Volume 9, Issue 1
  • ISSN 1571-0718
  • E-ISSN: 1571-0726
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This study examined classroom discourse in two Spanish language courses for Spanish-English bilingual students at a large university in central Texas, in order to investigate the ways that participants used language to construct their linguistic and cultural identities. The study found that students’ identities as bilinguals are linked to socially constructed discourses on the value of different language varieties and cultural experiences that draw from an oversimplification of the reality of the sociolinguistic world. Participants constructed essentialized categories of different kinds of U.S. Hispanics, often assuming an essential connection between language and identity. Students constructed their identities by positioning themselves and others within these categories and by constructing their language skills and cultural backgrounds as either a value or a deficit. Results suggest the need to further develop methodologies for raising heritage language learners’ consciousness about the heteroglossic nature of the social world.


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