Here are some of my projects either in progress or very recently published.
The growing influence of a diverse U.S. Latina/o population is changing both the quantity and quality of their representations on TV. However, the limited inclusion of Latina/o writers, producers, and actors on television has meant that their identities and language continue to be caricatured, misrepresented, or omitted entirely. To examine these trends, we analyze the content of 10 TV shows that feature Latina/o characters in recurring roles*, integrating theory and methods from linguistics, anthropology, and media studies. With linguistic discrimination continuing to fester across the U.S., this project is motivated by a commitment to fostering ethnolinguistic pride among Latina/os and stemming the intergenerational loss of Spanish.
* Cristela, Devious Maids, Jane the Virgin, Law and Order SVI, Narcos, Orange is the New Black, Rosewood, Superstore, Telenovela, and Ugly Betty.
Spanish is currently spoken by 406 million people natively around the world, making it the second most commonly spoken language after Mandarin Chinese. Yet unlike in Latin America and in Spain, the social and linguistic conditions of Spanish where it is spoken as a minority language are diverse and challenging. The United States is the primary location where Spanish as a minority language is being studied, but other countries around the world have populations of Spanish speakers where it is a minority language.
The handbook consists of 35 chapters in four broadly defined fields: (1) social issues, (2) linguistic issues, (3) educational issues (including K-12) and (4) Spanish as a minority language outside of the U.S. It thus moves beyond Spanish as a minority/heritage language to include a variety of considerations about the people who speak it, including both adults and children.
This is the second edition of my Spanish composition textbook. I hope to soon finish a video I'm making with clips from instructors and students that explains what it's about. "An engaging text organized into thematic chapters dealing with current events, this book will simultaneously promote reading skills while showing examples of good writing. Drawing from best practices in native English language arts composition, heritage speaker pedagogy, and second language writing, the text develops Spanish language proficiency, general academic writing, and knowledge of contemporary social issues."
What are "MexiRicans"? Individuals raised in the U.S. with one Mexican parent and one Puerto Rican parent frequently use this term to describe themselves. This book analyzes features of their Spanish as well as their intraLatino identities, based on interviews with 71 MexiRicans in Chicago, IL.
Kim Potowski, University of Illinois at Chicago & Naomi L. Shin, University of New Mexico
This is a Spanish grammar textbook that focuses on structures that are subject to sociolinguistic variation, such as había ~ habían dos ranas ‘there was ~ were two frogs’. It highlights the sociopolitical factors that explain why some forms are deemed prestigious and others are stigmatized. This sociolinguistic approach to teaching grammar moves beyond presentations of structure and use and guides students in a real-life exploration of the ways each structure is used in different parts of the Spanish-speaking world, examining which speakers use which structures in which parts of the world, the value judgments levied against them, and why prescriptivist views are less useful than descriptivist ones when seeking to understand how language is used. The book is written in Spanish and is meant to be the main textbook for a grammar course.
I am very interested in the linguistic and educational experiences of "retornados", the (not always accurate) name for students raised in the U.S. who find themselves (back) in Mexico during their schooling years.