Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

David I. Hanauer, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Sharon K. Deckert, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Gloria Park, Ph.D.


This thesis aimed to observe and explicate the language socializing practices that occur within the complex world of two families living in the United States. Using Vygotsky's socio-cultural theory of learning as a theoretical framework, this study utilized a case-study approach with two multilingual families. Semi-structured interviews were conducted along with observations of home practices using a source-structured table. Three themes were revealed from the data indicating (1) Parental perception of English may influence the micro-politics of language learning in the homes of both participant families, (2) Parental concern regarding heritage language attrition potentially effects language teaching strategies in the home and (3) Parental perception of the child's emotional needs and contextual situation may dictate when and how each language was used at home. This study further provides detailed examples of what may, or may not, be done to help develop the language learning of young children during early childhood.