Object lesson

Due to a budget crisis in the state of Texas, some districts considered closing certain schools in 2011. This sign appeared in support of a beloved neighborhood school.

Would you say “We support Becker Elementary: A dual language school” this way in Spanish?

Myth 3: Hispanics are a monolithic group

Fact: Hispanics represent a range of diversity in their self-identification and in their social behaviors.

Hispanics see themselves more as having separate and distinct cultures based on country of origin rather than sharing a single culture as Hispanics or Latinos. (2)

Cubans and Puerto Ricans are more likely to identify themselves simply as “American” than other Hispanics are. (2)

Texans (and other Southerners) of Hispanic ethnicity are more likely to prefer the term “Hispanic,” while Californians and Northeasterners  prefer “Latino”  (2)


Early Spanish language exposure

‘P’ knows from experience that learning a second language early in life is beneficial. P’s family moved to Mexico when he was young and he completed his elementary and middle school education there. To this day, P uses Spanish with his friends in Texas.

[myiframe url="http://coerll.utexas.edu/openvid/player/032_paul_01" width="500" height="320"]

Childhood in Juárez

‘L’ grew up in Mexico and now lives in Texas. Here, she tells us about her childhood. Notice that she uses the word Spanish word ahorita to mean now when most other varieties of Spanish outside of Mexico and the United States use it to mean in a little while.

[myiframe url=http://coerll.utexas.edu/openvid/player/010_lucy_01 width="500" height="320"]

Honoring her parents

‘A’ grew up speaking mostly Spanish at home and attended a bilingual elementary school. All of her education from middle school and high school was in English, but in college Spanish was one of her majors. As you can hear, A is very close with her parents. To this day, she still uses mostly Spanish to speak with them.

[myiframe url=http://coerll.utexas.edu/openvid/player/008_adriana_01 width="500" height="320"]

Career paths

Listen to how ‘B’, while speaking fluently in Spanish, uses some English words to talk about preparing for his career. Nearly all speakers of Spanish in Texas borrow words from English, especially when they are talking about work or school. This is because these speakers usually use only English for these life activities. So, using both languages when they speak is natural for them.

[myiframe url=http://coerll.utexas.edu/openvid/player/007_benjamin_01 width="500" height="320"]

Life and language at the border

Like many other bilinguals, this speaker can switch between Spanish and English very smoothly. Notice that if you speak Spanish and English it is very easy to understand her. One unusual thing that she does is to create a Spanish verb with an English meaning: hacer discipline. These forms are frequent among Spanish speakers in New Mexico and southern Colorado but less frequent in Texas.

[myiframe url="http://coerll.utexas.edu/openvid/player/006_norma_01" width="500" height="320"]

Preserving traditions

This El Paso speaker talks about his views on the importance of family. Listen to how he pronounces the words fecha and mucha; this is a pronunciation typical of speakers from his region.

[myiframe url="http://coerll.utexas.edu/openvid/player/005_raulf_01" width="500" height="320"]


Playing in a high school marching band

Listen to ‘E’ talk about her experiences as a marching band member. Hear how she extends the meaning of the Spanish word librería to match its meaning in English (library, rather than bookstore). She also uses English words for uniquely American concepts: la field, halftime. And like other Spanish speakers in Texas, E can use the word hablar to mean to call (rather than just to speak) and the word camión for schoolbus.

[myiframe url=http://coerll.utexas.edu/openvid/player/003_estrella_01 width="500" height="320"]

Growing up during the Depression

‘RD’ was born in west Texas and grew up during the Depression when life was very hard for his family and many others. While RD has spoken mostly in Spanish throughout his life, listen to how he says his numbers in English. He also uses some words from English that have become part of his, and other Texans’, Spanish vocabulary: fil (field), troca (truck). He also uses the term papá grande to mean grandfather instead of the Spanish word, abuelo.

[myiframe url="http://coerll.utexas.edu/openvid/player/001_rauld_01" width="500" height="320"]

Learning English in middle school

This young woman was born in Texas and raised speaking mostly Spanish. She began to learn her English in school and now uses both languages regularly. Like other Texans, she uses a few English words to talk about her life: training, middle school. Like many speakers from Mexico and Texas, she also says a la mejor (probably) instead of using the masculine gender that is used in other Spanish dialects: a lo mejor.

[myiframe url="http://coerll.utexas.edu/openvid/player/002_laura_01" width="500" height="320"]

Free Workshop for Spanish Teachers on June 23, 2012

Workshop Title: Texas Spanish in Texas Schools: Do you speak your students’ language?
Date: Saturday, June 23, 2012
Location: The University of Texas at Austin

Texas leads the nation in the percentage of its residents who speak Spanish at home, but not everyone in Texas speaks Spanish the same way. This workshop will help educators to understand the origins of such variation and how a focus on language as it is actually spoken can enhance the classroom experience. Using authentic video samples from the Spanish in Texas Corpus project, workshop participants will collaborate in creating activities to promote student interest in their own and others’ language practices.

This workshop offers CPE credits.

Workshop Information and Registration

Language Differences

Is the Spanish of the United States dramatically different from the Spanish spoken in other countries?
¿Es el español de los Estados Unidos diferente del español de países de habla hispana?

[myiframe url=http://www.coerll.utexas.edu/openvid/player/lasso-2011-02-differences width="500" height="320"]


Can we speak of a unique and uniform variety of U.S. Spanish? Or are there different dialects?
¿Se puede hablar de una variante única de español estadounidense? O hay distintos dialectos?

[myiframe url=http://coerll.utexas.edu/openvid/player/lasso-2011-03-dialects width="500" height="320"]


Some people use labels such as Spanglish, ingleñol, mocho and pocho, for the Spanish that is spoken in the U.S. Have you heard these terms? What do these mean to you?
Algunas personas usan las etiquetas Spanglish, ingleñol, mocho y pocho para el español que se habla en los EEUU. Has escuchado estas palabras o expresiones semejantes? ¿Qué significan para ti? ¿Has escuchado estos términos? ¿Qué significan para ti?

[myiframe url=http://coerll.utexas.edu/openvid/player/lasso-2011-05-labels width="500" height="320"]

Heritage Language

Why would it be important to reinforce the heritage language in school?
¿Por qué sería importante reforzar la lengua de herencia en la escuela?

[myiframe url=http://coerll.utexas.edu/openvid/player/lasso-2011-06-heritage width="500" height="320"]

SPinTX Project Wins LIFT Grant

Over the past year, the Spanish in Texas team has learned a tremendous amount from you about the needs of Spanish teachers and learners in Texas. What we’ve heard is that teachers need easy-to-use tools and learners need authentic, locally-based language materials.  We are excited to announce that we have won a grant from the Longhorn Innovation Fund for Technology that should help us to bring you both. Adelante!

We will be tracking our progress over the next year at our new Corpus to Classroom blog. Stay tuned for information about how you can get involved in this new phase of the project!

Educators: Participate in the Spanish in Texas Focus Group!

The Spanish in Texas team would like to invite you to participate in a SpinTX materials-development focus group! We are looking for creative and thoughtful Spanish teachers to design educational materials for the SpinTX video archive, a free and open website for language learning from the Center for Open Educational Resources & Language Learning (COERLL) at UT-Austin. The SpinTX video archive provides a convenient web interface to search hundreds of short video clips from the Spanish in Texas Corpus. Each video is accompanied by synchronized closed captions and a transcript that has been annotated with thematic, grammatical, functional, and metalinguistic information. Educators using the site can tag videos for features that match their interests, and share favorite videos in playlists.

Selected participants will meet as a group for two 3-hour sessions and will receive a stipend of $250 and six hours of Continuing Professional Education credits.

The focus group will take place from 9:00am-12:00pm on July 22 and July 29, 2013. The first session will include an introduction to the SpinTX video archive. Following the introduction, participants will brainstorm lesson ideas as a group and individually begin to develop their own lesson plan, which will be published on the SpinTX website. Participants will finish their lesson plan on their own time before the second session. During the second session, participants will present their lesson plan, give feedback to others, and make any necessary changes before turning in their final lesson plan.

To apply, please fill out the online application by July 1, 2013.