Date of Award

Spring 2002

Document Type



Sociology & Anthropology

First Advisor

Fr. Jeremiah Lowney

Second Advisor

Murphy Fox

Third Advisor

Marylee Schneider


This study examines non-native English speaking immigrants, a group that has been overlooked by researchers in the past. They are confronted with a large amount of change and stress; and are forced to deal with many universal issues. This study investigated the role the English language has in their adjustment to the United States. The methods and reasoning behind why and how immigrants learn English is also discussed. Fifteen immigrants from Asia, Europe, and South America were interviewed. Surprisingly, the respondents had mixed responses as to what factors were the most influential to adjusting to life in the United States; this specifically applies to English ability. The individual cases of respondents are used as examples to give a depth of understanding into the immigrants’ position and situation. This study provides a beneficial insight to the lives of non-native English speakers and their mind set to coming to the United States and learning the culture and language.