Council on Anthropology and Education
Volunteered - Oral Presentation Session
Rachel Showstack (Wichita State University)
Spanish-speakers in the U.S. who are raising bi/multilingual children support their children’s bilingual development in distinct ways compared to their monolingual counterparts (Zentella, 2005). Language policy studies have explored the relationship between family language policy (FLP) and Spanish language maintenance in the U.S. (King 2013, 2016), but no previous study has examined how the experiences of Latinx and bilingual communities may shape their FLP when they become parents. Drawing on the biliteracy practices of Latinx families (Nuñez, 2018) and Holland and Lave’s (2001) history-in-person processes, this study examines the perspectives on FLP of 16 parents who had children enrolled in a bilingual education program and resided in Texas. The following questions guided this analysis, What are the participants’ home language practices and policies? How do the participants’ experiences with language learning and the ideologies to which they have been exposed shape the dynamics of language use in their families? A thematic analysis of the audio-recorded interviews explored participants’ language use and implementation of language policy at home. Participants’ choices to embrace or police bilingual practices were related to cultural ties, school language policies, and experiences with discrimination. Parents strategies ranged from insisting that their chid(ren) speak a ‘formal’ variety of Spanish to encouraging the use of ‘Spanglish’. Participants drew on circulating ideologies and enacted policies they hoped would denaturalize dominant perspectives on bilingualism. Parents used their bilingualism to raise critical metalinguistic awareness, instill cultural pride as an investment in becoming bilingual, and used Spanish as a form of resistance.