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Use of Heritage Language in Immigrant Families to Strengthen Family Relationships and Ethnic Identities of Adolescents: The Case of Arab Immigrants

Dr. Vimala Venugopal Muthuswamy
School of Business, Department of Management, King Faisal University, Al hasa 31982, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Keywords: Heritage language, ethnic identity, family relationships, parental warmth, immigrant families ,


The objective of this study was to evaluate the impact of heritage language usage among adolescents from immigrant families on the enhancement of family bonds and ethnic identity among Arab immigrants. In order to accomplish the stated objective, a total of 321 expatriates and their respective families residing in Saudi Arabia were surveyed, and quantitative data was collected. The data that was gathered was subjected to analysis using the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) software. Regression analysis was employed to examine direct relationships, while moderation analysis was conducted using the Hayes Process Macro. The findings of the analysis indicated that the utilisation of heritage language among adolescents from immigrant backgrounds led to enhanced familial relationships, encompassing both family cohesion and family discussion. Additionally, it was discovered that the presence of parental warmth played a crucial role in influencing the relationship between the utilisation of heritage language and familial dynamics, specifically in terms of promoting family cohesion and facilitating open discussions within the family unit. In addition to this, the use of heritage languages also exerted a substantial impact on the degree of affiliation with the ethnic identity of immigrants. This study makes a noteworthy contribution to the existing body of literature, as research on Arabic as a heritage language and Arab immigrants is still in its early stages and therefore limited. Consequently, there is a need for further exploration and reflection by scholars in this area. Thus, this research adds to the existing literature. Furthermore, it is noteworthy to mention that there is a dearth of prior research examining the utilisation of the Arabic language and its influence on familial dynamics and ethnic identity among Arab immigrants. Consequently, this study holds substantial value as it adds to the existing scholarly discourse in this field.