Spanish in the professions and in the community in the US

Babara A Lafford, Annie Ruth Abbott, Darcy Lear

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Over the past two decades, Languages for Specific Purposes (LSP) and Community Service Learning (CSL) in the United States (US) have gained traction in post-secondary institutions. Abbott and Lear (2010) established that CSL provides excellent opportunities for students to meet the National Foreign Language Standards. After establishing a brief historical overview of programs and research in the fields of Spanish LSP and CSL, this paper provides an overview of core issues facing the field, i.e., the need to (1) focus LSP on a new specific purpose (foundational training in professionalism) (i.e., those linguistic abilities, behaviors, skills, and manners that are vital to all professions in the target culture), (2) thread this training in professionalism throughout the curriculum (from basic language, to majors, to graduate students), (3) build interdisciplinarity among faculty through professional development, especially in the field of CSL, and (4) provide professional research training to second language acquisition scholars, graduate students, and LSP scholars/practitioners to build the research base in LSP and in experiential learning in CSL environments (Lafford 2012, 2013). This study concludes with an exploration of the challenges and rewards of implementing those LSP and CSL action items and proposes directions for future research.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)171-186
JournalJournal of Spanish Language Teaching
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2014


  • languages for specific purposes
  • community service learning
  • experiential learning
  • Spanish for the professions
  • National Standards


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