, the individual's father's and mother's native language proficiencies are measured, as well as the salience of both of the individual's ethnicities. Approximately 43% of the participants are more proficient in the parental native language that corresponds to their salient ethnic identity, 23% identify with the ethnicity that corresponds to the less proficient native language, and 33% identify equally with both their parents' ethnicities, are equally proficient in their native languages, or both. The main implication of the study is, that language is an important but not sufficient ethnic identity marker. The results suggest that the salient ethnic identity is likely to be that of the more proficient parental native language. Other factors such as the father-figure effect, country of residence, multilingualism, and age are also determined influential.



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