The current study quantitatively and qualitatively investigated Spanish maintenance among 45 Spanish heritage language (SHL) speakers in Utah who completed a survey about their linguistic background, their attitudes toward Spanish, their self-rated Spanish proficiency, and their current Spanish usage. Nine participants were also interviewed to expound on their linguistic experience. Previous studies on language maintenance (Alba et al., 2002; Carreira & Kagan, 2011; Lanier, 2014; Lynch, 2000; Mejías et al., 2002; Potowski, 2004; Silva-Corvalán, 1994; Zentella, 1997) have analyzed different sociolinguistics factors that relate to Spanish maintenance and usage in areas with high Hispanic populations. Nevertheless, little research has been done in locations with lower Hispanic concentrations such as in Indiana (Barbosa, 2015), Washington (Fernández-Mallat & Carey, 2017) and Kansas (Showstack & Guzman, 2020). Due to the limited research in these areas, the current study examined Spanish language maintenance of second-generation (G2) and generation 1.5 (G1.5) SHL speakers. Findings suggest that although participants have positive attitudes toward Spanish, they feel more confident communicating in English and have limited contact with the Spanish-speaking community and limited use of Spanish. However, results show that participants have a higher use of Spanish and greater connection with the Hispanic community due to their participation in Spanish-speaking religious congregations. Thus, the unique bilingual atmosphere that exists in Utah due to the cultural influence that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has and Utah’s government objective to bring about a multilingual workforce through bilingual education may aid in Spanish maintenance in this state among future SHL speakers.
College and Department
Humanities; Spanish and Portuguese
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Escobar Rodriguez, Perla Y., "Language Maintenance in Utah: Spanish Heritage Speakers' Attitudes and Language Use" (2021). Theses and Dissertations. 9359.
language attitudes, heritage speakers, language shift, Spanish