The Routledge Handbook on Spanish as a heritage language

Spanish is currently spoken by approximately 405 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 36 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. 

Table of contents

Chapter title


1. Introduction

Kim Potowski, the University of Illinois at Chicago


Section I. Social issues


Chapter title


2. A Historical View of U.S. Latinidad and Spanish as Heritage Language

Andrew Lynch, University of Miami

3. Language Policy in Context: Sociopolitical climate and Spanish in the U.S.

Phillip Carter, Florida International University


4. Spanish language use, maintenance, and shift in the United States

Devin Jenkins, University of Colorado Denver

5. Spanish in linguistic landscapes of the U.S.


Jose Franco-Rodríguez, Fayetteville State University

6. Linguistics and Latino studies: Intersections for the advancement of linguistic and social justice

Lourdes Torres, DePaul University

7. Spanish and Identity among Latin@s in the U.S.


Rachel Showstack, Wichita State University

8. Spanish and the Negotiation of Race and Intra-Latino Hierarchies in the U.S.

Rosalyn Negrón, University of Massachusetts Boston

9. Queering Spanish as a Heritage Language


Holly Cashman, University of New Hampshire & Juan Trujillo, Oregon State University


Section II. Linguistic issues


Chapter title


10. Morphology, syntax and semantics in Spanish as a heritage language

Silvina Montrul, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

11. Heritage Spanish phonetics and phonology

Rebecca Ronquest, North Carolina State Univ. & Rajiv Rao, Univ. of Wisconsin-Madison

12. The lexicon of Spanish heritage speakers

Marta Fairclough, University of Houston & Anel Garza, Rice University

13. Heritage Spanish pragmatics

Derrin Pinto, University of St. Thomas


14. Neurolinguistic perspectives on heritage Spanish

Harriet Wood Bowden & Bernard Issa, University of Tennessee, Knoxville

15. Psycholinguistic perspectives on heritage Spanish

Jill Jegerski, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

16. Child heritage speakers' morphosyntax: Rate of acquisition and crosslinguistic influence

Naomi Shin, University of New Mexico

17. Sociolinguistic variation in U.S. Spanish


Rena Torres-Cacoullos & Grant Berry, Pennsylvania State University

18. Spanish dialectal contact in the U.S.

Daniel Erker, Boston University


19. Understanding and leveraging Spanish heritage speakers’ bilingual practices

Leah Durán & Almeida Jacqueline Toribio, University of Texas at Austin


Section III. Educational issues


Chapter title


20. Goals and pedagogical approaches in teaching Spanish to heritage speakers

Guadalupe Valdes, Stanford University & María Luisa Parra, Harvard University

21. Outcomes of classroom Spanish heritage language instruction

Melissa Bowles, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

22. Critical language awareness in SHL: Challenging the linguistic subordination of U.S. Latin@s

Jennifer Leeman, George Mason University

23. Differentiated teaching: A primer for heritage and mixed classes


Maria Carreira & Claire Hitchins Chik,

National Heritage Language Resource Center, UCLA

24. Key issues in Spanish heritage language program design and administration

Sara Beaudrie, Arizona State University

25. Spanish for the Professions and Community Service Learning: Applications with heritage learners

Ann Abbott, Univ. of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign & Glenn Martinez, Ohio State U.

26. Spanish heritage speakers studying abroad

Rachel Shively, Northern Illinois University


27. Expanding the multilingual repertoire: Teaching cognate languages to heritage Spanish speakers

Ana Carvalho, University of Arizona & Michael Child, Brigham Young University

28. Developing Spanish in dual language programs:  Preschool through twelfth grade

Kathryn Lindholm-Leary, San Jose State University

29. What do we know about bilingual children’s Spanish literacy development?

Jeannette Mancilla-Martinez,Vanderbilt University


Section IV. Spanish as a minority/heritage language outside of the U.S.


Chapter title


30. Diversity and hybridity of Latino/a Spanish speakers in Australia and Aotearoa-New Zealand

Criss Jones Díaz, Univ. of Western Sydney & Ute Walker, Massey Univ. of New Zealand

31. Spanish as a heritage language in Italy

Milin Bonomi, University of Milan & Laura Sanfelici, University of Genova

32. Spanish as a heritage language in Germany

Carmen Ramos Méndez-Sahlender, University of Applied Languages, Munich

33. Spanish as a heritage language in Switzerland

Verónica Sánchez Abchi

University of Fribourg, Switzerland

34. Chilean Spanish speakers in Sweden: Transnationalism, trilingualism, and linguistic systems

Maryann Neilson Parada, California State University, Bakersfield

35. Spanish in Canada and in the U.K.

Martin Guardado, University of Alberta


36. Language issues for U.S.-raised Mexican ‘returnees’ in Mexico

Clare Mar-Molinero, University of Southampton