A LTHOUGH DEFINITIONS of heritage language speakers vary from very broad to very narrow (Carreira 2004; Hornberger and Wang 2008), those interested in understanding the nature of heritage speakers' proficiency and competence in the heritage language tend to adopt Guadalupe Valdés's (2000, 1) definition: "a student who is raised in a home where a non-English language is spoken, who speaks or merely understands the heritage language, and who is to some degree bilingual in English and the heritage language." In the context of the United States, Spanish heritage speakers are individuals who emigrated in early childhood with their parents and other family members, or children of immigrants from Spanish-speaking countries. Although the parents are either monolingual or dominant in a variety of Spanish, the children grow up in a context where both English and Spanish are spoken.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationSpanish as a Heritage Language in the US
Subtitle of host publicationState of the Science
Place of PublicationWashington, D.C.
PublisherGeorgetown University Press
Number of pages20
ISBN (Electronic)9781589019393
ISBN (Print)9781589019386
StatePublished - Jan 1 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities(all)
  • Social Sciences(all)


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