Abstract

We develop a model using human capital theory and an immigrant adjustment process to generate hypotheses on the acquisition of destination-language skills among immigrants. The model is tested for adult male immigrants in the 1991 Census of Canada. Use of English or French is greater, the younger the age at migration, the longer the duration of residence, the higher the educational attainment, the farther the country of origin from Canada, and the linguistically closer the mother tongue to English or French, and among those who are not refugees, those from a former British, French, or American colony, and those who live in an area where fewer people speak the respondent’s mother tongue. The explanatory variables based on birthplace have behavioral interpretations and possess almost as much explanatory power as the birthplace dummy variables

The text of this article is only available as a PDF.

References

Abbott, M.G. and C.M. Beach. 1987. “Immigrant Earnings Differentials and Cohort Effects in Canada.” Discussion Paper 705,
Institute for Economic Research, Queen’s University, Kingston, ONT.
Becker, G.S., & Chiswick, B.R. (
1966
).
Education and the Distribution of Earnings
.
American Economic Review
,
56
,
358
69
.
Beenstock, M. (
1996
).
The Acquisition of Language Skills by Immigrants: The Case of Hebrew in Israel
.
International Migration
,
4
,
3
30
. 10.1111/j.1468-2435.1996.tb00178.x
Berman, E., K. Lang, and E. Siniver. 2000. “Language-Skill Complementarity: Returns to Immigrant Language Acquisition.” Department of Economics, Boston University. Photocopied document.
Breton, A. (
1978
).
Bilingualism: An Economic Approach
.
Montreal
:
C.D. Howe Research Institute
.
Breton, A. (
1978
).
Nationalism and Language Policies
.
Canadian Journal of Economics
,
11
,
656
68
. 10.2307/134371
New Canadian Perspectives: Official Languages Research Publications, Publications Catalogue
. (
1999
).
Ottawa
:
Canadian Heritage
.
Charette, M.F., & Meng, R. (
1998
).
The Determinants of Literacy and Numeracy, and the Effect of Literacy and Numeracy on Labour Market Outcomes
.
Canadian Journal of Economics
,
31
,
495
517
. 10.2307/136200
Chastain, K. (
1975
).
Affective and Ability Factors in Second-Language Learning
.
Language Learning
,
25
(
1
),
153
62
. 10.1111/j.1467-1770.1975.tb00115.x
Chiswick, B.R. (
1991
).
Speaking, Reading and Earnings Among Low-Skilled Immigrants
.
Journal of Labor Economics
,
9
,
149
70
. 10.1086/298263
Chiswick, B.R. (
1998
).
Hebrew Language Usage: Determinants and Effects on Earnings Among Immigrants in Israel
.
Journal of Population Economics
,
11
,
253
71
. 10.1007/s001480050068
Chiswick, B.R. (
1999
).
Are Immigrants Favorably Self-Selected?”
.
American Economic Review
,
89
,
181
85
. 10.1257/aer.89.2.181
Chiswick, B.R., & Miller, P.W. (
1988
).
Earnings in Canada: The Roles of Immigrant Generation, French Ethnicity and Language
. In T.P. Schultz (Ed.),
Research in Population Economics
(pp.
183
228
).
Greenwich, CT
:
JAI
.
Chiswick, B.R. (
1992
).
Language in the Labor Market: The Immigrant Experience in Canada and the United States
. In B.R. Chiswick (Ed.),
Immigration, Language and Ethnic Issues: Canada and the United States
(pp.
229
96
).
Washington, DC
:
American Enterprise Institute
.
Chiswick, B.R. (
1994
).
Language Choice Among Immigrants in a Multi-Lingual Destination
.
Journal of Population Economics
,
7
,
119
31
. 10.1007/BF00173615
Chiswick, B.R. (
1994
).
Language and Labor Supply: The Role of Gender Among Immigrants in Australia
.
Research on Economic Inequality
,
17
,
153
89
.
Chiswick, B.R. (
1995
).
The Endogeneity Between Language and Earnings: International Analyses
.
Journal of Labor Economics
,
13
,
246
88
. 10.1086/298374
Chiswick, B.R. (
1996
).
Ethnic Networks and Language Proficiency Among Immigrants
.
Journal of Population Economics
,
9
,
16
35
. 10.1007/PL00013277
Chiswick, B.R. (
998
).
English Language Fluency Among Immigrants in the United States
.
Research in Labor Economics
,
17
,
151
200
.
Chiswick, B.R. (
1998
).
Census Language Questions in North America
.
Journal of Economic and Social Measurement
,
25
,
73
95
.
Chiswick, B.R. Forthcoming a. “Immigrant Earnings: Language Skills, Linguistic Concentrations and the Business Cycle.” Journal of Population Economics.
Chiswick, B.R. Forthcoming b. “The Complementarity of Language and Other Human Capital: Immigrant Earnings in Canada.” Economics of Education Review.
Crystal, D. (
1987
).
The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Language
.
Cambridge, UK
:
Cambridge University Press
.
De Vries, J., & Vallee, F.G. (
1980
).
Language Use in Canada
.
Ottawa
:
Statistics Canada
.
Dustmann, C. (
1994
).
Speaking Fluency, Writing Fluency and Earnings of Migrants
.
Journal of Population Economics
,
7
,
133
56
. 10.1007/BF00173616
Espenshade, T.J., & Fu, H. (
1997
).
An Analysis of English Language Proficiency Among U.S. Immigrants
.
American Sociological Review
,
62
,
288
305
. 10.2307/2657305
Fitzpatrick, G.L., & Modlin, M.J. (
1986
).
Direct-Line Distances
.
Metuchen, NJ
:
Scarecrow Press
.
Gardiner, R.C. (
1990
).
Attitudes, Motivation, and Personality as Predictors of Success in Foreign Language Learning
. In T.S. Parry, & C.W. Stansfield (Eds.),
Language Aptitude Reconsidered
(pp.
179
221
).
Englewood Cliffs, NJ
:
Prentice-Hall
.
Green, A.G., & Green, D.A. (
1995
).
Canadian Immigration Policy: The Effectiveness of the Point System and Other Instruments
.
Canadian Journal of Economics
,
28
,
1006
41
. 10.2307/136133
Grenier, G. (
1987
).
Earnings by Language Group in Quebec in 1980 and Emigration From Quebec Between 1976 and 1981
.
Canadian Journal of Economics
,
24
,
774
91
. 10.2307/135415
Grenier, G., & Vaillancourt, F. (
1983
).
An Economic Perspective on Learning a Second Language
.
Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development
,
4
,
471
83
. 10.1080/01434632.1983.9994130
Grimes, J.E., & Grimes, B.F. (
1993
).
Ethnologue: Languages of the World
. 13th ed.
Dallas
:
Summer Institute of Linguistics
.
Guindon, R., & Poulin, P. (
1998
).
Francophiles in Canada: A Community of Interests
.
Ottawa
:
Canadian Heritage
.
Hart-Gonzalez, L., & Lindemann, S. (
1993
).
Expected Achievement in Speaking Proficiency, 1993
.
Washington, DC
:
School of Language Studies, Foreign Services Institute, Department of State
.
Hedges, C. 2000. “Translating America for Parents and Family.” New York Times, June 19, p. A19.
Kee, P., & von Ophem, H. (
1996
).
Immigrant Wages in the Netherlands: The Role of Dutch Language Proficiency
. In S. Gazioglu (Ed.),
Migrants in the European Labor Market
(pp.
62
84
).
Aderdeen
:
J-Net
.
Long, M.H. (
1990
).
Maturational Constraints on Language Development
.
Studies in Second Language Acquisition
,
12
,
251
85
. 10.1017/S0272263100009165
McManus, W., Gould, W., & Welch, F. (
1983
).
Earnings of Hispanic Men: The Role of English Language Proficiency
.
Journal of Labor Economics
,
1
,
101
30
. 10.1086/298006
Newport, E.L. (
1990
).
Maturational Constraints on Language Learning
.
Cognitive Science
,
14
(
1
),
57
77
. 10.1207/s15516709cog1401_2
Richmond, A.H., & Kalback, W.E. (
1980
).
Factors in the Adjustment of Immigrants and Their Descendants
.
Ottawa
:
Statistics Canada
.
Service, E., & Clark, F.I.M. (
1993
).
Differences Between Young and Older Adults in Learning a Foreign Language
.
Journal of Memory and Language
,
32
,
608
23
. 10.1006/jmla.1993.1031
Shapiro, D.M., & Stelcner, M. (
1997
).
Language and Earnings in Quebec: Trends Over Twenty Years, 1970–1990
.
Canadian Public Policy/Analyse de Politiques
,
23
(
2
),
115
40
. 10.2307/3551481
Shields, M.A. and S. Wheatley-Price. 1999. “The English Language Fluency and Occupational Success of Ethnic Minority Immigrant Men Living in English Metropolitan Areas.” Presented at the CEPR Conference on Marginal Labour Markets in Metropolitan Areas, October 10–12, Dublin.
User Documentation for Public Use Microdata File on Individuals, 1991 Census of Canada
. (
1994
).
Ottawa
:
Statistics Canada
.
Stevens, G. (
1986
).
Sex Differences in Language Shift in the United States
.
Sociology and Social Research
,
71
(
1
),
31
36
.
Stevens, G. (
1994
).
The English Language Proficiency of Immigrants in the U.S
. In J. Passel, & B. Edmonston (Eds.),
Immigration and Ethnicity: The Integration of America’s Newest Immigrants
(pp.
63
86
).
Washington, DC
:
Urban Institute
.
Svanes, B. (
1987
).
Motivation and Cultural Distance in Second-Language Acquisition
.
Language Learning
,
37
,
341
59
. 10.1111/j.1467-1770.1987.tb00575.x
Tainer, E. (
1988
).
English Language Proficiency and Earnings Among Foreign-Born Men
.
Journal of Human Resources
,
23
(
1
),
108
22
. 10.2307/145847
Veltman, C.J. (
1983
).
Language Shift in the United States
.
New York
:
Mouton
.