Event Title

Decorative Language Diversity: Analyzing the Online Linguistic Landscapes of Midwestern US HSIs

Location

SU 003

Department

Linguistics

Abstract

This paper investigates the online linguistic landscape (LL) of 21 Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs) in the American Midwest to uncover the role that Spanish plays vis-à-vis English. I argue that Spanish primarily serves as an emblematic (Matras 2009, Matras and Robinson 2015) or symbolic (Bagna and Bellinzona 2022) function. The cases where Spanish is used communicatively and informatively are overwhelming geared toward families or adult programs. Throughout these websites, the English language is privileged (i.e., it serves as the primary, featured language). The sites analyzed vary considerably in the amount of Spanish in their respective LLs; the few instances of translanguaging (cf. Sherris and Adami 2019) are symbolic and unreflective of service to Hispanic/ Latinx students. For example, Dominican University has a webpage about payment options entirely in Spanish; however, this information appears to be targeted not towards (potential) students but, rather, to their families. National Louis University offers English and Spanish bilingual images taken from the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline on its Wellness Center’s “About Us” page, with no comment or other information about suicide prevention or mental health services in Spanish on their site even when there are services available in Spanish. Access to these Spanish services must be done via English. Some sites feature slogans that incorporate Spanish, such as Dominican University’s “Mission and Ministry” page proclaiming “¡El Futuro Is Here!” Other than these slogans, there tends to be little to no other Spanish on the webpage, emblematic or otherwise. While it is unsurprising that these websites are English dominant as all these institutions offer English-medium instruction, the paucity of Spanish, especially for a communicative function, is shocking given the HSI status of all of these colleges and universities. We might argue that the limited use of Spanish on these websites is “not only tokenistic, but reductive” (English and Marr 2015:240). Thus, the analyzed HSI websites reinforce and perpetuate English language hegemony and monolingualism in US higher education.

Faculty Sponsor

Richard Hallett, Northeastern Illinois University

This document is currently not available here.

Share

COinS
 
May 6th, 10:20 AM

Decorative Language Diversity: Analyzing the Online Linguistic Landscapes of Midwestern US HSIs

SU 003

This paper investigates the online linguistic landscape (LL) of 21 Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs) in the American Midwest to uncover the role that Spanish plays vis-à-vis English. I argue that Spanish primarily serves as an emblematic (Matras 2009, Matras and Robinson 2015) or symbolic (Bagna and Bellinzona 2022) function. The cases where Spanish is used communicatively and informatively are overwhelming geared toward families or adult programs. Throughout these websites, the English language is privileged (i.e., it serves as the primary, featured language). The sites analyzed vary considerably in the amount of Spanish in their respective LLs; the few instances of translanguaging (cf. Sherris and Adami 2019) are symbolic and unreflective of service to Hispanic/ Latinx students. For example, Dominican University has a webpage about payment options entirely in Spanish; however, this information appears to be targeted not towards (potential) students but, rather, to their families. National Louis University offers English and Spanish bilingual images taken from the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline on its Wellness Center’s “About Us” page, with no comment or other information about suicide prevention or mental health services in Spanish on their site even when there are services available in Spanish. Access to these Spanish services must be done via English. Some sites feature slogans that incorporate Spanish, such as Dominican University’s “Mission and Ministry” page proclaiming “¡El Futuro Is Here!” Other than these slogans, there tends to be little to no other Spanish on the webpage, emblematic or otherwise. While it is unsurprising that these websites are English dominant as all these institutions offer English-medium instruction, the paucity of Spanish, especially for a communicative function, is shocking given the HSI status of all of these colleges and universities. We might argue that the limited use of Spanish on these websites is “not only tokenistic, but reductive” (English and Marr 2015:240). Thus, the analyzed HSI websites reinforce and perpetuate English language hegemony and monolingualism in US higher education.