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Department 1



Much of the existing research in second and heritage language acquisition (S/HLA) takes a traditional approach of focusing on the cognitive processes involved in S/HLA, as well as the resulting outcomes. A relatively recent approach that has emerged in S/HLA scholarship, however, relates the learner to the social world in terms of how sociocultural contexts may shape an individual’s language learning experiences and their personal investment in the process. This emergent approach also challenges traditional categorical conceptions of identity, positing that it is dynamic, fluid, constructed, and negotiated in social contexts. Following this approach, my objective is to demonstrate how identity plays a role in heritage Spanish speakers’ investment in language learning. Specifically, I rely on learners’ narratives to look at how distinctive gendered identities and social expectations interact with heritage identity, and how they collectively may be contributing factors that shape heritage language learning in and outside of the classroom.


Presentation given at the Friday Forum on October 5, 2018. The Friday Forum is a series of lectures given by members of the Gettysburg College community on their personal scholarly research, creative activities, or professional or curricular development activities.