Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Education (Ph.D)


Education Specialties

First Advisor

Joseph Rumenapp

Second Advisor

Dr. Mellisa Gyimah-Concepcion

Third Advisor

Dr. Dr. Audrey Figueroa Murphy


This study examined first-generation Mandingo parents’ lived experiences in maintaining their native language with children 3–7 years old. A review of previous studies showed parents of dual language learner students had a positive attitude toward maintaining their native languages (M. Lee et al., 2015) and supporting bilingual programs in elementary school (Morgan, 2015). A phenomenological analysis method was used to gain an understanding of the participants’ lived experiences concerning language use with children ages 3–7 years inside and outside the home. The participants were selected using three criteria: they had to be first-generation Mandingo-speaking immigrants, they had to be willing to participate, and they had to use Mandingo with their children at home. Results showed the Mandingo-speaking parents positively perceived language use and experiences with their children inside and outside the home. At the center of language learning within the Mandingo community was the broad worldview of the African philosophy of personhood (Fairfax, 2017). This philosophy is a moral code demonstrated through a person’s character and actions. Based on the study’s findings, I propose a study to compare the experiences of first-generation parents with those of second- or third-generation Mandingo-speaking immigrants. Such a study would establish more insight into the universal and unique factors surrounding learning and maintaining a native language within the immigrant community.