Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Education



First Advisor

Gerri August


The purpose of this grounded theory research study was to better understand the experiences of emergent bilingual Cape Verdean Middle School students as they navigate internal and external borderlands. This study was conducted in an urban middle school in New England. Nine female, emergent bilingual Cape Verdean middle school students, participated in this study. This study was also completed with the assistance of the school district’s middle school language acquisition coach. The participants contributed to student surveys, focus group discussions, participant observations and member checking. All data was analyzed using coding and grounded theory, which lead to the development of theoretical constructs.

This study documents some EB(emergent bilingual) students’ experiences and feelings pertaining to language, as well as their cultural, social, and linguistic identities while they navigate different linguistic and social worlds. In addition, this study documents how ideologies of linguistic superiority in different worlds or spaces can affect EB students’ sense of identity and connections to others. The evidence provided in this study is useful to help teachers, administrators, and anyone else involved in education to better understand some realities and challenges many EB students face, as well as how facing these challenges and differences can affect student’s sense of self, linguistic, and cultural identities. This study concludes that it is necessary for schools to work to form and create linguistic democracies.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.



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