The University of Florida’s Spanish Heritage Language Program, housed within the Department of Spanish and Portuguese Studies, is proud to offer courses specifically designed for heritage speakers/heritage language learners.
Are you a Heritage Speaker/Heritage Language Learner?
Heritage Language Learners are students who grew up surrounded by the Spanish language and culture, even if as adults they feel more comfortable speaking English. Exposure to the heritage language typically takes place in the home environment, but can also take place through the community or time spent in a Spanish-speaking country. Because of these varied experiences, heritage speakers make up a very heterogeneous group; some feel comfortable using the heritage language in different contexts, while others may experience some insecurities, particularly using the language in formal contexts. It is our main goal to help students develop an appreciation of their cultural and linguistic heritage while working to improve their language skills.
At UF, our approach to the notion of “heritage” in this context is one that stresses a living heritage, as opposed to a “hand-me-down”. Our definition is therefore not that of a dormant aspect that needs be brought back, but one that is dynamic, it is present, and it is future.
If you are unsure if you are a heritage speaker, ask yourself the following two questions:
- Did you grow up speaking and/or listening Spanish at home?
- Would you say that the Spanish language and the culture are an important part of who YOU are?
If the answer to these questions is positive, then you may very well be a heritage speaker. We encourage you to consider taking classes with us.
Please know that you can take classes with us even if you are not planning on minoring/majoring in Spanish. We would love to have the opportunity to talk to you further about our classes and our program.
Why take classes with us?
Because of their experiences growing up, unlike traditional second language learners, heritage language learners tend to have a very strong connection to the language and to the culture, and this is the point of departure in our program. We value and appreciate what they bring to the classroom. We use such a fantastic resource to develop students’ appreciation of their home language and their home language.
Unlike popular belief, our classes are not harder, nor more advance than other Spanish classes; they are simply different because in their approach to understanding our relationship with language and culture.
Our ultimate goal is to provide a supportive and effective learning environment that, not only considers the bilingual/bicultural background of our diverse student body, but also fosters and encourages its appreciation and development. We hope to meet UF students’ specific needs by exploring topics related to their own sociolinguistic/cultural/historical (etc.) backgrounds and by offering exciting learning opportunities both inside and outside the classroom. To this end, we offer three core courses, from intermediate to advance. You will start at the level that best suits your needs! You can take these courses even if you are not planning in getting a minor or a major in Spanish.
We offer the following courses in the program
SPN2340 – Introduction to Reading and Writing for Spanish Heritage Speakers
An intermediate-level course for Spanish Heritage Speaker who had little or no formal exposure to the language. The course emphasize practice in reading and developing vocabulary and introduces grammar and orthographic rules. Includes selected literary readings from Hispanic/Latino and Spanish or Spanish-American writers. Credits: 3. Required of all majors and minors who are Spanish Heritage Speakers. Prerequisite: (students may place out of this level and start at a higher level).
SPN3350 – Spanish Grammar and Composition for Spanish Heritage Speakers
Emphasizes the normative aspects of the language and grammar that are problematic for students who have learned the language through extended exposure outside the classroom. Develops vocabulary, style and ability to use different levels of language. This course is a prerequisite for most 3000/4000-level Spanish courses. Prerequisite: placement test administered by the department, departmental permission, or SPN 2340 with minimum grade of B.
SPN4314 – Advanced Composition and Syntax for Spanish Heritage Speakers
Emphasizes aspects of Spanish style, syntax and registers. Some formal training in the language is expected (SPN 3350 or equivalent in a Spanish-speaking country). Prospective students must take a department placement test. Credits: 3. Prerequisite: SPN 3350 with minimum grade of B or placement test administered by the department.
Please note that you will not be able to register to classes until you have taken the placement test. If you have any questions about the program, placement, requirements and/or registration please contact Dr. Víctor Jordán-Orozco, the program’s coordinator.