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 dual immersion schools
* Mexican and Puerto Rican Spanish in Chicago, and the language and identity of mixed “Mexi-Rican” individuals
* Teaching heritage languages, particularly Spanish in the U.S.
* Spanish use in Chicago quinceañera celebrations
* The use of “Spanglish” in commercially published greeting cards

Here is a list of my invited (non-conference) presentations and some of my current research projects.

Language diversity in the USA

I'm pleased to report that an edited volume I began in March 2007 has finally been published. The title is Language Diversity in the USA and it is published by Cambridge University Press. It profiles the twelve most commonly used languages other than English, painting a portrait of the history, current demographics, community characteristics, economic status, and language maintenance of each language group, and looks ahead to the future of each language.

La Enciclopedia

The Enciclopedia del español en los Estados Unidos (2009, Santillana) is now out. It offers:

"A detailed analysis of the past, present, and future of Spanish and Hispanic culture in the U.S., highlighting the demolinguistic reality of the diverse Spanish-speaking groups living in the U.S. Attention is also drawn to the vast cultural wealth of the Hispanic community, which has driven artistic creations that today hold a preeminent position in the country's cultural landscape."

There are over 80 specialized articles covering historical, demographic, and linguistic analyses. I made contributions on codeswitching (with Carmen Silva-Corvalán) as well as an entry about mixed ethnicity Latinos. This page includes recent press about the Enciclopedia del español en los Estados Unidos.

Grassroots orgranization "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.

Plugs for language/linguistics books

I have recently read three books that I really enjoyed.

Annick De Houwer (2009). Bilingual First Language Acquisition.  Clevedon, UK: Multilingual Matters.
Silvina Montrul. (2008). Incomplete acquisition in bilingualism: Re-examining the age factor . Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
Norma Mendoza-Denton. (2008) Homegirls.  Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell.  

Read my gushings here.