Linguistic Distance: A Quantitative Measure of the Distance Between English and Other Languages
AbstractThis paper develops a scalar or quantitative measure of the “distance” between English and a myriad of other (non-native American) languages. This measure is based on the difficulty Americans have learning other languages. The linguistic distance measure is then used in an analysis of the determinants of English language proficiency among adult immigrants in the United States and Canada. It is shown that, when other determinants of English language proficiency are the same, the greater the measure of linguistic distance, the poorer is the respondent’s English language proficiency. This measure can be used in research, evaluation and practitioner analyses, and for diagnostic purposes regarding linguistic minorities in English-speaking countries. The methodology can also be applied to develop linguistic distance measures for other languages.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 1246.
Length: 20 pages
Date of creation: Aug 2004
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development, 2005, 26 (1), 1-11
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Find related papers by JEL classification:
- I29 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Other
- J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination
- J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2004-08-16 (All new papers)
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
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Discussion Papers in Public Sector Economics
99/4, Department of Economics, University of Leicester.
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