Date of Award


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Departmental Honors




Language brokering can be defined as a child mediating linguistically for a parent or other adult figure, either in spoken or written communication. This situation is a common occurrence among migrant and refugee families as children tend to acquire a new language at an accelerated rate in comparison with adults. As the immigrant and refugee populations continue to grow in comparison with native groups within the United States, it is increasingly important to understand the phenomenon of child language brokering. Moreover, it is particularly relevant to understand how the expectations for and consequences of language brokering may help to shape children across development. In this literature review, 17 articles were evaluated for themes related to child development and language brokering consequences. The extant literature suggests that both positive and negative outcomes exist for language brokers, and that these outcomes are potentially determined in part by context, level of acculturation, ethnic society immersion, family dynamics, and age of the child. Relevant developmental factors are also considered and expressed in relation to the language brokering phenomenon. One key finding that emerged from the current literature review is that very little is known about the prevalence and consequences of language brokering for children younger than 12 years of age. I discuss this notable gap and suggest ways that research can address this process among children. Understanding the negative and positive outcomes associated with language brokering can help to promote positive child adjustment in a new cultural landscape.



Faculty Mentor

Rick A. Cruz

Departmental Honors Advisor

Scott Bates