Scant information is available on experiences with language among immigrant populations in new destinations. This study provides a multi-dimensional portrait of the linguistic incorporation of Dominican immigrants in the "majority-minority" city of Reading, Pennsylvania. The results show that daily life for most largely occurs in a Spanish-language milieu, but English proficiency and use in social networks is primarily a function of exposure to the United States. This is consistent with the standard narrative of assimilation models. At the same time, negative experiences with the use of both English and Spanish suggest that the linguistic context of reception is inhospitable for a substantial share of this population. Negative experiences with English are particularly likely to be mentioned by those with dark skin and greater cumulative exposure. Lastly, language plays an important role in experiences with ethno-racial enmity more broadly. Nonetheless, the persistent effect of skin tone indicates that such experiences are not reducible to language per se.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Sociology and Political Science