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Open Access Publications from the University of California


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Voices consists of articles written on topics related to all aspects of the Spanish of the United States including linguistic contact, multilingualism, language and education, language politics and language maintenance, just to name a few. Intended as a way to publicize and disseminate the growing store of knowledge about the Spanish spoken in the US and related issues, this graduate student publication aims to bring more visibility to issues related to the Spanish of the United States and help to demonstrate that that Spanish spoken in this country is a legitimate linguistic variety and deserves further study.

Why Spanish Matters

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The Latino Population: Its Latest Expansion in the US

In this paper I will address the distribution of the Latino population in the U.S. I will show that it is the largest minority group, including the black population. I will show as well that the Latino population is widespread all over the U.S., even if the traditionally Hispanic states continue to have the heaviest Latino population: California, Texas, New York, Florida, and Illinois. The effect of the distribution of the population is the expansion of Spanish as a heritage language and its increasing interest in academic environments. In fact, Spanish is the most widely spoken language at home and it is the most studied foreign language in schools and universities.

From Native Language to Foreign Language: Spanish in the 19th Century Schools

Bilingual education is not a recent issue in California. From the very beginning of the cultural encounter among Spanish and English speakers, we can find information in the newspapers about the situation. I will use 19th century articles from the Los AngelesTimes and El Clamor Público to present different sides of the confrontation. I will also useschool advertisements in order to understand which were the real educational options in Los Angeles in the middle of the 19th century.

Why Los Angeles Spanish Matters

The importance of Spanish as a world language has increased steadily in the United States. Little recognition, however, has been given to the dialect that is spoken natively by individuals born in cities such as Los Angeles. Like African American Vernacular English, Los Angeles Spanish is a non-standard oral dialect that is used mainly in informal contexts and is not taught in schools. This paper suggests that a closer examination of the origins and functions of the Los Angeles Spanish dialect could help to illuminate the social and linguistic situation in the aforementioned city.

Language in Public: The Place and Status of Spanish in the US Public Sphere

The goal of this paper is to bring to light some facts about the place and status of the Spanish language in the public sphere of the United States, that is, at the level of the government and of governmentally established institutions. Contrary to popular belief, the United States does not have an ‘official language’. In this brief essay, I will make cross-natural comparisons and pose questions about role/place of language within the U.S.

The vaivén of Spanish Heritage Speakers in the United States

While there are many heritage languages spoken within the United States, Spanish is the language that is of particular interest in this study due to the fact that it is the predominant of the group. This study will present an introduction to the field of heritage linguistics and explore ways in which the divide between heritage language and second language learners can be remedied within the language classroom. Furthermore, I review future implications for the Spanish heritage speaking population.

The Spanish Language in Californian Colleges and Universities

Spanish is considered the second familiar language in California due to its Californian history, our state’s proximity to Mexico and other Latin American countries, continuous Hispanic immigration, and the size of its Hispanic population, which surpasses that of all other states. This article analyzes the number of enrollment in Spanish courses during 2010–2011 academic year and then compared to the ones from other Romance languages (Portuguese, Italian, French, Romanian & Catalan) taught at each college/university campus. The results are quantified and subsequently discussed.

Changing the Way We Look at Race: Why Latinos Matter

For the first time in American history, there is a numerically significant population in the United States that cannot be defined primarily in terms of race. I will show how almost half of Latinos, when given a chance to self-define racially, pick labels that have nothing to do with color. It is through an expanded awareness of creative and defiant Latino racial identities that non-Latinos in the U.S. can greater appreciate how racial classifications are not scientifically meaningful categories.

Yo quiero Taco Bell: How Hispanic Culture Affects American Taste Buds

At 12.5% of the population, Hispanics are the largest minority group in the U.S. This article takes into account various food-related studies to show the importance of Hispanic culture in the U.S. food industry. Topics include the increase of Hispanic products, the appearance of ‘authentic’ and Mexican concept restaurants, and the rising number of advertising campaigns directed at Hispanics. The data shows the strength of Hispanic influence and explains why the Spanish language will have increased importance as Hispanic culture becomes a larger player in the U.S.