Of possibilities and limitations: maternal self-perceptions of agency in children's Spanish/English bilingual development
This paper presents preliminary results of an ongoing study of the sociolinguistic experiences of a group of first-generation Latino families attempting to raise their children as Spanish/English bilinguals in the city of Lincoln, Nebraska. Each mother's self-perception of agency in her child's linguistic and academic development was examined, as well as her perceptions of the challenges involved in having her children use Spanish in private and public spaces. Previous studies (Velázauez, 2009; Potowski, 2008; Okita, 2002; Schecter & Bailey, 2002) have pointed to the work of mothers as a key factor in the process of intergenerational transmission or loss of a heritage language. Understanding the motivations and beliefs about this work, held by a group of mothers who are in the process of acquiring English, provides us with insight into one of the main foundations of home language policies and practices. These policies and practices set the basis for Spanish transmission or non-transmission to the children in these households.