Modern Foreign Language Heritage Speakers

“I grew up bilingual, speaking Spanish at home. I rediscovered the language formally in college and really fell in love with it. Now I want to help other heritage speakers have similar experiences.” – Rogelia Lily Ibarra, PhD, Assistant Professor of Spanish 

Dominican’s student population is about 25 percent Hispanic, so the university has many students who grew up speaking Spanish at home. 

Like Prof. Ibarra, heritage speakers speak the language fluently. But they may not have learned much grammar or read Spanish-language literature. Once they arrive at Dominican, young adult heritage speakers may be ready to increase their formal knowledge of the language that is so comfortable to them at home and in social settings. 

The Modern Foreign Languages department is eager to welcome heritage speakers and will place them in an appropriate course, usually SPAN 231, Hispanic Identity and Language. 

This four-credit course is specifically designed for Hispanic students. It includes an off-campus service learning experience and satisfies Dominican’s multicultural core requirement. 

After completing this course, heritage students will be prepared to take more advanced grammar, composition and literature courses in Spanish. Many heritage speakers go on to major or minor in Spanish.