I am a Professor of Hispanic linguistics in the Department of Hispanic and Italian Studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago. I am also a faculty affiliate in the Latin American and Latino Studies Program, the Department of Curriculum and Instruction, and in the Social Justice Initiative. I am also the founding ​​director of the Language in Context Research Group

Since 2009 I've served as Executive Editor of the journal Spanish in Context.

 

Most broadly, I am interested in the promotion of minority languages and multilingualism, particularly via elementary schooling. My work focuses on Spanish in the United States, including factors that influence intergenerational language transmission, connections between language and identity, and heritage language education. Some of my recent research topics include:

* Language development in a dual immersion school
* Spanish use in Chicago quinceañera celebrations
* The use of “Spanglish” in commercially published greeting cards
* Comparisons between Mexican and Puerto Rican Spanish in Chicago
* The language and identity of mixed “MexiRican” individuals
* Teaching heritage languages, particularly Spanish in the U.S.

Multilingual Chicago

We live in a time when many U.S. residents harbor "English only" sentiments -- that is, to be considered a good citizen you have to speak English and also stop speaking anything else. Multilingual Chicago is a grassroots organization I belong to that seeks to counter such linguistic hegemony by promoting linguistic diversity in our city, both that brought by immigrants and their descendants as well as by English speakers studying other languages. In 2007, Mayor Daley signed a resolution brought forth by the efforts of this group.

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Institute for the Humanities fellowship

I am very pleased to have received an Institute for the Humanities fellowship during the 2013-2014 school year.  Here is a short article about me and the other fellows.

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UIC Oaxaca study abroad for heritage speakers

NOTE: During 2017, this program is not run through the UIC Study Abroad Office. We expect it to resume there in 2018. 

This program is for UIC students who grew up speaking Spanish in the home (this means that you placed into SPAN 113, 114, or 204 @ UIC). It is for 4 weeks in Oaxaca, Mexico and is led by UIC professor Kim Potowski.

SUMMER 2017 dates = Sunday June 18 - Monday July 17.

All students take one (1) course:

One (1) Spanish course, 6 different options:

SPAN 114: Spanish for heritage speakers II (4 credits)
SPAN 202: Spanish grammar (3 credits)
SPAN 204: Advanced composition (3 credits)
SPAN 206: Introduction to Spanish linguistics (3 credits)
SPAN 363: Spanish in society (3 credits)
SPAN 399: Independent study (3 credits)

 

All courses are taught by faculty at the Ollin Tlahtoalli Centro de Lenguas y Cultura except SPAN 363 and SPAN 399 which are taught by Professor Potowski. All Spanish courses also collaborate on an academic project with a group of college students studying to become English teachers at the local university, Universidad Autónoma Benito Juárez de Oaxaca.

We take field trips every Saturday to local sites of archeological and cultural interest, including Monte Albán, Hierve el Agua, and visits with local communities.  

Students may complete internships in areas related to medicine, education, the law, and other areas.

Check out this excellent video made by the 2013 group!   "Like" our Facebook page!

See the FAQ below.

 

DACA students are eligible; see http://studyabroad.uic.edu/daca/ 

COME ENJOY FREE OAXACAN TAMALES AT OUR INFORMATION SESSION

FEBRUARY 16, 2017, 6:00-8:00 pm, LATINO CULTURAL CENTER

tamale photo

 

Frequently Asked Questions

 

How much does the program cost?

It depends on the Spanish course you are eligible for and the number of credits it carries:

SPAN 202, 204, 206, 363 or 399 are 3 credits. These options are $3,240

SPAN 114 is 4 credits. This option is $3,770

Cost includes tuition, housing and food (2 meals per day), airport pickup and twice weekly transportation to the UABJO, orientation, all Saturday trips, local cellphone, and cultural workshops.

Airfare (as low as $590), mandatory international health insurance ($27) and spending money are not included.
Most students do NOT pay the entire amount! There are many scholarships and other financial aid available. For example:

Fund for Education Abroad scholarship, deadline January 11, 2017.
Gillman Scholarship, deadline March 7, 2017.

Where will I live?

All students live with a host family that lives within 15 minutes' walking distance of the school where you take classes. You have a private bedroom and eat breakfast and "comida" (the main meal of the day, served at around 1:30 or 2:00 pm) with the family. UIC requests that no other students be in the home at the same time, but sometimes there is overlap with a student from another country. You/your parents may contact the host family via telephone before your arrival to get to know them. Families are very good about accommodating any dietary or allergy restrictions. Past students have formed close lasting bonds with their Oaxacan families and several have returned to visit them.

What is a typical day like on this program?

Monday:        10:00-12:00 Spanish class. 12:00-4:00 free time and comida at home. 4:00-6:00 cultural activity.
Tuesday:       10:00-1:00 Group project with local college students. 1:00-4:00 free time and comida at home. 4:00-6:00 workshop.
Wednesday:  10:00-12:00 Spanish class. 12:00-4:00 free time and comida at home. 4:00-6:00 cultural activity.
Thursday:      10:00-1:00 Group project with local college students. 1:00-4:00 free time and comida at home. 4:00-6:00 workshop.
Friday:           10:00-12:00 Spanish class. 12:00-4:00 free time and comida at home. 4:00-6:00 visit a local site: Benito Juárez' childhood home; Santo Domingo; El Jardín Etnobotánico, etc.
Saturday:       9:00-3:00 Field trip to sites such as Monte Albán, Teotitlán del Valle, Mitla, Hierve el agua, etc.
Sunday:         FREE DAY.

 

Do all of the offered courses count towards a Spanish major or minor?

YES, all courses count toward a Spanish major/minor (except SPAN 114, which fulfills the foreign language requirement). You may contact the LAS Spanish advisor Sara Nobbe (senobbe@uic.edu) if you have any questions about this.

 

I understand that all students take one Spanish class from the above list of 5 options. What would I do in SPAN 399 Independent Study?

If you are eligible for SPAN 399 Independent Study, you will carry out a research project that is related to some aspect of Oaxacan culture and life. This could be at a hospital, in an elementary school, about a local indigenous language, or some other relevant topic. This is carried out with the close assistance of the program director, UIC professor Kim Potowski.

 

How do I apply?

Fill out the application found here. Applications due March 17, 2017 in 1722 University Hall.

Can I talk to a student who already went on this program, and/or with their parents?

Of course! In addition to emailing the program director, Professor Potowski (kimpotow@uic.edu) with any questions, you can email the following students and they will be happy to answer your questions. They can also put your parents in touch with their parents.

sara iz  Sara Izquierdo, sizqui2_at_uic.edu

mayraMayra Huerta, mayrahu1122_at_gmail.com

AnnabelAnnabel Torres, torresannabel343_at_gmail.com  --> Her mom's email is magodelrey_at_yahoo.com 

belemBelem Medina, belmed91_at_gmail.com

maritzaMaritza Castillo, maritza_silverio_at_yahoo.com

 

 

 

 

Teaching Spanish to heritage speakers: Pedagogical and administrative considerations" Lake Forest College, IL, 2013

Why do heritage speakers need a separate Spanish course?  What are some of the linguistic, affective, and academic considerations that educators should keep in mind?  This is the talk I gave at Lake Forest College, IL, in September 2013.

Univisión 30 mayo 2011: Sobre Fulbright en Oaxaca

Me entrevsitó Paula Gómez de Univisión sobre el proyecto que iba a empezar en Oaxaca en 2011-2012.  Tenía previsto estudiar la enseñanza del español como lengua nativa en México para 'importar' ideas para la enseñanza del español a los hablantes 'de herencia' en los Estados Unidos.  Pero una vez en Oaxaca, cambió totalmente mi enfoque:  Empecé a conocer a muchos jóvenes que se habían criado en Estados Unidos y cuyas familias regresaron a Oaxaca.  Entonces me dediqué a estudiar su (re)incorpración lingüística y escolar.