Undergraduate Honors Theses

Thesis Defended

Spring 2015

Document Type


Type of Thesis

Departmental Honors


Speech, Language & Hearing Sciences

First Advisor

Pui Fong Kan

Second Advisor

Kathryn Arehart

Third Advisor

Bhuvana Narasimhan


This study examines the amount of Cantonese-English language use in two main language environments of preschool children enrolled at the Head Start centers in San Francisco, California. The objective of this study aims to investigate home and classroom environments of sequential, bilingual children who learn Cantonese (L1) from birth and English (L2) at a later age in school. The present study examined the L1-L2 use of parents (N = 64) and teachers (N = 9) in households and classrooms. Data regarding language use across family members and home activities were collected using questionnaires, and data regarding language use across school centers and classroom activities were collected using digital voice recorders. The language use of parents and teachers were each compared separately per dataset. Overall, L1 was reported to be the majority language used at home by all family members and across all home activities. L2 appeared to be used more across activities in the classroom but not across teachers. Results of the study suggest that L1 is maintained at home while school settings introduce and help develop the L2 of a dual language learner.

Keywords: bilingual, language environments, Cantonese, English, Head Start