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36. Spanish as a Heritage Language


Subject Linguistics » Applied Linguistics
Sociolinguistics » Bilingualism

Key-Topics contact, education

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405198820.2012.00038.x


This chapter presents an overview of the field of the teaching of Spanish to bilingual Latinos in the United States. Building on previous overviews ( Roca 1992, 1997 ; Kreeft Peyton et al., 2001 ; Potowski 2007 ; Kreeft Peyton 2008 ), it describes critical landmarks in the development of the field, summarizes ongoing research and advancements in teaching, and identifies outstanding issues. Since its inception, this field has gone by a variety of names (e.g., Spanish for native speakers, Spanish for bilinguals, Spanish as a heritage language, etc.). The students at the center of this field have also gone by different names (native speakers, quasi-native speakers, home-background speakers, Hispanic bilinguals, and most recently, heritage language learners). Following current practices, I will use the term “Spanish as a heritage language” (SHL) to refer to the field and “Spanish heritage language learners” (SHL learners) to refer to the students. It should be noted that though widely adopted, the use of this terminology is not without its critics. For example, Corson (1999) , Wiley (2001, 2005) , and García (2005) have argued that “heritage language” may not be the most effective term, because it evokes images of the past and tradition rather than of contemporary reality. SHL first gained official recognition from the profession in 1972, when the American Association of Teachers ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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