Honors Theses


Jennifer E. Haan, Ph.D.



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Honors Thesis


The Italian-American identity is inextricably linked with language. Italian immigrants and their descendants have formed a culture in the United states with a dynamic history, particularly when it comes to language use and perceptions. This study examined multigenerational Italian Americans’ perceptions of English, Italian, and the unique Italian-American dialect; it aimed to discover changes in the usage of Italian-American dialect over time. Italian Americans in the Dayton area were interviewed and presented with surveys to gather both quantitative and qualitative data. Results indicate that while overall usage and recognition of Italian-American lexical items has decreased dramatically since the 1980s, younger generations of Italian Americans today show greater interest in learning about Italian culture and language than those in previous decades.

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Arts and Humanities | English Language and Literature | Italian Language and Literature | Linguistics