Mi lengua

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

Ana Roca and M. Cecilia Colombi, Editors

"Mi lengua is a valuable collection that can serve not only professors and future researchers in the field of teaching Spanish to bilingual speakers, but also students in the area of political reform (reforms surrounding inherited language), interested in making new proposals or in disseminating new pedagogies."
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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.

Table of Contents

Guadalupe Valdés

1. Insights form Research and Practice in Spanish as a Heritage Language
M. Cecilia Colombi and Ana Roca

Part I Spanish as a Heritage Language
Theoretical Considerations

2. Toward a Theory of Heritage Language Acquisition
Spanish in the United States
Andrew Lynch

3. Profiles of SNS Students in the Twenty-First Century
Pedagogical Implications of the Changing Demographics and Social Status of U.S. Hispanics
María M. Carreira

4. Un enfoque funcional para la enseñanza del ensayo expositivo
¿Revitalización o erradicación de la variedad chicana?
Ysaura Bernal-Enríquez and Eduardo Hernández Chávez

Part II Community and Classroom-Based Research Studies
Implications for Instruction K-16

6. “Spanish in My Blood”
Children’s Spanish Language Development in Dual-Language Immersion Programs
Ernestina Pesina Hernández, Hinako Takahashi-Breines, and Rebecca Blum-Martínez

7. Minority Perspectives on Language
Mexican and Mexican-American Adolescents’ Attitudes toward Spanish and English
Karen Beckstead and Almeida Jacqueline Toribio

8. META: A Model for the Continued Acquisition of Spanish by Spanish/English Bilinguals in the United States
Roberto Luis Carrasco and Florencia Riegelhaupt

9. La enseñanza del español a los hispanohablantes bilingües y su efecto en la producción oral
Marta Fairclough and N. Ariana Mrak

10. Academic Registers in Spanish in the U.S.
A Study of Oral Texts Produced by Bilingual Speakers in a University Graduate Program
Mariana Achugar

11. ¡No me suena!
Heritage Spanish Speakers’ Writing Strategies
Ana María Schwartz

12. Navegando a través del registro formal
Curso para hispanohablantes bilingües
Rebeca Acevedo

13. Spanish Print Environments
Implications for Heritage Language Development
Sandra Liliana Pucci




"This book is a unique contribution in that it incorporates theory, research, and practice and moves us forward to the next stage in the development of this specialized field of inquiry and teaching. Roca and Colombi have brought together an exceptional [volume] that focus[es] on the most important issues involving the teaching of Spanish as a heritage language today."—From the Preface by Guadalupe Valdés

"Mi lengua is a valuable collection that can serve not only professors and future researchers in the field of teaching Spanish to bilingual speakers, but also students in the area of political reform (reforms surrounding inherited language), interested in making new proposals or in disseminating new pedagogies."—Estudios de lingüística aplicada

"Provides credible research and sound pedagogical strategies for addressing the education of the ever-increasing numbers of Spanish heritage language speakers in the United States. Its publication is timely and it should be required reading for all people who currently teach Spanish or plan to teach it in the future."—Language Problems and Language Planning


Supplemental Materials


About the Author

Ana Roca is a professor in the Modern Languages department at Florida International University, Miami. She is chair of the Spanish for Native Speakers Committee of the AATSP. Her main areas of teaching and research interest are Spanish, Spanish in the United States, bilingualism and heritage language education issues in Spanish, language teaching, language education policy issues, and Hispanic culture and film. Roca is the author or coeditor of many books, including Research on Spanish in the United States; Nuevos Mundos (text & workbook); Spanish in Contact: Issues in Bilingualism (co-edited with John B. Jensen); and Spanish in the United States: Linguistic Contact and Diversity (co-edited with John M. Lipski).

M. Cecilia Colombi is a professor in the Department of Language and Classics and Associate Language Director at the University of California-Davis. Her research interests include second language acquisition, educational linguistics, and sociolinguistics with emphasis on Spanish in the United States. She is the coauthor of Palabra Abierta (with Jill Pellettieri and Mabel Rodríguez), and the coeditor of both Developing Advanced Literacy in First and Second Language (with Mary Schleppegrell) and La Enseñanza del Español a Hispanohablantes: Praxis y Teoría (with Francisco X. Alarcón).

320 pp., 6 x 9

Apr 2003

320 pp., 6 x 9

ISBN: 978-0-87840-903-7
Apr 2003

320 pp.

ISBN: 978-1-58901-903-4
Apr 2003

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