Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Semester of Degree Completion


Thesis Director

Angela B. Anthony


The purpose of the current study was to investigate the relationship between use of English as a second language in academic and social settings, and attitude towards home language (Spanish) in bilingual adolescents in a Central Illinois high school. In addition, the study evaluated the possible relationship between home language attitude and the structure of a personal narrative. Participants included include 11 Spanish-English bilingual high school students who resided in Spanish-speaking homes. Participants completed a questionnaire pertaining to self-rated proficiency of English and Spanish, frequency of use in various settings, and attitude towards English, Spanish, and bilingualism. English narrative samples were obtained and transcribed. Each narrative was coded for instances of Spanish influence. Narratives and survey data were then analyzed using SPSS to evaluate a possible relationship between narrative structure and attitude.

All 11 participants reported their English proficiency as average or better. Three of the 11 participants did not display any of the linguistic and cultural differences examined in this study. All of the students, regardless of the presence of linguistic and cultural features in the narrative samples, identified as having either a neutral or positive attitude towards Spanish, English, and bilingualism. A positive correlation was found between self-rated English proficiency and use of Spanish in the community setting. A negative correlation was also found between attitude towards Spanish and the use of orientation and evaluation statements in personal narratives. No other significant correlations were found between language use, attitude, or personal narrative structure. However, these results aligned with previous research suggesting that bilingual children who feel positively towards L2 will become sufficiently proficient in that language, as well as potentially adopt the structural conventions of a personal narrative in L2.