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Spanish as a Heritage Language in the United States

Spanish as a Heritage Language in the United States: The State of the Field

Copyright Date: 2012
Pages: 320
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  • Book Info
    Spanish as a Heritage Language in the United States
    Book Description:

    There is growing interest in heritage language learners-individuals who have a personal or familial connection to a nonmajority language. Spanish learners represent the largest segment of this population in the United States. In this comprehensive volume, experts offer an interdisciplinary overview of research on Spanish as a heritage language in the United States. They also address the central role of education within the field. Contributors offer a wealth of resources for teachers while proposing future directions for scholarship.

    eISBN: 978-1-58901-939-3
    Subjects: Linguistics

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. List of Illustrations
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. List of Abbreviations
    (pp. xi-xii)
    (pp. 1-18)
    Sara M. Beaudrie and Marta Fairclough

    The tremendous growth in the field of Spanish as a heritage language (SHL) at the turn of the twenty-first century is evident in the recent explosion of journal articles, books, master’s theses and doctoral dissertations, conferences, and organizations (e.g., Colombi and Alarcón 1997; Webb and Miller 2000; Roca and Colombi 2003). Most of the relevant research, however, has been published in professional journals or volumes of selected conference proceedings. Because of the prominence of Spanish in the United States, it has outpaced other heritage languages in research and has reached a key point where expert synthesis and direction in each...


    • CHAPTER 1 Spanish Heritage Language Maintenance: ITS LEGACY AND ITS FUTURE
      (pp. 21-42)
      Susana V. Rivera-Mills

      There is little doubt that the number of Latinos in the United States is on the rise, and with them the Spanish language. In research released in 2010 by the economist José Luis García Delgado, the Spanish language is second, behind English, in the number of US speakers. Delgado states that, in the United States, Spanish is rapidly becoming “a cultural product very much valued by second and third generations of Hispanics, well educated, and wishing to remain faithful to their roots and the language” (García Delgado 2010, 178). And this phenomenon is not exclusive to the United States; with...

    • CHAPTER 2 Investigating Language Ideologies in Spanish as a Heritage Language
      (pp. 43-60)
      Jennifer Leeman

      In the 1990S the study of language ideologies gained wide currency within linguistic anthropology and sociolinguistics, and this theoretical framework is also proving valuable in the analysis of instruction in Spanish as a heritage language (SHL). Language ideologies consist of values and belief systems regarding language generally, specific languages or language varieties, or particular language practices and ways of using language (Kroskrity 2004; Woolard 1998). Examples of language ideologies include notions about the relative worth of different languages, what constitutes “correct” usage, how particular groups of people “should” speak in given situations, whether minority languages are compatible with citizenship, and...

    • CHAPTER 3 Policy and Planning Research for Spanish as a Heritage Language: FROM LANGUAGE RIGHTS TO LINGUISTIC RESOURCE
      (pp. 61-78)
      Glenn Martínez

      On a simmering summer day in the arid Texas Panhandle town of Amarillo, Marta Laureano walked into the courthouse to what she expected would be a routine child custody hearing. The outcome, however, turned out to be far from ordinary and within a day would make headlines in major newspapers from New York to Los Angeles. In the course of the hearing, state district judge Samuel Kiser learned that Laureano routinely spoke Spanish to her daughter. He ordered Laureano to speak only in English to her five-year-old and threatened to deny her custody of her daughter if she persisted in...

    • CHAPTER 4 Key Concepts for Theorizing Spanish as a Heritage Language
      (pp. 79-98)
      Andrew Lynch

      During the 1970S, in the aftermath of the civil rights movement and the formation of La Raza, a critical mass of studies on Spanish in the United States emerged. The scholars who undertook these studies were different than their early-twentieth-century predecessors, who had developed detailed descriptions of language use and form. Instead, many scholars in the 1970s and early 1980s took up ideological and theoretical issues (e.g., language “loyalty,” as discussed by Sánchez 1972; and “diglossia,” as proposed by Fishman, Cooper, and Ma 1971).¹ With the growing presence of “native speaker” students in university Spanish courses, the phenomena of fluent...


    • CHAPTER 5 The Grammatical Competence of Spanish Heritage Speakers
      (pp. 101-120)
      Silvina Montrul

      Although definitions of heritage language speakers vary from very broad to very narrow (Carreira 2004; Hornberger and Wang 2008), those interested in understanding the nature of heritage speakers’ proficiency and competence in the heritage language tend to adopt Guadalupe Valdé’s (2000, 1) definition: “a student who is raised in a home where a non-English language is spoken, who speaks or merely understands the heritage language, and who is to some degree bilingual in English and the heritage language.” In the context of the United States, Spanish heritage speakers are individuals who emigrated in early childhood with their parents and other...

      (pp. 121-138)
      Derrin Pinto

      When taken separately, linguistic studies on Spanish as a heritage language (SHL) and those involving pragmatics and discourse analysis represent two research trends that have both flourished during the past two or three decades. It is somewhat surprising, then, that when considered together, the body of research in pragmatics/discourse that incorporates SHL is still in the developing stages. One explanation for this may simply be a matter of time, because relatively speaking these are both young areas of enquiry that do not belong to long-standing research traditions. The same could be said for research on SHL, which did not fully...

      (pp. 139-158)
      Ana M. Carvalho

      This chapter reviews the major issues in the study of code-switching (CS), which is defined as the alternate use of two or more languages in the same utterance. Initially, CS was seen as aberrant linguistic behavior (Weinreich 1953), but the current consensus is that bilinguals code-switch simply because they can, and they use it to serve a variety of functions, as is demonstrated in this chapter. CS is a routine linguistic behavior among bilinguals when they interact with community members in numerous bilingual contexts around the world, and it is a well-established bilingual practice among Spanish-speaking immigrants and their offspring...


    • CHAPTER 8 SHL Learners’ Attitudes and Motivations: RECONCILING OPPOSING FORCES
      (pp. 161-178)
      Cynthia M. Ducar

      José was a second-generation mexican american, studying Spanish to avoid being made fun of every time he went “home” to Mexico to see his extended family. He did not want to speak pocho Spanish anymore; he wanted to speak real Spanish.¹ After all, Spanish was an integral part of his identity, and being accepted by his family as a true Mexican motivated him to study Spanish. A story such as this one is all too common in Spanish heritage language (SHL) classrooms, and it barely touches on the complexity of the issues that this chapter aims to address, namely, the...

    • CHAPTER 9 Identity and Heritage Learners: MOVING BEYOND ESSENTIALIZATIONS
      (pp. 179-200)
      Kim Potowski

      Citibank aired a series of television commercials in 2003 to promote awareness of the risks of identity theft. Each commercial features a fictional victim of identity theft engaged in an activity common to their daily lives—a forty-something female Asian dentist attending to a patient, a thirtyish African American man working out at the gym, a pair of white, sixty-something women sitting on a couch having coffee. However, these individuals speak with the voices of the identity thieves, who talk about the luxuries they bought with the victims’ money. The incongruity of the things the perpetrators purchased—the woman dentist...


    • CHAPTER 10 Research on University-Based Spanish Heritage Language Programs in the United States: THE CURRENT STATE OF AFFAIRS
      (pp. 203-222)
      Sara M. Beaudrie

      Heritage language education in the United States currently enjoys the attention of a wide group of researchers, policymakers, administrators, and practitioners. There are the National Heritage Language Resource Center (at the University of California, Los Angeles), which is devoted to heritage language education and research; the Heritage Language Journal; the Alliance for the Advancement of Heritage Languages at the Center for Applied Linguistics; conferences and workshops devoted to heritage language issues; and many journal articles, books, and dissertations. This is a significant change from the 1970s, when Spanish heritage language (SHL) education began as a grassroots effort of concerned educators...

    • CHAPTER 11 Meeting the Needs of Heritage Language Learners: APPROACHES, STRATEGIES, AND RESEARCH
      (pp. 223-240)
      Maria M. Carreira

      This chapter deals with instructional issues surrounding Spanish as a heritage language (SHL). It has three overarching goals: (1) to summarize and evaluate historical developments in SHL teaching, (2) to provide a blueprint of best practices, and (3) to identify areas in need of further development. Within this framework, I focus on learner profiles, classroom strategies that support differentiation, and professional development. Other issues of importance to practitioners are also addressed—notably, socioaffective issues, the grammatical competence of SHL learners, and curriculum and program development. However, because these issues are discussed in depth elsewhere in this book, the present discussion...

    • CHAPTER 12 Advanced Biliteracy Development in Spanish as a Heritage Language
      (pp. 241-258)
      M. Cecilia Colombi and Joseph Harrington

      The field of heritage language has expanded in both scope and depth in recent decades and thus has brought a new understanding of the nature of how heritage languages develop and are acquired, along with their use in various contexts. In educational institutions, specifically, there is heightened attention to how heritage language learners can develop biliteracy in their home language. However, research into the development of Spanish heritage language biliteracy—particularly at advanced levels—is only now becoming a topic of more active research in suggesting why and how these learners become biliterate. This chapter presents an overview of the...

      (pp. 259-278)
      Marta Fairclough

      In education, assessment usually encompasses various procedures, ranging from informal observations and interviews to examinations or tests, that are designed to measure in some way the knowledge, abilities, attitudes, and so on, of an individual student, a group of learners, an institution, or a whole educational system. In contrast, tests “denote a particular type of formal, often carefully designed instruments” (Huhta 2008, 469). More specifically, language testing “is a process of gathering information about test-takers from observed performance under test conditions. This is done in order to draw inferences either about the likely quality of performance by the test-taker under...

    (pp. 279-290)
    Guadalupe Valdés

    As this volume makes patently clear, research and writing focusing on heritage languages and heritage learners have increased enormously in the last two decades. This book provides an expert synthesis and a panoramic view of the various subareas and subfields that are contributing to scholars’ and practitioners’ understanding of the multiple theoretical, contextual, ideological, educational, and individual issues in what is now known as the field of Spanish as a heritage language (SHL). The book’s editors have done an outstanding job in organizing the volume, in selecting knowledgeable researchers to probe and summarize the existing literature, and in asking each...

  11. Contributors
    (pp. 291-294)
  12. Index
    (pp. 295-308)