Implementational spaces for language practice and education policy: a case study of linguistic landscape in Puerto Rico




Maldonado, Mirta

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This dissertation study examines how linguistic spaces become places as they influence, and are influenced, by language policies, linguistic practices, and social action. It also attempts to explain how the analysis of contextualized language display uncover issues about language ideologies and practices within a given socio-cultural space such as linguistic landscape (LL) as a "social phenomena" (Hesse-Biber & Levy, 2011, p.10), as well as in language education. The idea is to explore further the relationship that languages have with the contexts they inhabit, and whether or not this could influence the success or lack thereof of language maintenance and/or learning. The data collection included in this study takes place in the city of Guaynabo City Puerto Rico where the linguistic context seemingly allows spaces for both English and Spanish to interact with each other in the same spaces. In addition, there has been a gradual shift towards English use in the public spaces that permeates the city that would allow Guaynabo residents to construct a unique identity particularly as an English speaking community. It is important to establish that although some other cities have attempted this shift, they have not been successful as successful as Guaynabo City. Because this represents an explicit attempt at language status planning (Wiley, 1996), it makes the city a compelling case study, as it represents one potential direction that language policy may go in Puerto Rico. Furthermore, Puerto Rico's linguistic situation is unique in the sense that policies that are created an enacted in relation to language have been funneled through the education system rather than through language legislation in other contexts such as public signage. Thus, this dissertation study investigated further how implementing de jure versus de facto language policies within these spaces may vary according to language practices or how they are displayed in their respective language ecosystems. Thus, it connected the data profiling the city's public signage display to language ideologies and practices in education. In other words, how the language ecology (including LL, LPP, and language education) characterizes this distinctive linguistic spatial community as an English speaking society.


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English as a Second Language, Language education, Language ideologies, Language Planning and Policy, Linguistic Landscape, Nexus Analysis



Bicultural-Bilingual Studies