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A bilingual, bicultural interpreter and researcher navigates blurry boundaries and intersectionality

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A researcher reflects using a close reading of interview transcripts and description to share what happened while participating in multiple roles in a larger ethnographic study of the acculturation process of deaf students in kindergarten classrooms in three countries. The

A researcher reflects using a close reading of interview transcripts and description to share what happened while participating in multiple roles in a larger ethnographic study of the acculturation process of deaf students in kindergarten classrooms in three countries. The course of this paper will focus on three instances that took place in Japan and America. The analysis of these examples will bring to light the concept of taking on multiple roles, including graduate research assistant, interpreter, cultural mediator, and sociolinguistic consultant within a research project serving to uncover challenging personal and professional dilemmas and crossing boundaries; the dual roles, interpreter and researcher being the primary focus. This analysis results in a brief look at a thought provoking, yet evolving task of the researcher/interpreter. Maintaining multiple roles in the study the researcher is able to potentially identify and contribute "hidden" knowledge that may have been overlooked by other members of the research team. Balancing these different roles become key implications when interpreting practice, ethical boundaries, and participant research at times the lines of separation are blurred.

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2011

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Exploring language ideologies in action: An analysis of Spanish Heritage Language oral corrective feedback in the mixed classroom setting

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This qualitative study follows an instructor and four Spanish Heritage Language (SHL) learners in an elementary-level, mixed Spanish course at a community college over the course of 11 class visits. In studying how language ideologies shape oral corrective feedback (oral

This qualitative study follows an instructor and four Spanish Heritage Language (SHL) learners in an elementary-level, mixed Spanish course at a community college over the course of 11 class visits. In studying how language ideologies shape oral corrective feedback (oral CF) practices, data were collected through ethnographic observations (field notes, researcher memos), classroom audio recordings, and semi-structured interviews (student, teacher). Specifically, this study analyzes (1) language ideologies prevalent in the classroom context in relation to the conceptualization of errors, (2) the instructor’s goals for oral CF, (3) how the instructor provides oral CF and in what contexts, and (4) how the mixed class environment relates to oral CF.

To do so, the data were analyzed via a bifocal approach in coding interview and classroom discourse (Razfar, 2003) and engaging in Critical Discourse Analysis (van Dijk, 2016) informed by frameworks in Linguistic Anthropology (Irvine, 1989; Kroskrity, 2004, 2010; Leeman, 2012) and Second Language Acquisition (Ellis, 2009; Li, 2017; Lyster & Ranta, 1997). The findings demonstrate how oral CF becomes ideologically charged in a classroom context primarily designed to impart foreign language instruction. Under the guise that SHL learners’ varieties represent negative characteristics (e.g., low socioeconomic strata, Mexicaness, immigration), oral CF is used to eradicate their Spanish varieties. Findings also illustrate the (in)congruency of the instructor and learners’ perceptions of oral CF and what takes place in the classroom. In some cases, SHL learners demonstrated language pride and resisted the imposition of a foreign variety but reported hegemonic beliefs about their own varieties.

Exemplifying how the instructor and SHL learners contribute to the complex dynamics of ideologization of oral CF, this study advocates for the adoption of Critical Language Awareness frameworks (Martínez, 2003; Leeman, 2005) in mixed language classrooms that encompasses this practice (e.g., focus-on-form instruction). Additionally, in acknowledging that teachers and educational institutions play a key role in the (re)production of dominant language norms, this study calls for the creation of instructional guidelines for oral CF as a pedagogical practice. Such guidelines must include critical discussions with students about the relationship between “correct,” “correcting,” and “being corrected” and asymmetrical power relationships.

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2019

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Learning with an Attitude?!: Heritage and L2 Students’ Language Attitudes Toward Spanish Language Varieties in the Advanced Mixed Class

Description

The present study aims to gain deeper insights into language attitudes in the educational context while contributing to the emerging field of advanced mixed, second language and heritage language (HL) courses. Considering that the majority of heritage language learners (HLLs)

The present study aims to gain deeper insights into language attitudes in the educational context while contributing to the emerging field of advanced mixed, second language and heritage language (HL) courses. Considering that the majority of heritage language learners (HLLs) and second language learners (L2s) in the United States (US) are enrolled in mixed classrooms (Beaudrie, 2012; Carreira, 2016a, 2016b), the study of language attitudes regarding monolingual varieties, bilingual varieties, and L2 varieties is crucial to inform pedagogical best practices that serve both types of learners. Additionally, by analyzing the language attitudes of both types of students toward these three Spanish language varieties, this study demonstrates the importance of incorporating linguistic variation into the classroom to address the linguistic hierarchies that exist in such a context. Thus, the results are relevant to the fields of sociolinguistics, L2 and HL pedagogy.

The study employs matched-guise tasks at two points during the semester, as well as end-term semi-structured interviews. As different linguistic components of a language trigger different attitudes, the findings show that native-like phonetic and phonological features of Spanish speakers afford positive attitudes, as do a formal lexicon and academic register. However, morphosyntactic features do not have any effect on forming an individual’s language attitudes.

To illustrate, the results of the matched-guise tasks show that native and HL varieties were generally evaluated positively, while L2 varieties were evaluated negatively. Interviews revealed native-like accent and pronunciation as the detrimental cause of negative attitudes toward the L2 variety. In contrast to the phonetic/phonological evaluations made by participants, both HLLs and L2s did agree that L2s speak a “proper” and “professional” Spanish. Furthermore, heritage Spanish was described as the “least formal” and “incorrect” Spanish variety in comparison to the L2 variety due to dominant stereotypes and ideologies and the incorporation of lexical characteristics of US Spanish.

Based on these findings, this study has the potential to make an invaluable contribution to understanding how language attitudes and instructional practices in the classroom context intersect with a social justice movement to improve mixed courses in a social, critical, and conscious way.

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2020