"Heritage Language Maintenance In An Urban Somali Community And Its Relationship To Academic Performance"

Sarah Jean Latzke

Abstract

This research project sought the answer to the question: Is there a correlation between the maintenance of Somali heritage language and academic performance in relation to national norms of urban Somali elementary students in a focus school? Key indicators of heritage language maintenance were determined through research and were identified as Family Language Policies, socioeconomic factors, prestige, identity, and motivation. The project focused on the collection of academic data and interviews of urban Somali parents, guardians, and students to determine if there is a relationship between heritage language maintenance and academic achievement. Interview data was coded and checked for reliability then compared to student academic performance to discover the relationship. The results indicate that students with higher self-reported Somali language usage and higher positive heritage language maintenance indicators did better academically than students with the reverse.