There is some ground-breaking work to be done in the field of bilingual education. This work involves the development of instructional strategies that has the heritage language learner in mind. The following are a few terms (used by various researchers) who are starting to do work in naming and developing those strategies:
Instructional Applied Linguistics
Critical Additive/Bicultural Pedagogy
Multilingual Pedagogic & Curriculum Research
Unfortunately, unless researchers from competing fields come together to develop these strategies we will continue to keep language minorities marginalized. In other words, the field of Second Language Acquisition, Bilingual Education, and (Socio)linguistics need to merge and get passed their paradigmatic tensions so that we can begin to create a pedagogy that benefits various models of bilingual education (e.g., dual language, transitional, ESL) where many of heritage language learners are placed to either learn another language or develop their native one.
This semester I am learning about language policy and discourse analysis. I am utterly reading pages and pages of material that are of utmost interest to me. I feel as if I have found my niche…or as I explained recently to a friend how my desire to become an anthropologist when I was a child is finally coming true. I am not becoming an anthropologist, but I am using research methods grounded in anthropology to study/research the way people use language. So below I offer a glimpse of how my thinking about language is evolving as I read pages and pages of salivating information about discourse analysis and language policy. Enjoy!
When speaking, researching, studying language-in-use it is impossible to leave out the political, economic, and social factors that influence language because language is a social construct. Yes, from a Chomskyan point of view all languages are inherently equal when it comes to structure and how they are acquired, BUT what is different is how the perception of each language is constructed as a result of political, economical, even religious factors SO how do we study or speak about language-in-use without considering our subjective views as they are influenced by our social, economical, and political ties. Is it in how we frame our research question and/or in how we analyze the data?
Where is it? Why does it exist? How can the problem be solved? Is there a problem? The answers to all of these questions really just depends on who you are speaking to and, in my opinion, where they stand.
I will just be frank about my perspective. There are economic, political, and social implications when discussing, in both the positive and negative light, how terms, such as Spanglish, are addressed in regard to people. At least as the term(s) continue to evolve from having a negative connotation to a positive one.
The above is a post I started seven months, but never finished. I remember having just watched a debate between academics about the use of Spanglish. I was inspired. I was many things…angry, curious, intrigued, and again, inspired. I continue to be all of those the further I explore how people use language in everyday speech. For those of you, who actually read my blog, I have to admit that I have neglected to spend more time exploring these issues about language in my life, and those of others on my blog. I have been swamped by all of the demands my doctoral program requires of me, along with mommy-hood, and a part-time job.
So, for now, I turn the question to the readers, or those who happen to run into this blog: where is the controversy in Franglais, Singlish, or Spanglish?