Multiracial Multilinguals: How Language Influences Multiracials’ Interpersonal Relationships

  •  Elizabeth Hernandez    
  •  Taylor Pauley    
  •  Haochen Zheng    
  •  Kaitlyn Jubera    
  •  Torin Perreyclear    
  •  Rosi Vera    
  •  Margaret Satchwell    
  •  Jarryd Willis    


Lovers in interracial couples are more likely to have different heritage languages and first languages than same-race couples, and Multiracials are the offspring of interracial couples. As such, Multiracials’ linguistic socialization likely differs from that of monoracials. Our study examined the influence of ethnoracial socialization on monoracials’ and Multiracials’ linguistic knowledge and the influence of language and ethnoracial identity on individuals’ interpersonal relationships. We hypothesized that monoracials would be more likely to know their heritage language than Multiracials, that linguistic knowledge would differ between interminority Multiracial groups and half-White Multiracial groups, and that linguistic knowledge would be associated with the formation of both friendships and romantic relationships. Our sample included nearly a thousand students from a university in California. We found that monoracial minorities were more likely to be multilingual than both interminority Multiracials and half-White Multiracials. East Asian participants who spoke an East Asian language had a higher proportion of East Asian friends. Among Multiracials, Wasians and Latinasians who spoke an East Asian language primarily dated someone East Asian, Latinasians who spoke a Latin American language primarily dated someone Hispanic, and monolinguals of both groups were the ones most likely to date someone White. These findings suggest that linguistic knowledge plays a significant role in a community's social dynamics, affecting monoracials' and (especially) Multiracials' interpersonal relationships.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
  • ISSN(Print): 1918-7173
  • ISSN(Online): 1918-7181
  • Started: 2009
  • Frequency: quarterly

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