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The Linguistic Context of Ethnic Endogamy

Gillian Stevens and Gray Swicegood
American Sociological Review
Vol. 52, No. 1 (Feb., 1987), pp. 73-82
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2095393
Page Count: 10
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The Linguistic Context of Ethnic Endogamy
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Abstract

Because ethnic endogamy promotes the transmission of the group's cultural attributes to younger generations, it perpetuates ethnic descent groups. Yet demographic and social contexts of marriages can alter levels of ethnic endogamy. Though this study examines aspects of the demographic environment, it emphasizes the extent to which the language characteristics of the ethnic group members and their environment are associated with ethnic endogamy. Based on the 1976 Survey of Income and Education, the analysis shows strong relationships between endogamy and ethnic group size and geographic segregation. Moreover, ethnic endogamy is also associated with the relative size and vitality of the embedded non-English language subgroup. These results underscore the importance of non-English languages as sources of ethnic group cohesion and continuity.

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