Students’ Stances and Evaluations toward Spanish Language: A Case Study
Roxana Delbene

This paper is a case study that analyzes the evaluations made by undergraduate students with respect to the value of Spanish language in United States society, and the pedagogical repercussion of these evaluations for the acquisition of Spanish in the academic curriculum. Drawing on ethnography and the use of elicitation techniques, the students’ reactions were analyzed by means of discourse analysis. The study finds that students who hold attitudes of appreciation toward Spanish are more likely to acknowledge the symbolic capital associated with bilingualism, but those students who hold judgmental views toward Spanish are more likely to denigrate the symbolic capital associated with the speaking of both languages. Judgmental attitudes are seen as a serious pedagogical problem in the light of the literature that has shown correlations between positive attitudes and language attainment. Practice of linguistic awareness is recommended as a pedagogical tool to educate students about the benefits of bilingualism.

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