Latinxs’ bilingualism at work in the US
Profit for whom?
In the current context of a globalized economy, bilingualism is increasingly portrayed as a resource for corporations and for workers competing for jobs in today’s slim market. In this paper we analyze the economic value of languages other than English in the US, Spanish in particular. Working from a political economy perspective and drawing from current theoretical approaches to language and labor under neoliberalism, we examine the reproduction of the discursive trope of language profit in the corporate world and educational spaces, and then analyze the narratives and trajectories of young Latinx workers in New York. The marginalized position of Latinxs in the social structure and the racialization of their linguistic practices result in a linguistic exploitation that remains unchallenged in the US. We conclude that today’s celebrations of bilingualism, which follow a capitalist logic, perpetuate a hierarchy of languages and speakers that is detrimental to racialized minorities.
- 2.The discourse of the economic worth of languages in the US
- 3.Latinxs’ linguistic skills at work
- 4.Conclusion: Profit for whom?
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