The Bilingualism Study Group of the University of Miami was formed in Fall 1988 to engage in
the scientific study of bilingualism as well as to promote general awareness
of bilingual issues
in our community. Miami is an ideal location to carry out such activities.
Unlike Hispanic bilingual populations in other parts of the United States, the whole range of
socioeconomic levels is found among the Miami Latin community, which is particularly strong
financially and politically. The Cuban-Americans, who make up over 60% of Miami Hispanics,
control large sectors of the banking industry, media, and government. In particular, the upper
strata of Hispanic society in Miami compare favorably in income and educational opportunity with
mainstream Americans (Boswell & Curtis, 1983; Perez 1986; NCLR, 1990). Bilingual background can
therefore be studied in a population where second-language use is not associated with many of
the common disadvantages of minority status.
From 1990, they have participated in an ongoing investigation of Vocal Development in Typically- developing and Handicapped Infants taking place at the Mailman Center for Child Development, with funding from the NIH. New NIH funding supports the study of the effects of two-way bilingual education from kindergarten through 5th grade in a variety of linguistic and academic areas.