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ERIC Number: ED567459
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2013
Pages: 223
Abstractor: As Provided
ISBN: 978-1-3038-1280-4
Staying in the Middle: Latinos/as as Negotiators of Their Social, Cultural, and Linguistic Capital
Alvarado, Nora V.
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, The University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee
This study examines the educational and societal experiences that lead students to maintain or lose their heritage language to see how these experiences affect the language choices that young Latino/a adults are making after high school. Examining the experiences that lead language learners to lose or maintain their native language is important because as time passes, language learners may find themselves facing divisions and lack of communication with family members, a lack of positive ethnic identity through language, and they will further discriminatory attitudes towards their own language and culture. More alarmingly, the numbers of students losing their native language is increasing and it is becoming inevitable for minority groups to use the majority language as a part of their acculturation (Lutz, 2006). Therefore, if students do have a native language loss, it suggests that after high school young adults may be losing their culture by choosing to assimilate to the "dominant" language. Studying these issues is necessary to fashion and maintain a space where language learners can have bilingual, bicultural and bi-literate identities. This study includes four participants who have completed high school to shed light on how Latino/a who were once part of urban bilingual programs can reflect on their experiences from the past. The study addresses how participants felt about their current position in society as they look back on their bilingual schooling experiences. The participants were previous urban high school students who graduated high school and were in my bilingual English Language Arts class for more than one academic calendar year from a large urban public school with a bilingual education program. The Latino/a individuals were composed of young adults struggling to preserve their heritage language and culture while still trying to become proficient in English. The participants selected were individuals who had opportunities to visit their country of origin and return to the United States. As a way to theorize the implications of language oppression that Latino/a students confront, Latino critical theory is the theoretical lens implemented in this research. LatCrit is a tool that educators can embrace to address the hegemonic influences of language oppression, thus aid Latino/a English language learners to maintain their language and identity in this country. LatCrit facilitates a discourse where identities can be explored in relation to language and culture from the unique experiences of Latinos/as who are learning a new language and culture. Additionally, it allows one to address the institutional use of language and its manifestation in Eurocentric curricula to be used as a marker of superiority. Studies suggest that this dominance encourages Latinos/as to view themselves as less than or as wanting to mimic White ideals (Michael-Luna, 2008) to conform to Eurocentric standards, thus creating new identities that will become dangerous to their realities. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Tel: 800-521-0600; Web site:
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: High Schools; Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A