Linguistic Link: “I speak Spanglish … I say ‘Necesito ayuda con my homework.'”

NPR shines a spot on one of the first bilingual schools in the U.S., Coral Way Elementary School in Miami-Dade County.  In 1963 the school opened its doors to the children of political refugees from Cuba.  The goal was not only to teach them English, but to maintain their Spanish as well.  The school has been a model of bilingual immersion programs ever since.

NPR’s reports that

Teachers at Coral Way cringe when they hear Spanglish. They demand proper English and proper Spanish. This kind of rigor and rich immersion in the two languages is very different than what most Latino school students experience.

Although we here at the Bilingualism Research Laboratory can appreciate the need to maintain a high level of Spanish input and output to ensure fluency, it’s important to understand that statements such as these only serve to further stigmatize code-switching.  Remember — code-switching, especially intra-sentential code-switching, requires a high level of proficiency in both languages! (Poplack 1980)

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