The present preliminary study empirically investigated Spanish heritage language (HL) speakers in Spanish for native speakers (SNS) college courses. It focused on their attitudes and motivation to improve their HL and on their varying linguistic competences in that language. A well-established second language acquisition (SLA) motivational model was used as a theoretical framework so that these affective variables could be assessed and discussed in this context. In addition, differences in Spanish competence within the sample were explored in relation to certain socioeducational factors. Three research questions centered on participants' motivational and attitudinal variables whereas the fourth research question investigated differences in Spanish language performance. Results of correlation, regression, and independent t test analyses showed: first, a significant linear relationship between integrativeness, which is defined as a general positive attitude toward the people who speak the language, and motivation to improve Spanish; second, integrativeness was shown to be a significant predictor of motivation; finally, a significant difference in performance on the Spanish test was found for use of Spanish at home and place of schooling. Results from this study and their important theoretical and pedagogical implications for the field of Spanish as a heritage language in the United States are discussed. Furthermore, a future research agenda is provided.


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pp. 650-670
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