Faculty Publications

Title

Flunking the Spanish test: Television portrayals of personal responsibility and language shift in heritage learners

Document Type

Article

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Critical Inquiry in Language Studies

Abstract

The language practices of Heritage Learners (HLs) of Spanish are frequently regulated and stigmatized in academic and community settings when their Spanish is perceived as deficient. By ignoring institutional structures that accelerate Spanish loss, the “inadequacy” of Latinxs’ Spanish is regularly perceived to be the fault of individuals or families. This study examines language ideologies that emerge in popular television shows for pre-teens (i.e. tweens), revealing that HLs are regularly portrayed as failing Spanish in academic settings and unable to complete everyday communicative tasks in Spanish. When their lack of Spanish is woven into the narrative of a sitcom problem, the resolution of these conflicts leads youth, parents, and grandparents to reflect on their individual responsibility to maintain the language and culture, which reinforces a neoliberal ideology of family responsibility for language maintenance.

Department

Department of Languages and Literatures

Original Publication Date

1-1-2021

DOI of published version

10.1080/15427587.2021.1935956

Repository

UNI ScholarWorks, Rod Library, University of Northern Iowa

Language

en

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