The module will introduce the main theoretical ideas of language and identity alongside tracing the historical, social and linguistic background to the presence of the so-called Latinos in the US. Issues of language policies in general and those affecting Spanish in the US in particular will be covered.
The different Latino communities will be examined in turn and contrasted with the homogenising gloss they are typically given by non-Latinos in US society. We will examine how far Latinos have come to accept and conform to this external image. We will also see whether the highly marginalised and underprivileged status generally associated with the Latino communities might be changing. We will ask what political power the community can assert.
The module will look at the situation of Spanish in this community – its vitality, transmission to new generations, forms compared with other varieties of Spanish and, in particular, the phenomenon of codeswitching and of Spanglish.
We will ask what wider role the Latino example plays. What is its social, cultural and linguistic impact both in the US and globally? What trends in migration patterns, particularly that of the ‘returning’ migrant may have implications globally?