Chapter published in:Variation and Evolution: Aspects of language contact and contrast across the Spanish-speaking world
Edited by Sandro Sessarego, Juan J. Colomina-Almiñana and Adrián Rodríguez-Riccelli
[Issues in Hispanic and Lusophone Linguistics 29] 2020
► pp. 212–230
Language choice and use by bilingual preschoolers
Evidence from a Spanish immersion preschool context
In a Spanish-immersion preschool with a dual population of heritage speakers (HS) and second-language learners (L2) of Spanish, we explore the language choices students make when their school language differs from the dominant language (English) and factors that contribute to their language choice. Observational data suggest students exhibit a type of interlocutor-dependent diglossia, typically reserving English for peer interactions and Spanish for interactions with teachers. Data from a language elicitation task revealed that a students’ language background (L2 vs HS) is not a significant predictor of their Spanish production; Spanish exposure proved to be the most significant factor. Case studies confirmed these findings and further revealed the multiple factors that make up Spanish exposure and predict students’ language use.
Keywords: immersion, bilingualism, language choice, heritage language, Spanish in the US
Published online: 11 August 2020
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