(Re)Presentations of U.S. Latinos: A Critical Discourse Analysis of Spanish Heritage Language Textbooks
AuthorDucar, Cynthia Marie
Committee ChairWaugh, Linda
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThough the field of Spanish heritage language (SHL) studies has seen a boom in research, such research has not yet addressed the materials available for SHL classes. This dissertation fills a gap in previous research by addressing the representation of US Latinos and US varieties of Spanish in the SHL context. The current study involves a critical discourse analysis (CDA) of the presentation of both culture and language in intermediate level university SHL textbooks, in order to show how such texts present US Spanish-speaking people’s culture and their language varieties. Previous research on both history and Spanish as a foreign language textbooks show that US Latino populations in such texts are frequently reduced to numbers, faceless statistics or stereotypes (Arizpe & Aguirre, 1987; Cruz, 1994; Elissondo, 2001; Ramírez and Hall, 1990; Rodríguez and Ruiz, 2005; and van Dijk, 2004a; 2004b). Additionally, previous analyses of the presentation of Spanish in Spanish foreign language (SFL) textbooks show SFL texts provide “…varying or misleading intuitions about dialects of Spanish” (Wieczorek 1992, p.34; see also Fonseca-Greber & Waugh, 2003). This dissertation corroborates these findings in the SHL context and presents suggestions for improving the quality of materials used in the SHL context. The results of the current study clearly parallel those found by van Dijk (2004b); though the texts present “factual” information, it is the selective presentation of this information that culminates in an overall negative representation of immigrant and minority cultures, which is rooted in a metonymical understanding of what it means to be immigrant. Additionally, all the texts continue to promote a pseudo-Castilian variety of Spanish, while delegating student varieties of the language to appropriate home contexts. This bidialectal treatment of US varieties of Spanish excludes critical based dialect awareness altogether. This dissertation addresses the need to both improve and develop “…pedagogically sound textbooks and new technology materials designed to meet the Hispanic bilingual student’s linguistic needs” (Roca, 1997, pp.37-43). It is only through critical discourse analysis that we can assure that textbooks are indeed presenting a positive image of US Latinos and their language to students enrolled in university SHL classes.
Degree ProgramSecond Language Acquisition & Teaching