The Latino forms a large group of the minority groups in the United States. They are immigrant and most of them originated from Spanish. They come from different origins hence they differ in some areas and are also similar in some ways. The article explains the circumstances that the Latinos have in language and literacy.
The review focuses on the socialization involved in the acquisition of the two languages. The article also introduces the Anthropolitical perspective in relation to the Latino language and education (Pousada Para 2). Below is a review of language and literacy in Latino families and communities.
Language and Literacy in Latino Families and Communities
This article vividly illustrates the situation of the Latinos living in America. It reveals that the bilingual students can learn both languages and have a normal development (Zentella 1). The education system favors the English language which is most often spoken language in the United States.
Those with the Spanish accent are ridiculed and often lose confidence because of the stereotypes about the Spanish. Students therefore prefer to speak and learn in English. On the other hand their parents encourage their children to learn and adopt the Latin culture especially those who are unable to cope up with school dropout. As a result, parents are blamed for the large number of school dropouts.
The population of the Latino is constantly increasing. They live in the south west of the country. Majority of the Latinos lived in New Mexico, others can be found in New England, Texas and California. Latino is a heterogeneous group; teachers claim that they meet different Latinos every year in the education sector.
This is so because most are immigrants or born of immigrants of Mexican origin. Despite holding on to their own beliefs, they have become increasingly diverse in their community (Salazar Para 2). According to Farr (1), the immigrants came to America because of the economic opportunities and not because of the American culture.
The Latino varies in the way they socialized into adulthood. The variation of the socialization agents causes them to be different. The church, the school, the community institutions as well as home play a big role in both adults and children. However, the socialization does not make them have differences, they have areas of similarities.
Zentella (3) states that parents make decision concerning their child’s education. A group of Latino parents emphasize that their children must learn to use both English and Spanish in school, while others emphasize that their children learn in Spanish as well as the Spanish culture. Zentella support the view that parents are at all times concerned with their children’s education.
Farr (3) argues that the students who uphold their Spanish background and choose to be bilingual become accomplished. They manage to learn and secure competent jobs in the United States. On the other hand, their parents are willing to support their children.
Farr (3) reveals that the parents agree to training so that they help them as individuals and also help them assist their children with their educational needs. However, being a speaker of the first language, English does not guarantee a future with a good job. Students must work hard to complete their education.
It is possible to be bilingual and have a normal development as those learning in a single language. Learning two languages simultaneously does not cause delay in learning either of the languages.
Although there are advantages and disadvantages of using the first language in the initial development, Zentella (9) mentions that children can have a normal development and experience the advantages of using the first and the second language in learning. The notion of the first language at times can be used in learning the second language.
A language study involves learning the social context. One cannot avoid learning the culture when acquiring another language. The focus is laid on the ability to communicate effectively rather than the grammatical competence. The child understands and ability to use the language is what matters in the development (Zentella 6).
The child’s development of speech and language is largely dependent on the immediate environment. For instance, children learn new words and their usage from people surrounding them. The language leant reflect beliefs and traditions of the people they reside with. For instance, every culture has specific names which refer to father and mother and a clear defined way of how children must respond to elders. Furthermore, traditions define what is suitable for certain gender and different age groups.
Acosta (2) notes that there is cultural diversity among the Latinos. It has been affected by the Jews, Muslims, and Spanish and largely by the Catholic faith. The Latinos also have different ethnic groups. Each group adapts to different slang depending on the influence of the place of origin. This is emphasizes what Zentella (8) states, that the students can be identified by their accent and where they originate from.
There is a significant difference between the way a student uses language and the way it is used in their culture. Regardless of whether the language is the first or second language and the usage is equally different at home and in the classroom. Educators who consider use of words with cultural meaning in class assist the student to understand and increase knowledge.
Children are socialized using language. They learn their language while being socialized in the community. The result of this socialization is that students learn the language, the culture and become members of the community by using the language.
The child is therefore addressed as a member of the community rather than as an individual. In his study Farr (3) argues that children learn from other children when they are in peer groups more than when taught by the teacher. The peer groups are necessary for the students to learn the second language.
There are similarities and differences within the Latino communities. Academic institutions which have bilingual student concentrate on one language and focus on its background. The traditions of the Latino in relation to bringing up the children play a role in socializing the children. The students fail to give verbal contributions in class. This is because the parents use different approaches in socializing the child from the approach the education institute use (Zentella 8).
The bilingual students are caught in imperfect speech patterns. They are often misinterpreted and most often feel unrecognized. The Latino uses the Spanish and English dialects in their speech. Students with speech problems can become devastated by the ridicule and stereotypes spoken against Spanish speakers. The media use the Spanish accent to make jokes. Students with a Spanish origin often feel uncomfortable even though most of them were born in the United States.
The Anthropolitical perspective as stated by Zentella (9) points out the ideological, structural and political hindrance to achieve equality. It differs with the scientific approach that the government uses. The scientific approach advocates for the use of a dominant language. This is the use of English. The Anthropolitical approach emphasizes the existence of different people with different cultures, speaking different languages and having diverse worldviews.
The Latinos behavior in the way they socialize their children is as a result of the information and the attitudes towards the English speakers of Spanish origin. The Latinos have a big task to counter the stereotypes that have been created by the English who advocate for a single language in education. The parent’s task is to make use of opportunities to correct the ill ideologies.
Racism has been transferred from color to languages. Those who speak Spanish language are considered a minority. Anthroplitical perspective views language as a channel that will help in learning difficult social processes (Zentella 9). According to Pousada (1) the educators and the Latino caregivers should enter into some form of agreement.
The agreement should lay emphasis on ways of eradicating false notions and negative attitude towards a language. Cultural diversity should be appreciated and people learn to respect one another. Prevailing groups can avoid speaking ill of the minority and stop seeing their way of bringing up their children as inferior.
The article focuses at the socialization of the Latinos. Their culture affects their development of learning the second language. Parents are actively involved in the development of language and education. Parents also advice and make decisions for the students. They are blamed for poor performance and the literacy levels of their children.
It is possible for the students to be bilingual. The students learn best when they are with their peers. They can learn their culture in addition to their own culture of origin. The differences in belief and origin could be appreciated if the dominant language does not form stereotypes about the minority groups.
Acosta, Jorge. Sharing our Latino Culture, 2011. Web. 15th March 2011
Farr, Marcia. Latino Language and Literacy in Ethnolinguistic Chicago: The reading Matrix, Vol.6. (2). Mahwah, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc. 2006. Web. 15th march 2011
Pousada, Alicia. Building on Strength: Perspective on Language and Literacy in Latino Families and Communities. Teachers College, Columbia University Working Papers in TESOL & Aplied Linguistics, 2006. Vol. 6. No. 1 Web. 15th March 2011
Salazar, Malena. Building on Strength: Language and Literacy in Latino Families and Communities. Latino Studies, vol. 5, 270-272, 2007. New York: Teachers College Press. Web. 15th March 2011< http://www.palgrave-journals.com/lst/journal/v5/n2/full/8600250a.html>
Zentella, Ann. Celia. Building on Strength: Perspective on Language and Literacy in Latino Families and Communities, Chapter 1. New York: Teachers College Press, 2005.