Hispanic Ministry in the 21st Century (bilingual edition)

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Multilingual Education. December , Cite as. Suggestions are made to carve out a space wherein we might imagine an adequate implementation of bilingual education. The sociopolitical linguistic landscape in Paraguay is unique, complex, and even contradictory. With Spanish being the dominant language in official domains, it is essential for Paraguayan children to learn Spanish. To contextualize interviews, I provide a historical background, explain language ideologies and diglossia, discuss instrumental and integrative values of language, and review previous relevant studies in the following sections preceding my own analysis.

The country is surrounded by the Paraguayan and the Parana Rivers, running from the Atlantic to the eastern foothills of the Andes. Concerning language and culture, most indigenous speakers within Latin America have had to do one of two things: 1 turn from their roots to culturally and linguistically assimilate into the dominant sociolinguistic hegemony or 2 cling to their roots and become culturally and linguistically isolated. Paraguayans have had to do neither.


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After independence from Spain in , Fernando de la Mora, a political leader who had been inspired by a Rousseauian Enlightenment education, advocated for Spanish as the sole language of instruction. The sociolinguistic landscape changed during the War of the Triple Alliance against Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay from to As was the case with the War of the Triple Alliance, the language was appreciated as a symbol of national identity as well as a strategic tool [ Engelbrecht and Ortiz ].

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The General Education Law assures that students receive education in their mother tongue. Nonetheless, Paraguayan public education today has not much changed from decades past. The issue is that the bilingual language policy, coupled with Spanish-only language practice in official realms, has failed to improve either the quality of education or Spanish proficiency Pic-[ Gillard ]. Or, do they drop out because the education system fails to properly teach them in their native tongue?


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  5. This language ideology can be better understood through the lens of diglossia, the existence of two languages whereby one has a more privileged function in certain domains. In the theory of diglossia, the language with more formal functions and higher prestige is called the language of high variety H as opposed to the language of low variety L , with informal functions and lower prestige. For instance, H is used in public administration, schooling, mass media, business, and commerce, while L is used within the context of home and family, social and cultural activities in the community, and correspondence with relations and friends [ Baker ].

    Given that H is used in official domains, the speakers of H benefit socioeconomically from their ability to speak that language while the speakers of L are disadvantaged. Consequently, the speakers of L start favoring and learning H, usually to the detriment of L. How do we interpret this peculiar diglossia in the context of the Paraguayan sociolinguistic climate?

    There are two language values that may influence language use and attitudes: instrumental value and integrative value. These language values are often unconscious. Although these two terms are not easily defined, the instrumental value of language is largely socioeconomic, while integrative value is principally sociocultural. Learners with instrumental motivation have practical reasons for learning language.

    In Latin America, for example, despite its sociopolitical prestige and functions, former colonial languages, such as Spanish and Portuguese, may already be detached from the colonial context in many respects, possibly because Latin America gained independence in the early nineteenth century and the majority of Latin Americans have spoken the former colonial languages for generations. That is to say, Spanish and Portuguese have become engrained in Latin American cultures.

    There is also the commercial utility of multilingualism to consider both within and across speech. This suggests their preference for languages with instrumental value over languages with integrative value. Legitimation of language refers to giving a language legal status as part of language policy, while institutionalization of language is to translate the language policy into practice.

    The aforesaid Quechua and Aymara, for example, have been granted official status and thus are legitimized but have not been institutionalized. French in Canada is an example of the institutionalization of a language. Rubin noted that the choice of language depended upon the situation at hand. For instance, none of the participants in Itapuami used Spanish when they spoke with their spouses or grandparents or drank tea with their friends. On the contrary, if the situation was formal, the language choice was Spanish.

    Likewise, if the relationship was not intimate, the language choice was Spanish. According to Rubin, there were certain social identities that required formal behavior, and thus the use of Spanish in some situations such as patient-doctor relationships and student-teacher relationships was the norm.

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    Her study depicts the diglossic reality present in Paraguay. Even in familiar and informal settings, she concludes, more Paraguayans are now showing preference for Spanish. It is in this context and within this framework that my research was conducted and my data were analyzed. Parents, teachers, intellectuals, and policy makers were selected because they form a socio-political pyramid in education from the policy level to the operational level. Language policies are decided at the policy level, rendering opinions of officials from the Ministry of Education very important.

    At the operational level, however, bilingual policy has often been invisible without having materialized properly. In order to examine the process of how language policy has been transmitted or not to the public, interviews with actors at each level are considered essential, but no extant empirical research includes all of them. Which language do you speak to your children at home and why?

    If you do not have children, which language would you teach them and why? The first question concerning which language is spoken to children was intended to examine the language attitudes of the interviewees. These questions were developed based on my pilot studies as well as consultations with various scholars in the field and were adapted as necessary. Benitez confessed a dilemma of this diglossic situation. This creates a diglossic situation.

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    Some interviewees, however, feel that these changes are superficial. Yet, in reality, very little or nothing has been done. Teachers do not respect the mother tongue of students and they teach in Spanish as they used to do because they find it easier to continue what they have been doing. Thirty-seven percent of Hispanics in were under 30 years of age Klineberg , 9 and more than one third of all Hispanics are high- school dropouts Klineberg , The growth and neediness of the Hispanic community has created difficulties for the Evangelical church.

    Andres Tapia reported in Christianity Today that, "Rapid Latino growth in evangelical churches is a point of both pride and consternation for the historic evangelical denominations. Latino evangelicals of 25 years ago have swelled to nearly 6 million today - more than 20 percent of all U.

    ragepome.tk Just as the Hispanic community is not monolithic in nature, neither is the Hispanic church. Even Evangelical Christianity is characterized by the strains of diversity. Fernando Cascante of AETH believes that faculty can be the greatest resource for change, but also the greatest obstacle to change. Father Presmanes of Barry University says that prioritizing Hispanic ministry must happen at the board level. Experts in Hispanic theology say that Latin American Christians can make significant contributions to North American theological reflection.

    He suggests that with a strong emphasis on spiritual practices in everyday life, Latino theology can help bridge a divide between theory and practice that can exist within academic theology and at the congregational level. They are attuned to the prophetic dimension of the gospel. Cox says that Latino Catholics often emphasize family life, devotional life, and celebration, and that these enrich the entire community.

    But he notes that the experience of marginalization also has something to contribute to the larger American church. But if Latin Christians have experience on the margins of North American society, the place of Christianity in Latin America itself is both central and ancient.

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    And that, he says, is a great gift. For example, I self-identify as Cuban American. Hispanic is most often used in the Northeast and in official Catholic documents.

    On the West Coast and in academic circles, the term that is most often used is Latino. Another interesting dynamic is that Mexicans think of themselves as Latino and everyone else as Hispanic.

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    I think that at some point we will get a mutual definition, but for now the term used depends on who the person is and where they are located. Almost 70 percent of survey respondents said that Latin Americans in the United States have many different cultures rather than a common culture. One Book Stands Alone. Only registered users can write reviews. Please, log in or register. It was a pleasure to find your store and order the items from a Christian based business instead of Amazon.