• The Ideology of U.S. Spanish in Foreign and Heritage Language Curricula: Insights from Textbooks and Instructor Focus Groups

      Waugh, Linda R.; Al Masaeed, Katharine Burns; Waugh, Linda R.; Fielder, Grace E.; Gilmore, Perry; Hernández, Todd A. (The University of Arizona., 2014)
      According to data from the U.S. Census Bureau (2012), the United States is the world's fifth most populous Spanish-speaking country, with over 35 million Spanish-speakers. In addition, Spanish is the most widely taught foreign language in the United States, with more students enrolled in Spanish at the higher-education level than in all other modern languages combined, as detailed in a 2010 report from the Modern Language Association (MLA). How are these two realities connected? Is the United States' status as a top Spanish-speaking country reflected in Spanish as a Foreign Language (SFL) and Spanish as a Heritage Language (SHL) curricula at the university level? This case study of a large, Southwestern university, which is home to SFL and SHL programs among the largest in the country, explores that question using a two-tiered approach. First, Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) is employed to examine the ideological underpinnings of how spoken varieties of Spanish, with particular emphasis on U.S. Spanish, are presented in first-year and second-year university-level SFL and SHL textbooks used at the university. Second, focus groups of SFL and SHL instructors are conducted to gain insight into their beliefs and practices regarding language variety in the classroom. The study finds a systematic reinforcement of the ideology of a monolithic 'standard' Spanish in the SFL and SHL textbooks and curricula, with only cursory attention paid to regional varieties of Spanish and an oftentimes explicit de-legitimization of U.S. Spanish in particular.