11. Reactions to the overt display of Spanish language maintenance in Australia

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Multiculturalism has been officially celebrated and endorsed in Australia since the 1970s; however, institutional practices are in sharp contrast to this rhetoric. Notably, the educational setting still favors monolingualism in English as the identity associated with success. The chapter will explore the subtle and not so subtle challenges to the overt display of a multicultural, multilingual identity in Australia. The focus will be on the experiences and perceptions of the second generation of Spanish speakers in Australia as reported by themselves and their parents. The chapter will also explore the social context in which Spanish-speaking children and adolescents are classified and valued by members of the host society and the Spanish-speaking community. For example, the effect of teacher’s perceptions of the adequacy of the children’s level of English, advice to parents to only speak English with children, and other practices that delegitimize the value of being a bilingual will be addressed. Their influence on the maintenance and use of Spanish in Australia by the second generation of Spanish speakers will also be evaluated and correlated with a chronology of the official rhetoric toward minorities.


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