I am my language: discourses of women & children in the borderlands

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University of Arizona Press, Sep 1, 2001 - Family & Relationships - 220 pages
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"I am my language," says the poet Gloria AnzaldAa, because language is at the heart of who we are. But what happens when a person has more than one language? Is there an overlay of language on identity, and do we shift identities as we shift languages? More important, what identities do children construct for themselves when they use different languages in particular ways?

In this book, Norma GonzAlez uses language as a window on the multiple levels of identity construction in children--as well as on the complexities of life in the borderlands--to explore language practices and discourse patterns of Mexican-origin mothers and the language socialization of their children. She shows how the unique discourses that result from the interplay of two cultures shape perceptions of self and community, and how they influence the ways in which children learn and families engage with their childrenas schools.

GonzAlez demonstrates that the physical presence of the border profoundly affects the practices and ideologies of Mexican-origin women and children. She then argues that language and cultural background should be used as a basis for building academic competencies, and she demonstrates why the evocative/emotive dimension of language should play a major part in studies of discourse, language socialization, and language ideology.

Drawing on womenas own narratives of their experiences as both mothers and borderland residents, "I Am My Language" is firmly rooted in the words of common people in their everyday lives. It combines personal odyssey with cutting-edge ethnographic research, allowing us to hear voices that have been muted in the academic and public policy discussions of "whatit means to be Latina/o" and showing us new ways to connect language to complex issues of education, political economy, and social identity.

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Contents

A Place 1n the Borderlands
3
Las Familias
15
F1nd1ng Emot1on 1n All the Wrong Places
33
Copyright

6 other sections not shown

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About the author (2001)

Norma Gonzalez is an Associate Research Professor in the Bureau of Applied Research in Anthropology at the University of Arizona. She teaches and does research in the area of anthropology and education, as well as in language socialization and borderland household analysis.