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Mi lengua

Mi lengua: Spanish as a Heritage Language in the United States, Research and Practice

Ana Roca
M. Cecilia Colombi
Copyright Date: 2003
Pages: 320
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  • Book Info
    Mi lengua
    Book Description:

    An increasing number of U.S. Latinos are seeking to become more proficient in Spanish. The Spanish they may have been exposed to in childhood may not be sufficient when they find themselves as adults in more demanding environments, academic or professional. Heritage language learners appear in a wide spectrum of proficiency, from those who have a low level of speaking abilities, to those who may have a higher degree of bilingualism, but not fluent. Whatever the individual case may be, these heritage speakers of Spanish have different linguistic and pedagogical needs than those students learning Spanish as a second or foreign language. The members of the American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese (AATSP) have identified teaching heritage learners as their second greatest area of concern (after proficiency testing). Editors Ana Roca and Cecilia Colombi saw a great need for greater availability and dissemination of scholarly research in applied linguistics and pedagogy that address the development and maintenance of Spanish as a heritage language and the teaching of Spanish to U.S. Hispanic bilingual students in grades K-16. The result is Mi lengua: Spanish as a Heritage Language in the United States. Mi lengua delves into the research, theory, and practice of teaching Spanish as a heritage language in the United States. The editors and contributors examine theoretical considerations in the field of Heritage Language Development (HLD) as well as community and classroom-based research studies at the elementary, secondary, and university levels. Some chapters are written in Spanish and each chapter presents a practical section on pedagogical implications that provides practice-related suggestions for the teaching of Spanish as a heritage language to students from elementary grades to secondary and college and university levels.

    eISBN: 978-1-58901-903-4
    Subjects: Linguistics, Language & Literature

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Foreword
    (pp. vii-xii)
    Guadalupe Valdés

    For those of us concerned about the use and teaching of non-English languages in the United States, these are times of many contradictions. We are living in a moment when antibilingual education efforts have spread from California to Arizona to Colorado and more recently to Massachusetts. Teaching the mother tongue to young immigrant children, especially in Spanish, continues to be viewed by many as un-American and divisive. At the same time, the events of September 11 have once again made evident the importance of non-English languages for national security. It is clear that the very safety of Americans within their...

  4. 1 Insights from Research and Practice in Spanish as a Heritage Language
    (pp. 1-22)
    M. Cecilia Colombi and Ana Roca

    Mi lengua: Spanish as a Heritage Language in the United States addresses the issues and challenges of developing and maintaining Spanish as a heritage language in the United States. Our book brings together work that addresses theoretical considerations in the field of Heritage Language Development (HLD), as well as community and classroom-based research studies at the elementary, secondary, and university level. Each chapter includes a practical section titled “Pedagogical Implications for the Teaching of Spanish as a Heritage Language in the U.S.,” which provides practice-related suggestions for the teaching of Spanish as a heritage language to students from elementary grades...


    • 2 Toward a Theory of Heritage Language Acquisition Spanish in the United States
      (pp. 25-50)
      Andrew Lynch

      The sociolinguistic realities of English and Spanish, at the national and world levels, have evolved in fundamental ways since the 1960s. Traditional theoretical models of language variation, bilingualism, and language shift in the U.S. must be reconceptualized within the post-2000 context, and Spanish language educators must respond to the contemporary demands of their profession. In this essay, I give thought to the theoretical principles of Spanish heritage language acquisition (HLA) in the U.S. in the twenty-first century.

      Spanish language study in the U.S. has changed dramatically since the 1960s, both in purpose and in practice. Part of this change has...

    • 3 Profiles of SNS Students in the Twenty-first Century Pedagogical Implications of the Changing Demographics and Social Status of U.S. Hispanics
      (pp. 51-77)
      María M. Carreira

      Marketing surveys, socioeconomic studies of U.S. Hispanics, and census data provide a basis for making a number of projections regarding the composition of future heritage language students of Spanish. Specifically, they suggest that the number of students with intermediate to low levels of fluency in informal varieties of spoken Spanish will likely increase in the coming decades, and that those with higher levels of Spanish language proficiency will decrease. With respect to academic skills, students with basic to low levels of academic skills in Spanish are likely to greatly outnumber those with solid academic skills in this language. The evidence...

    • 4 Un enfoque funcional para la enseñanza del ensayo expositivo
      (pp. 78-95)
      M. Cecilia Colombi

      En el sistema educacional actual, las clases multiculturales son la norma en los Estados Unidos. Gran parte de la diversidad en nuestras escuelas es lingüística y está directamente relacionada con los desafíos que implica desarrollar una alfabetización académica. Desafortunadamente en las escuelas existen pocas posibilidades de desarrollar un lenguaje académico en otras lenguas que no sea inglés. Proposiciones como la 227, que se sancionó en California en 1998 y otras semejantes que han sido aprobadas o están siendo consideradas en estados como Arizona, Colorado y Massachusetts, promovidas por reacciones xenofóbicas y sin bases en los conocimientos que las investigaciones acerca...

    • 5 La enseñanza del español en Nuevo México Ϩ̇Revitalización o erradicación de la variedad chicanaϨ̣
      (pp. 96-120)
      Ysaura Bernal-Enríquez and Eduardo Hernández Chávez

      A principios del siglo XX, el español dejó de ser el medio de instrucción en las escuelas públicas de Nuevo México, siendo reemplazado por el inglés según una estipulación de la Constitución de 1911 (Meyer 1977; Milk 1980; Hernández Chávez 1994a, 1995). Como consecuencia de esta política, el estudio lingüístico formal de los hispanos neomexicanos, así como el de los mexicanos de otras regiones de EE.UU., ha sido casi completamente en el idioma anglosajón. Para los hispanohablantes, el aprendizaje del español formal y normativo se ha relegado en las escuelas públicas y en las universidades casi totalmente a los cursos...


    • 6 “Spanish in My Blood” Children’s Spanish Language Development in Dual-Language Immersion Programs
      (pp. 123-153)
      Ernestine Pesina Hernández, Hinako Takahashi-Breines and Rebecca Blum-Martínez

      In this chapter, we present a view of heritage language learning in dual-language immersion elementary school settings. This is part of a larger qualitative study (Language Learning in Two Dual-language Immersion Programs) in which we are attempting to describe children’s language development in both English and Spanish across three years. For the larger study, we have chosen two cohorts of children from two different dual-language immersion programs—Thoreau and Del Río Elementary Schools.* The cohorts are made up of six and five children, respectively, and reflect the population of each school. For this chapter we focus on four children, two...

    • 7 Minority Perspectives on Language Mexican and Mexican-American Adolescents’ Attitudes toward Spanish and English
      (pp. 154-169)
      Karen Beckstead and Almeida Jacqueline Toribio

      Over the past years, increasing attention has been devoted to educational programs and practices that serve linguistic and cultural minority students. Recent treatments such as those of Ladson-Billings (1994), Haberman (1995), and Olsen (1997) have yielded a consistent profile: successful teachers are those who demonstrate the following:

      a strong belief in students’ ability to learn and high expectations for achievement

      skill in scaffolding between what students know and knowledge to be acquired

      skill in using students’ linguistic strengths to teach a second language

      an orientation to the specific community of which the students are members.

      These research findings are consonant...

    • 8 META: A Model for the Continued Acquisition of Spanish by Spanish/English Bilinguals in the United States
      (pp. 170-197)
      Roberto Luis Carrasco and Florencia Riegelhaupt

      META is a holistic model for the acquisition of languages (Carrasco and Riegelhaupt 1992), and it is at once a research design, a curriculum, and a pedagogy. It is particularly useful for the continued acquisition of Spanish by heritage learners. While META was first developed and tested in language and culture immersion contexts in Mexico (Carrasco and Riegelhaupt 1994; Riegelhaupt and Carrasco 2000), it was also refined and tested in American university Spanish language classrooms in which heritage speakers were participants. This article describes the approach in the context of its appropriateness and usefulness to heritage language and culture acquisition....

    • 9 La enseñanza del español a los hispanohablantes bilingües y su efecto en la producción oral
      (pp. 198-212)
      Marta Fairclough and N. Ariana Mrak

      Durante las últimas décadas, numerosos estudios sociolingüísticos se han enfocado en la situación de contacto entre el español y el inglés en los Estados Unidos. En muchos casas, los resultados de las investigaciones se obtuvieron a partir del amálisis de la covariación de varios factores sociales y lingüísticos. Sin embargo, teniendo en cuenta el considerable aumento en el número de cursos de español para hispanohablantes, y el hecho de que para muchos la enseñanza constituye la solución a la pérdida de la lengua española que se observa en los estudios de tipo generacional, uno de dichos factores no ha recibido...

    • 10 Academic Registers in Spanish in the U.S. A Study of Oral Texts Produced by Bilingual Speakers in a University Graduate Program
      (pp. 213-234)
      Mariana Achugar

      The relationship between the social contexts where language is used and the language produced in these contexts can help us understand how discursive communities are constructed. Gee (1996) and Street (1999) argue that in order to become a member of the academic discourse community, individuals need to learn something more than the language appropriate for academic situations. They have to become practicing members of the community, in order to adopt the rest of the social practices that together with the language make that community’s identity. On the other hand, other researchers such as Martin (1993) and Schleppegrell (2001) propose that...

    • 11 ¡No me suena! Heritage Spanish Speakers’ Writing Strategies
      (pp. 235-256)
      Ana María Schwartz

      “iAy! Pero es que no me suena.” Chances are that every teacher who has worked with heritage Spanish students has heard this refrain as students attempt to transfer to paper the thoughts they hold in their head only to find that it just doesn’t sound “right.” We know that although heritage language learners present a wide range of knowledge of and competencies in their heritage language they generally exhibit a higher degree of oral proficiency than competency in literacy skills (Valdés 1995; Campbell and Rosenthal 2000). Thus it is the process of “composing,” of finding the right words and arranging...

    • 12 Navegando a través del registro formal Curso para hispanohablantes bilingües
      (pp. 257-268)
      Rebeca Acevedo

      En este ensayo quiero compartir con el lector los resultados obtenidos en un curso piloto de español para hispanohablantes bilingües. Este curso fue diseñado para estudiantes subgraduados a un nivel intermedio avanzado, cuarto semestre de español y último prerrequisito de lengua para ser aceptado en la especialidad. Los estudiantes fueron ubicados por medio del examen estandarizado de la Universidad de Wisconsin (800 + puntos), a falta de un examen especialmente diseñado para bilingües, más una entrevista personal. Estos estudiantes crecieron en un hogar hispanoparlante y pertenecen a la 1a. y 2a. generaciones de hispanohablantes bilingües en los Estados Unidos. Todos...

    • 13 Spanish Print Environments Implications for Heritage Language Development
      (pp. 269-290)
      Sandra Liliana Pucci

      This essay examines the Spanish print environments in predominantly Latino neighborhoods in two different cities: one located in Southern California and one in the Midwest. The purpose of the study is to “print map” the general print environments in the respective communities, investigating the range of reading materials available in Spanish. More specifically, it examines the availability of reading materials for adolescents and young adults in heritage language Spanish for Native Speakers classes and high school developmental bilingual settings. Although some attention has been given to access and availability of print in neighborhoods of differing socioeconomic status (Neuman and Celano...

  7. Contributors
    (pp. 291-294)
  8. Index
    (pp. 295-307)
  9. Back Matter
    (pp. 308-308)