WELCOME TO OUR EXHIBIT ON HERITAGE LANGUAGES IN THE UNITED STATES!
Hello! We are a group of freshmen at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, and have created this website for our English 101 course: Living Multilingualism in the Spring of 2015. This website is dedicated to promote awareness for multilingualism in the United States. As a group, we believe that our individual cultures and specific heritage have helped shape our unique identities. We hope that you are as excited as we are about learning about the effects that cultural heritages and native languages have on multilingual students in the United States! Our group wants to thank you, the reader, for your time and patience while you read and look over what we have to say this topic.
Our aim is to get you to think about what and how the U.S. views its diversity, in which the answer is little to no point of view. What we want for you to get from our analyses is for you to understand our personal experiences, opinions, the opinions of our interviewees and authors we chose, and for you to formulate your own ideas and opinions. We want YOU to think about what is REALLY going on in the country that is still known today as "The Land where Dreams Come True" and to hope that you enjoy what we have to offer in our exhibition.
Guide to Our Exhibit:
- To watch interviews of two of our project members and learn about their experiences with multilingualism, click here.
- To learn more about how heritage languages relates to one's culture, click here.
- To understand why language revitalization in classrooms is important, click here.
- To read about why heritage languages should have a role in education, click here.
- To find out more about the authors of this exhibit, click here.
- To learn more about some of the texts that we use in our analyses, click here.
- To contact the authors of this exhibit with any questions, comments, or thoughts, click here.
Abstract of Our Works:
In my essay, I use my own experiences in regards to learning my heritage languages in order to argue that there need to be a better way to teach heritage languages if immigrants want to preserve their culture for the generations to come. I use Daniel Villa’s ideas of learning the heritage languages from “No Nos Dejaremos: Writing in Spanish as an Act of Resistance”, to address a gap in Suhanthie Motha's ideas about how best to address some of the issues that come from these bilingual students, as seen as Race, Empire, and English Language Teaching: Creating Responsible and Ethical Anti-racist Practice. As a result of teaching students their heritage languages, they will be proud of their heritage and identify with both their newly acquired American identities as well as their ancestral roots.I also talk about how if children were taught their language at school, they would have the ability to relate to words that do not have a translation or ones that lose their meaning when translated, strengthening their connection to certain aspects of the culture and heritage of their parents. Furthermore, by using the Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis, I contend that learning the language in an informal way is just not enough; one must learn it in a proper way that allows one to enjoy the richness and fullness of the language, and the culture behind it. In addition, by giving children an opportunity to learn both English and their heritage languages in school, parents would feel less of a need to fully immerse students in their heritage language and thus be able to enjoy both their traditional and American cultures. I end by talking about how having bilingual education in school can even help students that are traditionally American and do not have another language other than English as well as possibly reduce racism and bullying.
In my argument, I wrote about the difficulty that multilingual students come across while trying to succeed in the English-dominated American school system. In an interview conducted involving Selwyn Hernandez, Daniel Villa’s No Nos Dejaremos: Writing in Spanish as an Act of Resistance, and Race, Empire, and English Language Teaching by Suhanthie Motha, audiences are provided with circumstances in which multilingual students are unable to use their culture or heritage languages, and important characteristics and traits that come along with being multilingual, to exemplify their work. Throughout my analysis, I argued that culture is a vital part of many heritage languages. Often times in the modern school system, students feel the need to forget their heritage to play a game of “catch up” with the American culture. However, by learning American culture while also embracing indigenous languages, multilingual students can thrive more than ever. This is rare due to the current set up of the American school system. I looked at Motha’s primary text and Villa’s secondary text alongside Selwyn’s interview to formulate my argument and provide evidence throughout their writing. I began by talking about the negative consequences and contradictory behavior that the English language has. Although it is enticing in terms of opportunities, preservation of heritage languages and culture is equally as important in terms of creating a sense of identity for students. I then explored how preserving this culture can lead to less racial violence and prejudice and create more peace. Especially within the classroom, students will begin to respect one another and assimilate more than ever, rather than hiding behind indifference and shame. This could help both school and family life and slow the trend of the “lost generation” gap, as stated by Villa. I concluded my argument by showing my audience that being able to respectfully and responsibly teach English alongside native languages will help students be more resourceful in the future, while also creating peace and tranquility among individuals.
In my argument, I want to explore how people in the United States view the existence of other cultures and heritages that share this country. The American education system puts a huge emphasis on the importance of learning English to the point that it is near cult-like. Because of this, languages and cultures do not have a significant, if any, place in the education system. By incorporating the essay "Should Writers Use They Own English" by Vershawn Young and Daniel Villa’s "No Nos Dejaremos: Writing in Spanish as an Act of Resistance", I argue that the system should stop ignoring the existence and importance of heritage languages and embrace these different cultures. This change would also encourage students to explore different cultures and writers to get mobility in their writing. I also use a blog post written by Rajit Bhandari to explore broad advantages of multilingualism and an interview about me to give a view of an individual's experience of Spanish in an English-heavy world. I also included a small paragraph that offers an explanation of the "lost generation" within the US and how it is growing every year. I then explore countering points that none of my sources do not really describe within their arguments. I decide to describe the patriotism in the US and the importance of English on the global scale.