Who will be bilingual? A Critical Discourse Analysis of a Spanish-English Bilingual Pair

Idalia Nuñez, Deborah Palmer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article presents a basic interpretive qualitative study that examined how two students, a dominant Spanish speaker (Joel) and a dominant English speaker (Carter) used languages during their microinteractions in pair work in a dual language kindergarten classroom. The purpose of this study was to understand the relationship between language choice and power. Data sources included field notes and video/audio recordings collected during a Spanish day and an English day of instruction, with particular attention to the interactions of this bilingual pair. The authors conducted critical discourse analysis drawing on the notion of power as product and power in discourse. Findings reveal that despite the expressed intention of the dual language program that all children would have the opportunity to be bilinguals, there are more opportunities in this classroom for language development in English than in Spanish. Only the teacher’s direct intervention appears to influence children’s language use during their interactions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)294-319
Number of pages26
JournalCritical Inquiry in Language Studies
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2 2017
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Education
  • Linguistics and Language


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