sirable language mix due to language proficiency deficiencies in one of the languages in contact, CS is a resource in the bilingual repertoire which is more frequently employed by the most proficient bilinguals; thus not caused by the lack of language abilities. Toribio also indicates that CS is a common practice for bilinguals even though it “is not an essential trait of Latino speech” in the US, in traditional immigration areas/communities like NYC, Chicago, and Miami “where two languages are represented and where there is intense and longstanding contact between them (541).” More so, “for some US Latinos, code-switching may represent an unmarked code, a conventionalized norm of social behavior” and in many cases, also a symbol of identity (541). “The following chapter, Language and Social Meaning in Bilingual Mexico and the United States by Norma Mendoza-Denton and James Gordon outlines and discusses the social construction and negotiation of social meanings, social value and the creation of identities in reference to language contact phenomenon emerged from Spanish and English (in the US) and Spanish and indigenous languages (in the Americas). The discussion reveals the complexity of the negotiation of identity and the value of ethnic group practices. The reader can clearly perceive that ideologies impact socialization practices and social values. Minority languages, language contact phenomena such as codeswitching, and ethnic people are usually portrayed in stereotypical ways. More so, the authors stress “[t]here is overwhelming evidence in the United States of racialization and foreignization of both Spanish and bilingualism (558).”  However, there is resistance to this dominant view (561). Chapter 27 Intrafamilial Dialect Contact by Kim Potowski looks into an infrequently studied area: US Spanish language accommodation, more particularly in bilinguals when their parents speak different dialects. As Potowski affirms, Spanish in the US is heterogeneous. Furthermore, in big cities, there is a confluence of Spanish from many regions, and sometimes they are in contact. Potwoski refers to Parodi and Santa Ana's (2001) claim that Spanish spoken in Los Angeles consists of a koiné which is based on Mexican Spanish. In other cases, when the speakers of different Spanish dialects do not mix or socialize, there may be little or no impact on the other group’s dialect. In contrast, the Spanish of children from mixed couples from Puerto-Rican and Mexican descent in Chicago (i.e., Mexiricans) (Potowski 2008 and Potowski & Matts 2008) tend to mold their speech on their mother’s dialect (590).  Guadalupe Valdés and Michelle Geoffrion-Vinci outline a research agenda to promote the maintenance of Spanish as well as improve the current educational practices for heritage learners in Heritage Language Students: The Case of Spanish. Valdés and Geoffrion-Vince discuss the problems in defining heritage students, a term which generally refers to individuals who have been raised in a Spanish-speaking home in a non-English dominant environment and as a result may have different levels of Spanish proficiency. Valdés and Michelle Geoffrion-Vinci provide the reader with a historical synopsis on development of curriculum and implementation of instructional practices for non-traditional students of Spanish; that is heritage students. As the authors indicate, the research on Spanish heritage speakers’ learning or linguistic attrition has three different objectives. The first kinds of studies are not interested in education but concerned on “L1/L2 acquisition and development” (607), while the second orientation aims at evaluating “existing pedagogical practices and argues that instruction needs to be directly informed by research in language maintenance within the field (608).” The third approach examines the role of heritage students’ language identity and academic achievement to argue for the use of speakers’ native language in the classroom. The authors conclude that to favor “the development and maintenance of Spanish heritage language resources (…) will require the careful and systematic investigation of different types of heritage learners and of the effect of various types of instruction on the development/ re-acquisition of their heritage language (613).” Chapter 29, Language Maintenance and Language Shift among US Latinos by Jorge Porcel also addresses, as in the previous chapter, the topic of Spanish maintenance and shift in the US, although it does it from a sociolinguistic perspective. Porcel examines the factors that promote language maintenance and how this varies in Spanish speech communities around the US. In his concluding remarks the author indicates that it is impossible to predict whether Spanish is being maintained because “the dynamics of LM within the US Latino community are complex and blurry” and “[t]he mere fact that LMLS are ongoing processes, whose directionality can change at any given moment (640).” In Mockery and Appropriation of Spanish in White Spaces: Perceptions of Latinos in the United States Adam Schwartz examines the mechanics of gringoism a “performance of a White, monolingual (un)consciousness” (656) which reclaims in-group membership, and mock Spanish, a racist type of linguistic production by monolingual Anglos for humorous purposes. Schwartz shows how US Anglo’s appropriation and use of Spanish in the public sphere is a way of performing Whiteness and set it as a norm. It also serves to index Spanish speakers as the others and as being backwards. In Language Policy/Planning, Language Attitudes and Ideology Planning Spanish: Nationalizing, Minoritizing and Globalizing Performances, Ofelia García discusses and contrasts, in a concise historical frame, language planning (or the lack thereof) in Spain,  Latin America, and Spanish in the US to then analyze the status of language planning in a global era. García reveals how differently the planning paths of Spanish have been in Spain and in Latin America in relation to the US. While in the latter, Spanish was established as a national language by means of more explicit legislation and state institutions such as the Academia de la Lengua Española, in the US, where the planning of English has been implicit and without any institutionalized language institute backed by the State, Spanish “has been planned as a minoritized language through dominant ideologies and discourse (667).” However, Spanish has acquired more status as a global language, thus is attaining more prestige and Latino bilinguals in the twenty-first century are appropriating its use and projecting their “multiple globalized Spanishes into the world scene (667).” The chapter Bilingual Education in Latin America, by Serafín Coronel Molina and Megan Solon, surveys the emergence of bilingual education for indigenous groups mainly in Bolivia, Ecuador, Guatemala and Perú. The authors indicate that in the 70’s indigenous communities in these countries started fighting for more rights as citizens and claiming for more participation and a better education.  Since they have become more visible in the last century, their needs have been better addressed by these states. However, the implementation of bilingual education is still being negotiated in these areas as indigenous communities want and demand more self-determination in the implementation of the programs for them. In Chapter 33, Variation and Identity in Spain Manuel Hernandez-Campoy outlines how Spanish variation in the Spanish peninsula emerges as a sign of different speech communities building/creating their social distinctiveness. Hernandez-Campoy briefly describes the development and standardization of Castilian Spanish tied to the Nation-building process which was intended by the state to create a perception of national unity and of Spanish identity. Even though Castilian has been imposed in the peninsula, different dialectal varieties have emerged because they preserve local values, practices and identities.  The author distinguishes three main dialects in Peninsular Spanish that he labels: (a) Español estándar, a traditional Castilian Spanish which is the national standard, (b) Español sevillano, the regional standard based in Seville, and, (c) Español común, an emerging interdialectal/transitional variety. In fact, these dialects are shaped by two ongoing antagonistic processes taking place in central and southern Spain. The first one is a process which causes dialects to converge toward the standard variety. It affects some transitional varieties in the middle-Eastern Spanish peninsula such as Murcian and Eastern Andalusian regional varieties. A more innovative second trend is based in Seville. Education and the media are among the factors which have enabled the transmission of more standard forms such as the distinction between /s/ and /Ɵ/, which was nonexistent before.  The detailed analysis of the cross-sections of the Murcian dialect shows that there are processes of convergence as well as practices of the preservation of traditional non-standard features (i.e., /s/ deletion and vowel opening). This exemplifies the performing of their speech distinctiveness. Chapter 34, Variation and Identity in the Americas by Mercedes Niño-Murcia, looks at the same process as in 33, but in the new continent. Niño-Murcia begins by finely detailing the two theoretical models which explain the symbiotic relationship between language use and identity enactment: an essentialist and a postmodernist/ constructionist model. Working within the constructionist theory, this author emphasizes the agency that subjects have in the process of building and representing themselves though different means, but centrally with language. Niño-Murcia also indicates that sociopolitical factors affect peoples’ views and perceptions of self, and may determine the way they portray themselves linguistically and in different situations/contexts. In this chapter, an analytical distinction is made between the linguistic performance of identity in: (a) multilingual settings where speakers choose to embrace either Spanish or an indigenous language, and in (b) contexts where dialect variation represents not only the social, but also the geographical and ultimately individuals’ performance of nationality. The examples provided reveal that language ideologies are shaped by people’s social and educational experiences, their ethnicity, and national affiliation. For instance, Niño-Murcia refers to a study that examined a Kaqchikel-Mayan group that chose their language, Maya, as a symbol of their ethnicity for self-preservation. There is also a reference to a Chilean Humorous TV show episode where actors concentrate on signaling the differences between neighboring Chilean and Peruvian language varieties (that share many common linguistic traits) for the performance of Chilean national identity. A third situation also of identity employing language and mentioned by Niño-Murcia is that of transcultural individuals. In that case, speakers show linguistic membership to a community or a group in a foreign country. Such is the case of Latinos in the US. In the US “Spanish speakers (…) first find ways to confront language difference and prejudice, and later develop a code that intertwines Spanish and English (742).”  Clare Mar-Molinero and Darren Paffey’s Linguistic Imperialism: Who Owns Global Spanish? closes both, this section and the  handbook.  In this last chapter, Mar-Molinero and Paffey discuss how the term Linguistic Imperialism coined by Phillipson (1992) for the English language can be applied to the Spanish case. Linguistic Imperialism as defined by Phillipson (1992: 47) refers to the “ideologies, structures and practices which are used to legitimate, effectuate and reproduce an unequal division of power and resources (both material and immaterial) between groups which are defined on the basis of language (748).” Mar-Molinero and Paffey see a parallel with the Spanish situation since Spanish as a global language has become a product or commodity which is promoted by certain organisms which have more power than others. Indeed, as the authors show, Spain has been able to sustain linguistic imperialism because it has been able to profit from the demand of the language as a commodity. It has also been able to spread and legitimize the peninsular Spanish. Spain has been able to control the teaching of Spanish in the global market. The Instituto Cervantes, as the analysis shows, has been crucial in this endeavor.  

Overall, the handbook provides the reader with a diversity of topics in Spanish sociolinguistics and it can easily be read by a broad public interested in exploring these areas. It is done by an international pool of specialists which makes the book more reputable. I should note that the textbook shows a tendency, at least in the first sections of the book, to favor the review of topics within the variationist framework.  In a second edition, it would be interesting to see topics like language and gender, language and age, and language and socialization discussed, also, from other sociolinguistic approaches.  These are minor caveats, but overall it is wonderful contribution to the field.


Eckert, Penelope and McConnell-Ginet, Sally. 2003. Language and Gender. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Labov, William. 1991. The intersection of sex and social class in the course of linguistic change. Language Variation and Linguistic Change 2. 205-251.

Parodi, Claudia and Santa Ana, Otto. 2001. The Los Angeles Spanish Koiné. Paper presented at La Primera Reunión de Pronombristas: An invitational workshop on the sociolinguistic study of Spanish subject personal pronouns. Graduate Center, City University of New York.

Phillipson, Robert H.L. 1992. Linguistic Imperialism. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Poplack, Shana. 1978. Dialect acquisition among Puerto Rican bilinguals. Language in Society, 7, 89-103.

Potowski, Kim. 2008. “I was raised talking like my mom”: the influence of mothers in the development of MexiRicans’ phonological and lexical features. Linguistic identity and bilingualism in different Hispanic contexts, ed. by J. Rothman and M. Niño-Murcia 201-220. New York: John Benjamins.

Potowski, Kim and Matts, Janine. 2008. Interethnic language and identity: MexiRicans in Chicago. Journal of Language, Identity and Education 6(3). 137–160.

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