Heritage Paper


Length:          1000 – 1200 words  Format:         12-pt font •double spaced •1-inch margins all around •Name, course & date in upper left-hand corner •add a title Grading:        10% of final grade Purpose: As we have discussed in class, your identity consists of multiple dimensions. In this paper, you will identify the dynamics of your linguistic, cultural and social identity. Use the Ramos (2001), Hinton (1999) and Demont-Heinrich (2010) articles as resources and cite them at the end; you may also integrate other readings that you have done on this topic. Begin the paper with an introductory paragraph defining what is identity; some of its characteristics; how is it constructed. This should be the general theme of your entire discussion. Also make sure the paper has an original title. Then, examine your own cultural and linguistic identity. Describe how you see yourself as a cultural being. What is your racial, ethnic, national origin? How do gender and class define you? What are some other attributes that you use to label yourself? What is your self or internal identity (the labels you accept for yourself; the groups you feel you belong to)? What is your social or external identity (the labels placed on you by others which you may or may not accept)? External labels can be true or untrue. Do you consider yourself bicultural or a product of blended cultures? Describe what you know about your linguistic heritage over the last four or five generations of your family. How important is your linguistic heritage to you? Which languages or dialects of your linguistic heritage do you speak? With whom do you speak them?Do you ever codeswitch between these languages/dialects (i.e. use both in a single sentence or conversation)?  If so, with whom? Are there some languages which you understand but don’t speak?  Are there members of your extended family with whom you cannot communicate because you do not share a common language? What kinds of problems, if any, does this create? If you and your parents or grandparents are not fluent in the same language, in what ways does this affect your relationship with them? Discuss any of the following that apply to your situation: language shift, the sources for learning English, heritage or first language loss or maintenance, language attitudes, parents’ goals for their children, the role of schooling and other influences. Are you linguistically privileged or cursed?If you are a native speaker of English, do you feel a sense of privilege and elitism? If so, why? If not, then why not? Describe, provide examples of, and critique the language attitudes that pervaded the environment in which you grew up. What are your attitudes towards standard/non-standard languages; foreign accents; prestige and non-prestige accents or dialects?

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