The 2 boys tended to use more Spanish especially to each other even though they were at least as proficient in English as the girls. This reflects that although they recognized the importance of English fluency in their future endeavors as breadwinners, they were more conscious of maintaining their Mexican heritage in their social relations than the girls. The Smith-Hefner study states that most Khmer parents placed a high value on both the acquisition of English fluency and instruction as well as their native language this seemed to contradict their general refusal to push the children into less popular bilingual rather than unilingual English programs un like other southeastern Asian communities. The researcher postulated that this was because the Hindu religion taught them that they could have little influence on the direction of their children’s lives, as it was largely predetermined by fate and how they behaved in previous reincarnated lives. It appears the children, expecting to remain in the US for the rest of their lives, implicitly saw English fluency as critical to their fitting in and advancing in American society, and while not necessarily rejecting their Khmer heritage, did not feel the need to take steps to ensue its’ preservation. Therefore in both groups while some aspects of homeland language and culture may be preserved, this is likely to be restricted to private social identities with family and close friends. Even the children recognize that in order to achieve status and economic well being English language proficiency is mandatory to be identified as a well respected successful member of mainstream American society and the preservation of homeland language, values and culture is usually of secondary importance.The studies suggest to me that policies that provide instruction in immigrant’s languages should be promoted only to the extent that they are necessary to enable children to receive instruction in English only. In other words, public funds in this era of tight budgets should not be expended with a view to preserving immigrant’s language and heritage, although theses communities should be free to organize and finance such programs if they wish. At least now we live in an English dominant Anglo Saxon society so I submit the prime focus of our public education system should be to prepare students to function well in such an environment. While
1). Fuller, Janet M. Southern Illinois University at Carbondale “Language Choice as a Means of Shaping Identity” Journal of Linguistic Anthropology p. 106-126.
2). Smith-Hefner, Nancy J. University of Massachusetts at Boston “Language and Identity in the Education of Boston-Area Khmer” Anthropology @ Education Quarterly Volume 21, 1990 p. 250-266.
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