Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Research: Spanglish and Academic Language

Question: How can we use the resources of “hybrid” language to master academic American English.

Answer: Spanglish, of course, is the “hybrid” use of Spanish and English interchangeably. The author suggests that this code-switching actually offers advantages for the use of academic English. Spanglish is not a deficit, but a positive resource for achieving the mastery of American English. The challenge is to find out how to make use of this resource.

Comment: It seems that ever since Mina Shaughnessy turned perceived deficits or mistakes in writing into a positive point of view in improving writing, professional educators have been trying to turn attitudes toward nonstandard English away from the deficit point of view to recognizing the strengths of the perceived deficit in achieving skill in academic English. I applaud the challenge. Therein lies opportunity. RayS.

Title: “Spanglish as Literacy Tool: Toward an Understanding of the Potential Role of Spanish-English Code-Switching in the Development of Academic Literacy.” Ramón Antonio Martinez. Research in the Teaching of English (November 2010), 124-149.

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