Date of Award
Master of Arts (MA)
Mark E. Karan
Using a mixed qualitative and quantitative approach, I explore immigrants' individual motivations for language use, language shift and language maintenance. I met with 25 immigrants to the US who are native speakers of Falam, a language from Myanmar, to learn their reasons for Falam and English usage as well as their desires for Falam usage in the US. I used the Perceived Benefit Model of Language Shift's taxonomy of motivations to classify each motivation expressed. Among Falam immigrants to America, I found that solidarity-related and communicative motivations are behind language maintenance while economic and communicative motivations are behind language shift. I conclude with a discussion on the role motivations play in forecasting ethnolinguistic vitality and initiating language development, suggesting the use of a wider framework such as Lewis and Simon's Sustainable Use Model to account for factors such as changing societal values and varying strengths of motivations.
Reeves, Hannah Joy, "Falam Immigrants In America: Motivations For Language Use, Maintenance, And Shift" (2015). Theses and Dissertations. 1827.