Monthly Archives: March 2008

Language: Culture, Expression, & Identity

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I was inspired (to post a new blog) and reminded today, through a conversation with another language enthusiast, about how the language(s) an individual speaks influences the manner in which an individual expresses thougths, feelings, and opinions. Also, how culture influences, not only forms of expression, but our sense of idenity.

There’s more to come on this topic……

Admission to UT at Austin

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Congratulations! You’ve been accepted for Graduate Study at the
University of Texas at Austin, Dept. of Curriculum and Instruction.
You will soon receive formal notification by mail.

When you receive your welcome packet, you will find an acceptance
form by which you may accept, decline or defer our offer of
admission. I can also take your decision via reply to this email.
Thank you in advance for informing us of your intentions so we can
adequately plan for the coming year.

Again, congratulations, and we look forward to hearing from you very soon.

It’s official!! I have been accpeted. I look forward to making my research interests public in order to further develop the conversation about bilingual and bicultural education. I encourage you to share your ideas and thought with me.

Saludos!

~Suzanne G. Mateus

Spanglish

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Spanglish is exactly what the word implies; the blending of an English word with a Spanish word (e.g. lockiar, crackio, lonche, magazines, washeteria.) This “pidgen” language is not unique to Mexicans (Mexican-Americans) in Texas. It’s a “dialect”, if you will, that evolves in many countries (e.g Spain & U.S.A)

Often times people confuse Spanglish to what linguist call “code-switching”. Code-switching es cuando alguien uses English y Spanish in una oracion. Many of my students have done this as they try to express a thought. I encourage them to start and finish a sentence in one language. I provide them with strategies such as asking, “How do you say ______ in English?, in the middle of a sentence in order to get used to speaking in one language, along with developing their vocabulary.

Another one of my research interests revolves around individual’s identity with the language(s) that they speak. As educators we must be sensitive to how students identify with the language they are learning/acquiring and the language that they speak.
For instance, my experiences as a bilingual educator in schools where there are a majority of minority students have exposed me to various dialects and accents. I have observed that many times children are unaware that they are in fact speaking a dialect, like African-American Vernacular English or with an accent whether they are Anglo, Latino, or African-American. I have had to phrase questions in the classroom in order to help all children realize that they are all learning Standard American English.