Lecture by Stanton Wortham, April 8, 2009


Hillbilly Spanish and Tarzan English:  Ideologies of Mexican Immigrant Language

by Stanton Wortham, Graduate School of Education, University of Pennsylvania

In this paper, written with Elaine Allard and Katherine Mortimer, we conceptualize the beliefs and attitudes of Mexican immigrants and long-time residents of the Mid Atlantic suburban town of Marshall as language ideologies, culturally-situated theories about the relationship between language and the social world. We examine how language ideologies circulated by residents and educators in New Marshall, as well as by immigrant students themselves, help both hosts and immigrants understand students’ place in the social order of the community and their concomitant rights and responsibilities. In particular, we examine how the concept of an “educated person” is constructed in part through language ideologies in this community and how this concept influences Mexican immigrant students. As taken-for-granted ideas that often work under the surface of social interactions, these ideologies about language shape the experiences of young Mexican immigrants in New Marshall, the organization and quality of the services that are provided for them, and their post-secondary options.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009
3:00-5:00 pm, B4 Dwinelle Hall