Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor

April 17, 2024

Letters to the Editor (Courtesy Gloria Elena Lopez)

April 3, “3 Questions with Gloria Elena López”

TAKING BACK LANGUAGE

Your article featuring Ms. López can be added to the several conversations regarding heritage language, which began with a NYTimes article on NM Spanish.

As a graduate student and former coordinator of the Spanish as a Heritage Language Program at the University of New Mexico, 1986-2009, many of the participating students had had similar experiences as Ms López. They were hesitant to speak Spanish because of the attitudes that had been instilled in them in their educational journeys. One common characteristic of many students in our program suffered from vergüenza / shame, for not being able to speak the language of their ancestors.

Having been one of those students, I began, like so many other heritage language speakers, taking back my heritage language at the age of 26, knowing that if I didn’t recuperate it, our family language/heritage would cease to exist. Once I received my PhD in Sociolinguistics, I have dedicated my time and energy supporting adults of all ages who are interested in revitalizing their heritage language. I’m amazed at how many young professionals are participating in this journey of taking back their Spanish. The English Only Movement began after Statehood and has been responsible for the loss of Spanish for many Nuevomexicanos.

Thank you for featuring Ms. López’s story. This conversation needs to continue.

Best Regards,

María Dolores Gonzales, PhD

Albuquerque

Executive Director, Bilingual Strategies Language Institute

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