Written by Teresa Blumenthal, Associate Editor for Spanish and Portuguese Review.
Resource Type: Podcasts
Type: Heritage Languages: Research, Experience, and Community
This unpacking series is about providing resources to graduate students in the realm of Hispanic and Lusophone linguistics, literatures, and cultures, particularly calling attention to relevant points which may be useful in their scholarly work. Podcasts are an excellent resource because they are a great way to engage with the research community and research process, as well as the subjects of our research. The four podcasts chosen specifically for this post focus on Spanish as a heritage language, though some of the episodes within the podcasts include other heritage languages. The goals of this post are threefold: provide podcast resources to expand readers’ knowledge of the research, community, and teaching as related to Spanish as a heritage language, help grad students connect with a broader community of Spanish speakers, including scholars in the realm of heritage languages, and continue to develop our own understanding of this important field and consequently improve our own research.
Heritage by Design: This podcast features two heritage speakers of Spanish and one heritage speaker of Chinese as hosts of this resource focused on storytelling and community among heritage languages. The first few episodes of this new podcast highlight the hosts’ experiences as heritage language learners.
I really enjoyed listening to the first episode that describes what a heritage language is, as well as how the hosts didn’t grow up knowing the terminology, and how they reacted when they learned about the area of research and teaching practices. I appreciated learning about the process of understanding how research might define a lived experience. I also appreciated the third episode in which one of the hosts describes what being “.5” generation means and her language experiences. Her words made me consider how I approach discussing heritage languages with my students and research participants.
We Teach Languages: This podcast highlights language teachers by interviewing them over a variety of topics, and is hosted by Dr. Stacey Margarita Johnson and her team. The podcasts chosen for this series discuss heritage language instructional practices and resources for instructors and researchers of heritage languages.
There are several episodes about heritage language teaching, but my favorite was the conversation with Dr. Damian Vergara Wilson (episode 116) where he discussed strategies for engaging with diverse students (in both their identities, linguistic abilities, and linguistic confidence). After listening, I’m cognizant about the “background” questions I ask participants in my research practices as well as seeking out research to guide questions most relevant to heritage language research. I also enjoyed Dr. Johnson’s conversation with Dr. Maria Carreira (episode 83) where she discussed the importance of accessible teacher resources and the National Heritage Language Resource Center. I have since visited the NHLRC website for resources and to find publications from scholars in the field!
Entre Dos Podcast: Raising Bilingual Kids: Two mothers raising bilingual daughters discuss facets of bilingual life, education, and upbringing in this resource. I only recently found this podcast, but have really enjoyed listening to parent perspectives in raising bilingual children, as well as how they read and conceptualize research about bilingualism as non-researchers. This podcast guided me in considering new methods of research as well the importance of ethical practices when researching a community.
I especially enjoyed listening to their conversation with Dr. Sabine Little, which discusses identity among bilingual parents and children, as well as community efforts in providing multilingual resources to families. This podcast discusses the importance of research as part of the larger bilingual community, and how our research can have community impact!
UCLA: National Heritage Language Resource Center (NHLRC): The NHLRC podcasts are part of the larger federally-funded resource center that develops and implements pedagogical resources for instructors and researchers of heritage languages. Of special note is the conversation with Dr. Alegría Ribadeneira where she discusses best practices for mixed classes and how to help all students contribute their knowledge and experiences in classes was both helpful and inspiring! If you are interested in publishing what and how you have taught heritage language learners in the classroom, consider submitting your work to SPR in our Notes from the Classroom section!
Spanish and Portuguese Review Relevance
Although only a few specific episodes are highlighted above, the podcasts mentioned here all offer multiple episodes related to language experience, research, and teaching. Understanding how language functions in the world is relevant to all our research, and hearing individuals’ stories, how researchers conduct their investigations, and how teachers address diverse populations can guide all of our research to be more diverse, equitable, and ethical. It is important to unpack resources that discuss research, community, and experience because SPR seeks to spotlight diversity in the scope and authorship of publication.
As you listen to the podcasts, I encourage you to think about your own research, writing, and publication process. How does language experience and community play a role in your research agenda? How can learning about heritage languages influence your field of research or personal commitment to instruction? What does an author communicating stories about or from other people need to be mindful of when translating the stories onto a page?
I highly recommend listening to these podcasts whether you research heritage speakers/learners, are interested in bilingualism, or are a heritage speaker! These podcasts offer multiple perspectives on heritage languages, with other episodes branching out to consider the broader themes of teaching, research, and bilingual communities. I hope that you will not only find these podcasts helpful for your research agenda, but for your journey as a graduate student!
If you have listened to any of the podcasts, let us know in the comments below. We’d love to know your favorite episodes! If you have other podcast recommendations, please reach out! And, remember, share your experience with heritage language instruction and submit a write-up to our Notes from the Classroom section!
Stay tuned next month for more graduate student resources!
Carreira, Maria, host. “Organizing Principles and Best Practices for Mixed Classes”. National Heritage Language Resource Center Podcast, 11 July 2019, https://nhlrc.ucla.edu/nhlrc/article/205289.
Gaby, Jade, Meagan, hosts. “Who are Heritage Speakers?”. Heritage by Design, episode 1, 16 December 2022, https://www.podomatic.com/podcasts/heritagebydesignpodcast/episodes/2022-12-16T09_54_00-08_00.
Johnson, Stacey, host. “We Teach Languages Episode 116: Linguistic Variation and Serving Diverse Heritage Learners with Damian Vergara Wilson”. We Teach Languages, episode 116, 13 September 2019, https://weteachlang.com/2019/09/13/116-with-damian-vergara-wilson/.
Leal, Monika and Niño Kehr, Paula, hosts. “On Heritage, Language and Identity”. Entre Dos Podcast: Raising Bilingual Kids, 1 February 2019, https://entredospodcast.com/2019/02/01/on-heritage-language-and-identity/.
Teresa Blumenthal is a PhD student at the University of Texas at Austin. Her research interests include Heritage Spanish, language attitudes, educational motivation, Spanish in the U.S., and language acquisition. She is particularly interested in Spanish spoken in Texas, and the language attitudes related to Spanish in Texas.