Oct. 2, 2018

Latinos in the United States who grow up in a home where both Spanish and English are spoken often speak a type of Spanish called U.S. Spanish — or Spanglish. In academia, they are known as heritage Spanish speakers.

During Hispanic Heritage Month (Sept. 15 through Oct. 15), St. Edward’s University in Austin and St. Mary’s University in San Antonio would like to showcase a few faculty members who are working to highlight the importance of U.S. Spanish as a valid, useful form of Spanish. This often overlooked form of Spanish gives its speakers a strong cultural and language foundation that should be cultivated, academics say.

A growing trend among universities is studying both the linguistics of U.S. Spanish, as well as offering heritage Spanish courses to help heritage speakers improve their language skills.

At St. Edward’s University

 Associate Professor of Spanish Emily Bernate is elevating U.S. Spanish through studying politeness techniques of U.S. Spanish speakers.

At St. Mary’s University

Associate Professor of Spanish Meghann Peace, Ph.D., and a colleague at the University of Calgary examined the types of attitudes present among heritage speakers of Spanish, as reflected through the linguistic research that they carried out in the community.