Linguistics Senior Research Projects

Document Type

Capstone Project

Submission Date



Heritage language maintenance, adoptive families, parental motivation


The purpose of this study has been to discover more about influences on adoptive parents’ decisions regarding heritage language maintenance/learning for their older, internationally-adopted children. While there is much literature available on heritage language learning/maintenance (see Geerlings et al., 2015; Hornberger & Wang, 2008; McGinnis, 2008; Mu, 2016) and also on intercultural navigation in transnational adoptive families (see Bebiroglu & Pinderhighes, 2012; Lee, 2003), the blending of the two (heritage language in these adoptive families) does not seem to be as well studied – a gap this present study attempts to address. The population specifically addressed in this study is parents who have adopted a child(ren) internationally from a culture where English is not a native language and where the child(ren) have spent their formative years (approximately birth-5 years) speaking primarily the native language of that culture. Findings from this case study propose that, according to international adoptive parents’ self-projected perspectives, their decisions regarding heritage language maintenance for their older, adopted child are more affected by external factors than their own internal motivations or ideologies.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.



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