The Repository @ St. Cloud State

Open Access Knowledge and Scholarship

Date of Award


Culminating Project Type


Degree Name

English: Teaching English as a Second Language: M.A.




College of Liberal Arts

First Advisor

James Robinson

Second Advisor

Choonkyong Kim

Third Advisor

Rami Amiri

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Keywords and Subject Headings

Bilingualism, Somali, Parents, Beliefs, Strategies


The American Midwest is home to a large number of refugees from Somalia. Numerous studies have explored immigrant communities’ beliefs and strategies for bilingual development of their children. However, there has only been one study (Abikar, 2013) that explored this topic from the perspective of Somali parents. The aim of this qualitative study was to look at first-generation Somali parents’ beliefs and strategies for bilingual development of their children. 10 first-generation Somali parents were interviewed using semi-structured interview questions. 14 major themes related to their beliefs and strategies were found. Parents in this study perceived a strong relationship between their children’s heritage language and family communication and identity. While acknowledging their important role in children’s heritage language maintenance, parents perceived school as a major factor in their children’s subtractive bilingualism. They expressed their beliefs about the positive impact of bilingualism and their desire for their children to also be literate in Somali. Parents also discussed the role they believed Somali weekend schools should play. Their strategies for bilingual development included requiring only Somali to be spoken in the home, exposing kids to media in Somali, and trips back to Somalia.