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

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


Most broadly, I am interested in the promotion of minority languages and multilingualism (see my TEDx talk), 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.

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.

TEDx talk April 12, 2013: "No Child Left Monolingual"

Talk title: "No Child Left Monolingual."

This was a real labor of love. I'd love to see two-way immersion on every corner!

Two small errors:

(1) At 9:58, the production folks accidentally highlighted the two-way immersion program, when I was in fact referring to English Only.

(2) At 10:24, I said "75% Spanish" when I meant "75% English." Probably obvious but just for the record.

Please feel free to share widely and thanks for viewing!

Fulbright in Oaxaca, 2011-2012

I have been honored with a Fulbright Research & Teaching Grant for the academic year 2011-2012.  I will be moving with my family to Oaxaca, Mexico.

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.