Date of Award

Spring May 2011

Access Restriction

Campus Access only Research Projects

Degree Name

Master of Arts


Marital and Family Therapy

School or College

College of Communication and Fine Arts


This study involves an exploration of language acculturation and it’s reflection in the art of Latino American families. For Latino American families, language acculturation involves the processes of English language acquisition, Spanish language maintenance, and the formation of language identity. Included in this text is a literature review that presents articles focusing on the role language plays within Latino American families and articles focusing on the use of art therapy with Latino American populations. This study uses qualitative strategies involving the use of survey questions and phenomenological art based research procedures to gather information about Latino American experiences with language acculturation. Research participants included first generation parents and second generation adolescents from eight Latino American families. Research data consisting of art work and survey responses are used to answer research questions which serve as the framework for data analysis. Based on data collection and analysis, challenge, opportunity, and cultural identity were three prominent themes found to reflect the first and second generation Latino American participants’ experience with language acculturation. For first generation participants, challenges with language acculturation related to language brokering, limited English proficiency, and loss. Both first and second generation participants recognized opportunities associated with language acculturation and bilingualism that included greater social involvement, better employment with increased salary, and an improved sense of security and self-esteem. Second generation participants also conveyed a sense of pride in linguistic and cultural identity which involved the blending of Latino and American cultures.