"Nowadays, like, you can be Hispanic and not know Spanish": Language and Identity among Beginning-level Spanish Heritage Language Learners of Southern Arizona
AuthorBrock Gonzalez, Stephanie
MetadataShow full item record
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, presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThe present study contributes to the growing body of knowledge on beginning Spanish heritage language learners (HLL) by expanding on previous scholarship conducted in the same Spanish as a Heritage Language (SHL) program (Beaudrie, 2006; Beaudrie, 2009; Beaudrie & Ducar, 2005) and a similar SHL program in a neighboring state (Wilson, 2012). Unlike previous research, however, this study positions the local context of the SHL program (Arizona) as a central focus. This dissertation asks the following research questions: 1) What are the linguistic and cultural profiles of beginning HLLs in Southern Arizona?, 2) What attitudes towards Spanish and maintenance of Spanish do beginning HLLs in Southern Arizona have?, 3) How do beginning HLLs in Southern Arizona relate to the structure and content of their HL course(s) and how do these attitudes and perceptions relate to their goals and objectives for the course? and 4) How do beginning HLLs in Southern Arizona relate to the term heritage language learner? In what other ways do beginning HLLs in Southern Arizona conceptualize their identities as related to their perceptions of their own linguistic abilities? To answer these questions, I conducted a classroom linguistic ethnography of two sections of an advanced-beginner SHL course in one of the nation’s oldest and most comprehensive SHL programs. Other data collection tools used in this dissertation include questionnaires, surveys, focus groups, interviews, and field notes from participation observation resulting in both quantitative and qualitative data analysis. The results of this study illustrate the benefits of multiple beginning-level HL courses and shed light on the ways that beginning HLLs are transforming notions of “doing being Latinx” in the US. Furthermore, this study highlights the importance of the context of Arizona in the construction of beginning HLL identities and calls attention to the use of Spanish by beginning HLLs to resist hegemonic and racist discourses present in the state.
Degree ProgramGraduate College