Household Perspectives on Minority Language Maintenance and Loss: Language in the Small Spaces

Author: Isabel Velázquez

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This book provides an in-depth examination of minority language maintenance and loss within a group of first-generation Spanish-speaking families in the early-21st century, post-industrial, hyper-globalized US Midwest, an area that has a recent history of Latino settlement and has a low ethnolinguistic vitality for Spanish. It looks specifically at language 'in the small spaces', that is, everyday interactions within households and families, and gives a detailed account of the gendered nature of linguistic transmission in immigrant households, as well as offering insights into the sociolinguistic aspects of language contact dynamics. Starting with the question of why speakers choose to use and transmit their family language in communities with few opportunities to use it, this book presents the reader with a theoretical model of language maintenance in low vitality settings. It incorporates mothers' voices and perspectives on mothering, their families' well-being, and their role in cultural/linguistic transmission and compares the self-perceptions, motivations, attitudes and language acquisition histories of members of two generations within the same household. It will appeal to researchers and educators interested in bilingualism, language maintenance and family language dynamics as well as to those working in the areas of education, immigration and sociology.

Masterfully written and highly compelling, this book not only foregrounds the voices of Latina mothers in Nebraska's New Latino Diaspora, it helps us understand the important role they play in language maintenance and transmission, as well as the great cost to society when these processes are interrupted.

Theresa Catalano, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, USA

This book is a fascinating portrayal of the struggle, resilience and triumph of Spanish language maintenance from an up-close-and-personal perspective in the US Midwest. Isabel Velázquez has gifted us with an innovative example of a storytelling sociology of language that will be emulated by researchers in years to come and that shines a bright light on the personal and lived consequences of language policy.

Glenn A. Martinez, The Ohio State University, USA

Quite simply, without intergenerational transmission of a language within families, there is no maintenance and thus very little for linguists to study. This carefully nuanced study explores everyday linguistic choices navigated by working class Mexican immigrant mothers in the Midwest. A must-read for families raising kids bilingually and for scholars interested in the vitality of Spanish in the US.

Kim Potowski, University of Illinois at Chicago, USA

Isabel Velázquez is Associate Professor in the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, USA. Her research interests include bilingualism, sociolinguistics and heritage languages, with a particular focus on Spanish in the United States.

Preface: Language Planning in Intimate Household Settings

Chapter 1. Language Maintenance and Loss in Low Vitality Settings

Chapter 2. Latino Language Experience in the US Midwest

Chapter 3. Language in the Small Spaces: Description of This Project

Chapter 4. Household Language Practices and Parental Strategies for Maintenance

Chapter 5. Mother and Children's Attitudes and Motivations to Use Spanish

Chapter 6. Mothers and Children: Reported Proficiency

Chapter 7. Children: Observed Skills in Spanish

Chapter 8. Analysis of Children's Story-Telling Task in Spanish and English

Chapter 9. Towards A Theoretical Model of Language Maintenance in Low Vitality Settings

Chapter 10. Conclusion 




Postgraduate, Research / Professional
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