Identity Labels and Self-Reported Language Use: Implications for Spanish Language Programs


  • Daniel Villa Ph.D.,

    1. New Mexico State University
    Search for more papers by this author
    • 3

      Daniel Villa (Ph.D., University of New Mexico) is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Languages and Linguistics at New Mexico State University, Las Cruces.

  • Jennifer Villa M.B.A.

    1. New Mexico State University
    Search for more papers by this author
    • 4

      Jennifer R. Villa (M.B.A., University of New Mexico and Ph.D. Candidate in Management at New Mexico State University) is the Graduate School Statistical Assistant at New Mexico State University, Las Cruces.


ABSTRACT  Demographic changes in the U.S. population are reflected in the students entering Spanish language instruction programs. These programs face a student body with a wide range of language skills; from those with no knowledge of Spanish to those who are natively fluent in the language. In response to the increasing number of students who enter Spanish classes with some degree of heritage language skills, many programs across the nation have instituted what are commonly called Spanish for Native Speakers (SNS) courses. However, participation in such classes is generally not mandatory, and not all students who possess heritage language skills enroll in SNS programs, opting instead for classes designed for non-native speakers. This article, then, examines the relationship between self-identification labels and self-reported language use, among other factors, of students who have self-selected into SNS courses. A principal goal of this study is to work toward a better understanding of certain identity features of students with heritage language skills, in order to inform future curriculum development in student-centered SNS programs.