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The Role of Premigration Status in the Acculturation of Chinese–Vietnamese and Vietnamese Americans



Drawing from fifty in-depth interviews, this research examines the role of existing parental language knowledge on the ethnic identity negotiation of two ethnically distinct children of immigrant groups—Vietnamese and Chinese–Vietnamese—whose families have emigrated from Vietnam to the Southern California region of the United States. While previous research focused primarily on the influence of premigration status on first-generation immigrants, this article considers how a central aspect of premigration status (intranational ethnicity) applies specifically to the children of first generation immigrants. By taking the premigration approach of comparing the experiences of different ancestral-origin groups from a single nation (the intranational ethnicity perspective), this analysis suggests that a family's premigration ethnic status shapes the 1.5 and second-generation's ethnic self-identification choices through the mediation of parental language knowledge. Specifically, for the children of immigrants with twice-minority status (Chinese–Vietnamese Americans), parental language knowledge serves as an easy ethnic identity default during these children's early self-identification process.

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