Language Acquisition among Adult Immigrants in Canada Maria Adamuti-Trache University of British Columbia, Vancouver, CANA...
Background: Immigration to Canada <ul><li>Dramatic shift in the source countries of recent immigration    non-traditional...
<ul><li>Language capital (Chiswick & Miller,1995)    human capital </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Exposure </li></ul></ul><ul><ul>...
Research sample <ul><li>Longitudinal Survey of Immigrants to Canada: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Arrival: Oct 2000-Sept 2001 </l...
Starting point: Language capital in Wave 1 (arrival) <ul><li>Vulnerable groups: low levels of education, older immigrants,...
Steps to acquire language capital:  Incidental to Informal learning Since you came to Canada, what steps have you taken to...
Steps to acquire language capital: Purposeful learning <ul><li>Vulnerable groups’ strategies:  </li></ul><ul><ul><li>women...
Integration indicators 4 years after arrival <ul><li>Possession of language capital    better socio-economic integration ...
Concluding remarks <ul><li>Canadian immigration policy: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Since April 2010, requirements for proofs of...
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Language Acquisition among Adult Immigrants in Canada

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Maria Adamuti-Trache

University of British Columbia, Vancouver, CANADA
Email: maria.trache@ubc.ca

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Language Acquisition among Adult Immigrants in Canada

  1. 1. Language Acquisition among Adult Immigrants in Canada Maria Adamuti-Trache University of British Columbia, Vancouver, CANADA Email: maria.trache@ubc.ca The 15th International Metropolis Conference, The Hague, October 5, 2010
  2. 2. Background: Immigration to Canada <ul><li>Dramatic shift in the source countries of recent immigration  non-traditional source countries </li></ul><ul><li>Language barriers  challenges to integration </li></ul>
  3. 3. <ul><li>Language capital (Chiswick & Miller,1995)  human capital </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Exposure </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Efficiency </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Expected returns </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The role of social practice in acquiring capital (Bourdieu, 1990) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Participation (e.g., labour market, education/training) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Social interactions </li></ul></ul>Theoretical framework <ul><li>To portray the self-reported official language skills of recent adult immigrants to Canada </li></ul><ul><li>To identify and compare the strategies employed by immigrants to improve official languages competencies </li></ul><ul><li>To assess the impact of language proficiency on integration outcomes. </li></ul>Purpose of the study
  4. 4. Research sample <ul><li>Longitudinal Survey of Immigrants to Canada: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Arrival: Oct 2000-Sept 2001 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Wave 1 (6 months); Wave 2 (2 yrs); Wave 3 (4 yrs) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Sample (N=6,090) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Never lived in Canada before immigration </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>20-59 years of age at arrival to Canada </li></ul></ul>Variables <ul><li>Outcomes </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Self-reported official language speaking skills </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li> Low (Don’t know/Poor & Fairly well) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li> High (Well & Very well/Mother tongue) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Integration indicators </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Explanatory </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Gender, age, pre-migration level of education, region of last permanent residence. </li></ul></ul>
  5. 5. Starting point: Language capital in Wave 1 (arrival) <ul><li>Vulnerable groups: low levels of education, older immigrants, women, Asian immigrants </li></ul>
  6. 6. Steps to acquire language capital: Incidental to Informal learning Since you came to Canada, what steps have you taken to improve your English/French? (within 4 years of arrival) 50 53 42 39 51 51 38 35 36 50 53 42 52 52 63 66 83 83 High school/below College University 45 42 49 26 40 31 45 42 62 48 83 51 ..35-39.. 50-59 42 50 60 38 33 39 42 50 60 60 77 78 Male Female 47 46 36 47 60 77 ALL High Low High Low High Low Language skills W1 At work Family/Friends Media
  7. 7. Steps to acquire language capital: Purposeful learning <ul><li>Vulnerable groups’ strategies: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>women  language classes, family/friends </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>older immigrants  family/friends, work, formal education </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>high school/below education  family/friends, work </li></ul></ul>39 51 51 38 35 36 33 29 38 59 75 76 28 28 40 29 55 54 High school/below College University 49 26 40 31 36 16 79 41 38 22 56 23 ..35-39.. 50-59 60 38 33 39 33 41 64 74 38 37 46 44 Male Female 46 36 36 70 37 45 ALL High Low High Low High Low Language skills W1 Formal education Language classes Self-study
  8. 8. Integration indicators 4 years after arrival <ul><li>Possession of language capital  better socio-economic integration </li></ul>Ethnic/religious/cultural org None 79 73 89 Membership: Non-ethnic/ religious/cultural org All/Most ethnic friends  Bonding social capital 67 91 Few/None ethnic friends  Bridging social capital Have tried, not accepted No prior work experience 79 55 88 Prior work experience accepted Unemployed 65 80 Employed 78 Percentage of ‘Good’ speakers 66 Belonging to Canada: Not strong at all Belonging to Canada: Very strong Less integrated Better integrated
  9. 9. Concluding remarks <ul><li>Canadian immigration policy: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Since April 2010, requirements for proofs of English/French language proficiency </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Yet, no language requirements  family immigrants, refugees and some economic immigrants (spouse/dependants) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Official language acquisition  shared responsibility: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Canadian education institutions: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Language classes  basic/intermediate skills (high school, college) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>  advanced language skills (lack of opportunities) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Some initiatives of language training for professionals </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Workplace and Community: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Non-formal, informal and incidental language training  participation </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Immigrants: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Language acquisition/enhancement is primarily an individual responsibility. </li></ul></ul></ul>

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