Title

When to Speak Spanish and When Not to: Interethnic communication and US students of L2 Spanish 1

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date

2018

Publisher

Routledge

Abstract

Spanish is the language with the highest enrollments in US high schools and colleges (Flaherty, 2015), and it is also that nation’s most-spoken language besides English (Ryan, 2011). This would seem to make for the perfect situation for learners who wish to practice speaking Spanish outside the classroom. Conversation with native speakers is often touted as all but essential for successful L2 acquisition, and students are urged to seek opportunities to engage in such exchanges to improve their pronunciation and other skills. However, not every native speaker wishes to indulge the learner’s desire to use the language (e.g., Woolard, 1989; Norton, 2000; Callahan, 2009). And since in the United States the majority of Spanish-speakers are also proficient in English (National Council of La Raza, 2010), if for whatever reason a Spanish-speaker does not wish to speak or be spoken to in Spanish, a switch to English is probable. Research and experience suggest that the use of Spanish by non-Latino speakers may produce a negative reaction in native speakers of that language, ranging from a refusal to answer in Spanish to a hostile tone regardless of the language of response. In this chapter, we will review this phenomenon and examine the implications for language learners and teachers. The questions guiding this exposition are: What is the role of the native speaker in L2 acquisition? Does the learning of Spanish in the United States equate to cultural appropriation? How can we teach respectful communication in Spanish?

Chapter of

L2 Spanish Pragmatics: From Research to Teaching

Editor

Domnita Dumitrescu
Patricia Lorena Andueza

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