1.5 and 2nd Generation Luso-Canadian Mothering: Language and Cultural Retention in the Greater Toronto Area

This presentation is based on my thesis that identifies what the division of labour surrounding language and cultural retention is for 6-8 Canadian women of Portuguese decent (Luso-Canadians). Specifically, the issue of choice of retention and transmission of language and culture to children is addressed. These women are an interesting group as their social position enables a cultural hybridity where they choose which aspects of their culture(s) they would like to accept or reject and which to transmit to children. Rooted in a qualitative research design that involved interviewing, this presentation addresses: Do second generation Luso-Canadian mothers desire to sustain Portuguese cultural habits in themselves and subsequently teach their children? If so, what progressive steps do they take to ensure this? Do changes in family structure assist/hinder their choices? Initial findings suggest that regardless of partner’s ethnicity, there are varied differences associated with retention. For some, there may be a tension between wanting to be ‘Canadian’, and the broken language transmission between older family members. For others, there may be no value associated, and subsequently no need to teach culture and language that is not ‘Canadian’. The children in these households inevitably bear the future prospects of maintaining a vibrant Portuguese community in the Greater Toronto Area. Although the Portuguese community is a large population in relation to other immigrant groups in Canada, studies in Canadian academic journals are comparatively lower than other groups. This project will add to the existing literature while reflecting a small group of Luso-Canadian mothers.
Linguistics and Sociology Panel