Date of Conferral





Human Services


Lilian Chenoweth


Acculturation research has gained interest due to the increasing levels of immigration to the United States. The population of interest for this study was the Latino immigrant population in the United States, as they represent the largest and fastest growing minority in the country. One challenge Latino immigrants can face during the acculturation process is a phenomenon described as nonreciprocal language. This phenomenon is present when first generation parents speak in their native language of Spanish and their children, who are second-generation immigrants, speak in the host culture language of English. The purpose of this study was to focus on the role of nonreciprocal language in the mother-child relationship between first generation Latino immigrant mothers and their second-generation children. A qualitative, ethnographic study was used to investigate 10 participants, including first generation Latino immigrant mothers and their second-generation children in Charlotte, North Carolina. Findings from this content analysis study include mothers' and children's experiences with nonreciprocal language and their acculturation categories, which led to recommendations for new strategies for ESL education and the need to develop programs to help parents raise bilingual children. This information can benefit advocates, policymakers, and other stakeholders involved in programs that are focused on helping children be more proficient in their parents' language or helping parents become more proficient in English. Information from this study can also allow immigrant parents to make informed decisions about their language use and the possible impact on their relationships.