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Language ideologies, family language policy, and a changing societal context in Kansas

  • Rachel Showstack EMAIL logo and Drew Colcher


This paper examines the language ideologies among parents of Mexican family origin from Garden City, Kansas, and considers the ways in which Latinxs from different sociolinguistic generations have responded to an evolving societal context when making decisions about language use within the family. The analysis is based on 24 video-recorded interviews with parents of Mexican family background who reside in Garden City, a rural town in western Kansas where the majority of the population is of Hispanic origin. Drawing from the linguistic anthropological notion of ‘language ideologies’ and the framework of family langauge policy, the study examines (a) the ideologies that the participants express about the value of Spanish and particular varieties of Spanish in Kansas and (b) how they make reference to local language policies and personal beliefs and attitudes when describing their home language policies. The analysis reveals that local language policies and the availability of resources can dramatically influence the ways in which participants’ linguistic policies and practices reflect their ideological positionings. Findings suggest that there is a need to expand resources for emergent bilinguals and multilingual families in the region.


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Published Online: 2019-09-12
Published in Print: 2019-09-25

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