publication . Article . Other literature type . 2008

Language shift and the family : Questions from the Sri Lankan Tamil diaspora

Canagarajah, A. Suresh;
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  • Published: 01 Apr 2008 Journal: Journal of Sociolinguistics, volume 12, pages 143-176 (issn: 1360-6441, eissn: 1467-9841, Copyright policy)
  • Publisher: Wiley
Abstract
Fishman's Graded Intergenerational Disruption Scale (GIDS) emphasizes the family in maintaining the heritage languages of immigrant communities. This study uses interview data from Sri Lankan Tamil communities in the U.S.A., U.K., and Canada to explain how families account for the rapid loss of Tamil in the diaspora. It shows how the positive valuation of English since British colonization, the need to make up for past deprivations because of caste, religious, and gender inequality, the pressure for migrants to join the social mainstream, and the need to resolve intergenerational tensions influence the family to forego language maintenance goals. The findings en...
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