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Title: Language maintenance-attrition among generations of the Venetian-Italian community in Anglophone Canada
Author: Bortolato, Claudia
ISNI:       0000 0004 2749 5840
Awarding Body: University of Exeter
Current Institution: University of Exeter
Date of Award: 2012
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This study reports on language contact phenomena among the Italian-Venetian communities of Anglophone Canada. The analysis perspective is twofold: on one hand it studies language maintenance/attrition comparing two cohorts of migrants, those already well researched who migrated during the period of mass migration (1945-1967) and those who did so in the following four decades (1970-2009). On the other, it investigates language maintenance/attrition taking an intergenerational perspective on three generations of speakers. The corpus used in the analysis is composed of 56 interviews, collected during three months of fieldwork in Canada in 2009. These data were supplemented by 99 questionnaires, which set the background of the analysis, discussing in particular the linguistic habits and attitudes of the community investigated. Given the huge amount of data considered and the mainly quantitative approach taken in this research, two statistical software programs, Taltac and SPSS, were employed to help with the analysis. Another tool, meta-linguistic observation, is also used to broaden the general framework of the study and whenever possible support it with more evidence. The literature on language maintenance/attrition among Italian migrant communities is sizeable; however, there remains room for further investigations. This work, in particular, addresses two major aspects still rarely explored: first, quantifying the decline in heritage language skills on a generational scale, and secondly, comparing the linguistic skills of post-Second World War migrants, on which research has mostly concentrated so far, with those of new waves of migrants. Although this thesis is concerned with a particular geographical and historical framework and the findings are therefore representative of this specific context, the work aims to point to some observations from which generalisation may be possible. By setting side by side these two very distinct cohorts and discussing the new linguistic tendencies in language proficiency among the most recent groups of migrants, research is opened to the new scenarios evolving among Italian communities abroad.
Supervisor: Goglia, Francesco; Coveney, Aidan Sponsor: University of Exeter
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Language attrition ; Language maintenance ; Bilingualism