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Spanish as a Heritage Language in the United States

The State of the Field

Sara M. Beaudrie and Marta Fairclough, Editors; Afterword by Guadalupe Valdés

Publication Year: 2012

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.

Published by: Georgetown University Press

Series: Georgetown Studies in Spanish Linguistics series

Cover, Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. vii-viii

List of Illustrations

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pp. ix-x

List of Abbreviations

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pp. xi-xii

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Introduction: Spanish as a Heritage Language in the United States

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pp. 1-18

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). …

Part I: An Overview of the Field

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1. Spanish Heritage Language Maintenance: Its Legacy and Its Future

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pp. 21-42

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 …

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2. Investigating Language Ideologies in Spanish as a Heritage Language

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pp. 43-60

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, ...

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3. Policy and Planning Research for Spanish as a Heritage Language: From Language Rights to Linguistic Resource

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pp. 61-78

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. …

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4. Key Concepts for Theorizing Spanish as a Heritage Language

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pp. 79-98

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. …

Part II: Linguistic Perspectives

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5. The Grammatical Competence of Spanish Heritage Speakers

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pp. 101-120

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 Valdés’s (2000, 1) definition: …

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6. Pragmatics and Discourse: Doing Things with Words in Spanish as a Heritage Language

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pp. 121-138

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, …

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7 Code-Switching: From Theoretical to Pedagogical Considerations

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pp. 139-158

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, …

Part III: Learners’ Perspectives

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8. SHL Learners’ Attitudes and Motivations: Reconciling Opposing Forces

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pp. 161-178

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, …

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9. Identity and Heritage Learners: Moving beyond Essentializations

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pp. 179-200

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, …

Part IV: Pedagogical Perspectives

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10. Research on University-Based Spanish Heritage Language Programs in the United States: The Current State of Affairs

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pp. 203-222

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; …

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11. Meeting the Needs of Heritage Language Learners: Approaches, Strategies, and Research

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pp. 223-240

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. …

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12. Advanced Biliteracy Development in Spanish as a Heritage Language

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pp. 241-258

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 …

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13. Language Assessment: Key Theoretical Considerations in the Academic Placement of Spanish Heritage Language Learners

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pp. 259-278

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. ...

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Afterword: Future Directions for the Field of Spanish as a Heritage Language

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pp. 279-290

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 ...

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pp. 291-294

Sara M. Beaudrie is an assistant professor in the Spanish and Portuguese Department at the University of Arizona. She also directs the program on Spanish for heritage learners. She has published articles in leading academic journals such as the Heritage Language Journal, Spanish in Context, Hispania, ...


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pp. 295-308

E-ISBN-13: 9781589019393
E-ISBN-10: 1589019393
Print-ISBN-13: 9781589019386
Print-ISBN-10: 1589019385

Page Count: 320
Illustrations: 3 figures, 7 tables
Publication Year: 2012

Series Title: Georgetown Studies in Spanish Linguistics series
Series Editor Byline: John M. Lipski, Series Editor See more Books in this Series

OCLC Number: 822018694
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Spanish as a Heritage Language in the United States

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Subject Headings

  • Spanish language -- Study and teaching -- United States.
  • Spanish language -- Acquisition.
  • Education, Bilingual -- United States.
  • Hispanic Americans -- Languages.
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