What is it about?

Through stories from interviews with young adults in the Rio Grande Valley, we learn about the beliefs that young adults hold about language. For example, one participant describes language as it pertains to a national identity (Spanish is spoken by Mexicans). Another participant explains ideas about correct language with examples of people who have told her not to switch between Spanish and English (code-switch). The final participant describes how he is often criticized for his low proficiency level in Spanish not matching his heritage.

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Why is it important?

An analysis of these stories help us understand the different factors contributing to the way language is understood and used in communities throughout the U.S., especially Spanish in the U.S. It helps teachers of heritage Spanish speakers to understand how to relate to, understand, and teach their students.


This article is the outcome of community-engaged scholarship. Student interviewers, contributors, and interns collected interviews for this project. They are the reason that these stories have come to light. I hear these types of stories every semester in my classes, and I believe sharing these accounts are critical to developing a greater understanding about U.S. Spanish and heritage Spanish speakers.

Katherine Christoffersen
University of Texas Rio Grande Valley

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Linguistic Terrorism in the Borderlands: Language Ideologies in the Narratives of Young Adults in the Rio Grande Valley, International Multilingual Research Journal, June 2019, Taylor & Francis, DOI: 10.1080/19313152.2019.1623637.
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