Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Interactions with caregivers are important for children’s development. In particular, the language input that young dual language learners (DLLs) receive from their primary caregivers affects their cultural knowledge and their bilingual language outcomes. However, relatively little research has been conducted to investigate the cultural contexts that influence Latino caregivers’ bilingual language use at home, including their acculturation level. Thus, the present study examined the relation between caregivers’ acculturation and their children’s bilingual (Spanish and English) language use, and whether this relation varied as a function of caregivers’ bilingual language use. Parent-report measures of bilingual language use, in addition to video recordings of caregiver-child interactions during a 10-minute play task, were collected from caregiver-child dyads (N=37) when the children were 18 (Mage=18.73 months; SDage=1.11) and 24 (Mage=25.13 months; SDage=1.29) months of age. A measure of caregivers’ acculturation was also collected. Descriptive analyses revealed that strongly heritage culture-oriented caregivers and their children used the most Spanish at 18- and 24-months, respectively, as measured by the number of word tokens in Spanish and English from transcribed video recordings. Caregivers who were more heritage culture-oriented also reported using more Spanish with their children. Regression and mediational analyses revealed that caregivers’ acculturation level was related to children’s bilingual language use, as a function of caregivers’ bilingual language use from six months prior, following the same pattern seen in the descriptive analyses. This relation was found when a multidimensional conceptualization of acculturation was used as the predictor, not just its language or sociocultural domains.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.