Multilingual San Diego: Portraits of Language Loss and Revitalization

By Moyna, Maria Irene | Southwest Journal of Linguistics, June 2011 | Go to article overview

Multilingual San Diego: Portraits of Language Loss and Revitalization


Moyna, Maria Irene, Southwest Journal of Linguistics


Multilingual San Diego: Portraits Of Language Loss And Revitalization. BY ANA CELIA ZENTELLA San Diego, CA: University Readers, 2009. Pp. 200. Paperback $34.95.

In her preface to Multilingual San Diego, Ana Celia Zentella (henceforth Z) presents two reasons why her edited collection is so valuable. The first is that it provides the only ethnolinguistic description so far of the bilingual communities in San Diego and its surrounding areas. The second attribute is the highly participatory gestation of the book: the articles started out as student papers in Z's Ethnic Studies courses at the University of California San Diego. The result is a scholarly piece that both documents the resilience and resourcefulness of linguistic communities and exemplifies what can be achieved by promising students led by outstanding teachers.

The book is organized into chapters and short vignettes written in a style that straddles the academic and the journalistic, aiming to appeal to both a scholarly and a lay readership. In all, it presents information about Arabic, Chinese, French, Hebrew, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Kumeyaay, Mixtec, Persian, Russian, Somali, Spanish, Tagalog, and Vietnamese. Some of the languages are better represented than others, as a reflection of both demographics and student interest. For example, there are two articles about Spanish, Japanese, and Tagalog, but other languages, such as French, German, Chinese, and Vietnamese, are described in a single vignette. Illustrations are provided through photo-collages and population maps, and census data are presented in appendices. The book can be used as a reference, and it makes an interesting case study for linguistic diversity, minority languages, linguistic rights, language policies and language planning.

1. PURPOSE. Z starts by outlining the general purpose and goals of the book. She shows that behind San Diego's sunny and relaxed exterior hides a reality of isolation of ethnic groups, disenfranchisement of undocumented immigrants, and general social mistrust. The resulting fragmentation jeopardizes the city's rich linguistic and cultural diversity, as immigrant children are under pressure to assimilate. Z then reviews the history of multilingualism in Spanish and Mexican San Diego (1769-1821 and 1821-1848, respectively), discusses state and local measures affecting bilingualism in the 19th and 20th centuries, and highlights San Diego's changing social attitudes in the bilingual education debate. On the one hand, the city witnessed the first successful challenge to educational segregation in U.S. history (the Lemon Grove incident) and was an early implementer of bilingual education. On the other, it also swiftly eliminated those programs in the nineties after the passage of Prop. 227, an anti-bilingual measure stoked by the mistaken belief that English is endangered by the arrival of non-English speakers. In fact, Z reminds us that the reverse is true: while English is under no threat, home languages are lost at an alarming rate, justifying the characterization of San Diego as a 'graveyard for languages'. The ethnolinguistic vitality of San Diego's heritage languages is studied through the framework of Giles, Bourhis and Taylor (1977), which measures how each language fares in terms of the variables of status, demography, and institutional support. The aim of the book is to present 'San Diego's multilingual history and the benefits of multilingualism--both individual and societal--in the hope of removing the stigma that results in linguistic death and contributes to intergenerational friction and academic failure' (p. 26).

2. FIRST SECTION. The first section (Demography) includes articles about Kumeyaay, Spanish, and Mixtec. Chapter 1 (by Maxx Phillips) focuses on Kumeyaay, an endangered Yuman language indigenous to San Diego and Imperial counties in California and across the border, in Baja California. His estimates are not promising: although 12 of the 17 Kumeyaay tribes retain some variety of the language, estimates of proficient speakers range from ten to 50 elders. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Multilingual San Diego: Portraits of Language Loss and Revitalization
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.