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'They can tell that you're second generation': Understanding the complexity of heritage language and identity

1:00 PM - 2:00 PM

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Join us on Friday, October 30th at 1pm for “'They can tell that you’re second generation': Understanding the complexity of heritage language and identity” presented by guest speaker Dr. Amelia Tseng.

Dr. Tseng is an Assistant Professor in World Languages and Cultures at American University, Washington, D.C. and a Research Associate appointment at the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage. Using a linguistic and anthropological perspective, she will apply a raciolinguistic lens to examine the ideologies contributing to misunderstanding of second-generation immigrants’ multilingual repertoires and language practices, and the ways in which they internalize and resist imposed deficit identities, drawing on an ongoing project with with Latinos in the Washington DC metropolitan area. 

One key topic will be how ideologies linking language with identity, reified by notions of race and ethnocultural belonging, create assumptions about who should speak what language, with both positive and negative consequences for heritage speakers. Another will be the notion of what it means to speak a language, making reference to monolingual bias and native speaker privilege. Inter-group diversity and social hierarchies, such as colorism and dialect prejudice/prestige, will also be discussed. While the talk focuses on Spanish, it will also touch on English, as both languages are part of the dynamic linguistic repertoires which bilinguals use to communicate and to construct and understand their identities. The talk will conclude with discussion of the relevance of these themes for education and broader social issues.

Zoom link: 

Meeting ID: 835 8919 7879 
Passcode: 103020 

Question Submission: Registrants are encouraged to submit questions before the event by sending them directly to Elizabeth Kissling at

More information about Dr. Tseng can be found at 

This event is sponsored by the Department of Latin American, Latino & Iberian Studies; the Department of Languages, Literatures & Cultures; and the Linguistics Program at the University of Richmond.