Bilingualism Isn’t Just for White Kids Transcript

Thanks to Dr. Lina Hou for paying for this transcript and giving it to us!

Megan Figueroa:   Welcome to the Vocal Fries Podcast, a podcast about linguistic discrimination.

Carrie Gillon:             I’m Carrie Gillon.

Megan Figueroa:        And I’m Megan Figueroa. I have some behind-the-scenes info we, or at least I, always forget our intro. [Laughter]

Carrie Gillon:             I do, too.

Megan Figueroa:        It’s, like, 11 words. [Laughter] Well, you forget who goes first –

Carrie Gillon:             Yes, you’re right.

Megan Figueroa:        – or who, who says it, and I forget what it actually is. [Laughter] I think it’s, like, um, right before you go out and speak in front of a audience or something [laughs], I have the same thing but when recording for a podcast, so I always forget the intro.

Carrie Gillon:             [Laughs] But you remember.

Megan Figueroa:        Uh, yes. [Laughter] And if I didn’t, we would’ve waited until I did. [Laughter]

Carrie Gillon:             That’s true.

Megan Figueroa:        The power of editing when recording.

 

Carrie Gillon:             So, this is our last episode of 2018.

 

Megan Figueroa:        Yes, uh, happy late Christmas [laughter], everyone that celebrates.

 

Carrie Gillon:             Happy holidays.

 

Megan Figueroa:        Yes.

 

Carrie Gillon:             Season’s greetings. All of the other ones. [Laughs]

 

Megan Figueroa:        Yeah. Happy winter – winter solstice passed.

 

Carrie Gillon:             [Laughs] Happy Christmas, if that’s the way you say it.

 

Megan Figueroa:        I started saying that just to pretend like I’m at Hogwarts with Ron.

 

Carrie Gillon:             [Laughs]

 

Megan Figueroa:        And Harry, that first, uh, in that first movie. [Laughter]

 

Carrie Gillon:             Yeah, uh, apparently, they use both “happy” and “merry.”

 

Megan Figueroa:        Oh, okay.

 

Carrie Gillon:             I, for a long time, thought they only said “Happy Christmas.” And then –

 

Megan Figueroa:        Yeah.

 

Carrie Gillon:             – at some point, I realized that that’s not true. It’s just maybe more salient to us because it’s “wrong.” [Laughs]

 

Megan Figueroa:        Yeah.

 

Carrie Gillon:             Quote-unquote wrong.

 

Megan Figueroa:        Yeah, well, you know how Americans like to be quote-unquote “right.”

 

Carrie Gillon:             [Laughs]

 

Megan Figueroa:        I mean, [crosstalk].

 

Carrie Gillon:             No, in this case, it’s North American.

 

Megan Figueroa:        Oh, well, yeah.

 

Carrie Gillon:             Yeah.

 

Megan Figueroa:        Uh, I never wanna drag anyone else into it. [Laughter]

 

Carrie Gillon:             Okay, so, we have some e-mails. So, Katie, uh, messaged us to say: “Thank you so much for your episode about Philly English. I grew up outside of New York City, but my husband’s family is from the Philly area. My mother-in-law grew up in south Philly has a positive anymore that you discuss in that episode. I’d figured out what it means from hearing it so much, but it still made me feel a little confused every time I heard it.” Same, uh, I mean, I know what it means, and I still have to, like, stop and process it – [Laughs]

 

Megan Figueroa:        Wait, can we do it again? Say, say, um, “I like to go there anymore.”

 

Carrie Gillon:             Yeah.

 

Megan Figueroa:        And that means you’re still actively going there and you like it.

 

Carrie Gillon:             It means you didn’t used to go there, but now you do.

 

Megan Figueroa:        There’s a change in state.

 

Carrie Gillon:             Yeah, so, or, like, “He smokes anymore.” He didn’t used to, but now he does.

 

Megan Figueroa:        Okay.

 

Carrie Gillon:             “I’m so glad I finally understand. My husband doesn’t seem to have positive anymore in his speech, but he also doesn’t think it sounds remarkable in any way.” So, he probably does, but it just hasn’t –

 

Megan Figueroa:        Right.

 

Carrie Gillon:             – you just haven’t heard it, yet. Um, “I’ve noticed that he and his side of his family, um, all have another construction that I don’t have. Where I might say, ‘I’m done with,’ or finished with something, they drop the ‘with’ and just use ‘done.’ For example, he might say, “I’m done this book,” or, “I’m done dinner.” Do you know if this is a feature, characteristic of Philly English, as well? Or if adding ‘with’ is a feature of New York English? Thanks so much, and love the show.” So, yes, I do know. Do you know?

 

Megan Figueroa:        No, tell me.

 

Carrie Gillon:             Okay, so, uh, there are some regions – Philly is one of them, Canada is another – where –

 

Megan Figueroa:        Ah –

 

Carrie Gillon:             – you don’t need to use the “with.”

 

Megan Figueroa:        So, tell it to me, tell me something.

 

Carrie Gillon:             Like, “I’m, I’m done my homework.”

 

Megan Figueroa:        Yeah, I definitely don’t have that.

 

Carrie Gillon:             Yeah, it sounds really strange to people who don’t have the feature, but – and I think – I’m pretty sure it’s, like, Philly – and maybe that’s it – uh, or Pittsburg, too? I can’t remember, but it’s, it’s not very common in the United States, at all, but it’s really common in Canada.

 

Megan Figueroa:        Meaning, everywhere in Canada?

 

Carrie Gillon:             As far as I know – I’ve never heard anyone say, “Oh, this region doesn’t have that.” But that doesn’t mean that’s [laughs] not the case.

 

Megan Figueroa:        Right.

 

Carrie Gillon:             So, if anyone knows if there’s a regional distinction, let me know. But it’s very widespread, regardless.

 

Megan Figueroa:        Well, that’s fun. Um, oh, you posted some – you, on Tweeter, um, [laughs] posted, uh, great – ten, our ten best episodes of 2018. Could I just say that I’m really impressed with Philadelphia? [Laughs]

 

Carrie Gillon:             Seriously.

 

Megan Figueroa:        It’s, like, y’all make me wanna go visit – [Laughs]

 

Carrie Gillon:             It’s a great city.

 

Megan Figueroa:        Yeah. Oh, you’ve been there. Um, you love your city and your – the way you speak, and I love it.

 

Carrie Gillon:             [Laughs]

 

Megan Figueroa:        And it’s infectious, um – and thank you to Betsy Sneller, Dr. Betsy Sneller, um, for talk –

 

Carrie Gillon:             Yeah, for blowin’ up. [Laughs]

 

Megan Figueroa:        Woo, yeah, after, um, she was on the show, she got – she did a morning radio show, which is fun.

 

Carrie Gillon:             Mm-hmm.

 

Megan Figueroa:        Um, yeah, so, Philadelphia. And it was one of my favorite titles that we did, too.

 

Carrie Gillon:             That is true. [Laughter]

 

Megan Figueroa:        So, that’s cool.

 

Carrie Gillon:             I mean, it was literally just taken from the episode itself, but –

 

Megan Figueroa:        Yeah, it was literally a quote. [Laughter] Um, so, thanks, thanks, Betsy, for that.

 

Carrie Gillon:             So, we did have another e-mail from someone who seemed to really think that switching, like, language pronunciation of a, of a proper name, with, within a different language –

 

Megan Figueroa:        Mm-hmm.

 

Carrie Gillon:             – so, you switch from English to Spanish pronunciation, or English to French pronunciation, but just for the name, the proper name of the town –

 

Megan Figueroa:        Mm-hmm?

 

Carrie Gillon:             – the place name. Um, I seemed to think that think that was just not done.

 

Megan Figueroa:        [Laughs] [Crosstalk]

 

Carrie Gillon:             And it, it is, and we actually have an example of it, in this very episode, the way that, um, Abi pronounced Peru.

 

Megan Figueroa:        Yeah, that’s true.

 

Carrie Gillon:             It’s – it happens.

 

Megan Figueroa:        My dad does it all the time. He would never not say it with, like, the Spanish pronunciation, eve, even when he’s speaking English, there’s no way.

 

Carrie Gillon:             Yeah, I think if it’s your, if it’s your, your language, and you’re speaking in your second language, you’re probably gonna just use your first language’s pronunciation. And sometimes it’s the other way around –

 

Megan Figueroa:        Yeah, I mean, and I feel guilty not doing it, because in Arizona, we have a, um – I don’t know, is it more a town, not a city – um, Casa Grande, and I always say “Casa Grand,” like everyone, everyone else in Arizona. [Laughs]

 

Carrie Gillon:             Yeah, because that’s the, uh, at least the Anglo, uh, Arizona pronunciation.

 

Megan Figueroa:        Right?

 

Carrie Gillon:             When, when I first got here, I kept calling it “Casa Grande,” I mean, it’s still anglicized, but, like, I thought that’s how you pronounced it. And it took me forever to realize it “Casa Grand.” [Laughs]

 

Megan Figueroa:        Oh, yeah. [Laughs]

 

Carrie Gillon:             Which I, I actually kind of, uh, I don’t know, place names are so fascinating, and I kinda like it when they get mangled like that, like, it’s fun.

 

Megan Figueroa:        And there’s a lot of emotion, like, attached to it, too.

 

Carrie Gillon:             Yeah. Yes, uh, yeah, that, I think that’s, that’s exactly the, the point, like, if, if someone is pronouncing it in a particular way, there’s probably a reason for that, so, why shit on them for doing it?

 

Megan Figueroa:        Yeah.

 

Carrie Gillon:             Okay, so there, there is one more, um, e-mail that we got, um, from Tony, uh: “My name is Tony, and I just listened to your podcast about the Philly accent – ” So, yes, the Philly one blew up. Anyway –

 

Megan Figueroa:        Yes.

 

Carrie Gillon:             Uh, “I have to tell you, I loved it. I’m from the Philly area, both parents born and raised in Philly, and I found your show very interesting. I also have a podcast called Finding Subjects – ” Um, and I listened to it, and he does have a Philly accent. It’s really –

 

Megan Figueroa:        Yeah?

 

Carrie Gillon:             It’s really cool. Yeah. Um, “I noticed when I’m doing the show by myself, I talk different than when I have a guest on.”

 

Megan Figueroa:        Mm-hmm.

 

Carrie Gillon:             “Alone, I seem to pronounce words less Philly-like, but when a friend is on, I’m more Philly, and I never realized that until listening to your show.”

 

Megan Figueroa:        Yep.

 

Carrie Gillon:             “So, feel free to listen to my show, to hear the diff, diff, difference.” And, uh, I haven’t heard one with him talking to someone else, but I heard the Philly accent – well, when he was talking by himself. So, I just can only imagine –

 

Megan Figueroa:        Oh –

 

Carrie Gillon:             – how much more Philly-like it gets. [Laughs]

 

Megan Figueroa:        Yes, that’s my favorite, because, I mean, we’re just social creatures.

 

Carrie Gillon:             Yes.

 

Megan Figueroa:        Even, uh, as, like, I mean, I, ultimately, would, you know, probably rather be alone and reading, but [laughs], I mean, still a social creature, right? We’re all social creatures.

 

Carrie Gillon:             Yeah.

 

Megan Figueroa:        And it’s, like, when I am around someone that speaks Spanish, uh, my vowels get different.

 

Carrie Gillon:             Mm-hmm, yeah. Uh, he also said, uh – I just, I only mention this because I wanna give a blanket, blanket okay to people – um: “If you don’t mind, I’d like to men, mention your show on my next episode?” Yes. [Laughs]

 

Megan Figueroa:        Oh, yeah, yeah.

 

Carrie Gillon:             Um, anybody, you don’t have to ask us, you can talk about us. [Laughs] I mean, obviously, if you’re mean, you can still do it – it’s your show.

 

Megan Figueroa:        Yeah, I mean –

 

Carrie Gillon:             [Laughs]

 

Megan Figueroa:        I got asked if, um, someone could use, um, a link to one of our episodes, in a presentation they were giving at a conference. Um –

 

Carrie Gillon:             Oh, very cool.

 

Megan Figueroa:        Yeah. And of course.

 

Carrie Gillon:             Yeah.

 

Megan Figueroa:        Please.

 

Carrie Gillon:             Feel free. I mean, it’s kinda out there in the public, right?

 

Megan Figueroa:        Yeah.

 

Carrie Gillon:             So –

 

Megan Figueroa:        I mean, that’s why it was so scary to start a podcast, because now my – you know, I’m just out there.

 

Carrie Gillon:             Mm-hmm.

 

Megan Figueroa:        But we knew that. [Laughs]

 

Carrie Gillon:             Yeah.

 

Megan Figueroa:        So –

 

Carrie Gillon:             Yeah. Um, and, and, it’s, like, we wouldn’t put it out there if we didn’t feel good about it, so, yeah.

 

Megan Figueroa:        Yeah, exactly.

 

Carrie Gillon:             Yeah.

 

Megan Figueroa:        Anyway, yes, please share.

 

Carrie Gillon:             So, today, we are talking with Dr. Abby Bajuniemi about heritage languages.

[Music playing]

 

Megan Figueroa:        We’re so excited, today, to have Dr. Abby Bajuniemi. Um, she received her Ph.D. in Hispanic linguistics, from the University of Minnesota, in 2015. And we are going to talk about heritage languages, today, which is very exciting.

 

Dr. Abby Bajuniemi:   Yep.

 

Carrie Gillon:             Mm-hmm.

 

Megan Figueroa:        Um, I feel like heritage languages are something that kind of pop up in medias, in media a lot. So, let’s just, like, go straight into what is a heritage language.

 

Dr. Abby Bajuniemi:   Sure. Um, I am using one from Anne Kelleher, who is at the University of California Davis, and this is from, uh, the Center for Applied Linguistics. Um, her definition is: “In general, the term ‘heritage language learner’ is used to describe a person studying a language who has proficiency in or a cultural connection to that language. However, just as there are different kinds of heritage languages, there are different types of heritage language learners.”

 

Megan Figueroa:        And do you get the sense that this is, um, something that gets represented in media, just kinda like code switching is?

 

Dr. Abby Bajuniemi:   Mm-hmm –

 

Megan Figueroa:        ‘Cause I’ve seen this thing where, like, code switching is just used kind of to talk about anything, these days. Do you think the same thing’s happening with heritage language learner?

 

Dr. Abby Bajuniemi:   I think so, because, um, I think a lot of the time, when people hear “heritage language learner,” they think of people of color, usually, Latinx or Hispanic people, um, because by far, it’s the largest, uh, second-language group in the United States. So there’s this, like, whole thing around, “Well, why don’t you learn English? You should be speaking English.” And so, there’s this – it’s – there’s this, like, misunderstanding of what a heritage language learner or speaker is, and the stigma that goes along with it, too. Because you have non – uh, you have white people who are heritage speakers of languages, as well.

Like, you could consider my spouse a heritage speaker of Swedish, because his grandfather came over from Sweden, and, um, his family grew up. And he has got really, uh, pretty much receptive, uh, bilingualism, as far as the Swedish language goes, ’cause he didn’t really speak it very much. But, but that’s another type, but you don’t really hear people talk about that, or –

 

Megan Figueroa:        Right, because it’s not as stigmatized.

 

Dr. Abby Bajuniemi:   Right, mm-hmm.

 

Megan Figueroa:        I was thinking about this before we started to chat. Um, in 2005 – so I don’t know if this is how it’s still being done, but when I was an undergraduate going to University of Arizona, I had to take this computer test to place me into, um, a foreign language class [crosstalk] take Spanish.

 

Dr. Abby Bajuniemi:   Yep.

 

Megan Figueroa:        And when I took the Spanish test, there was, like, some demographic info they wanted, and they were, like, “Did you ever hear Spanish in the home?” and I clicked yes. Um, but I don’t, I’m not a productive speaker of Spanish –

 

Dr. Abby Bajuniemi:   Mm-hmm.

 

Megan Figueroa:        – but at the end of this test, I still got placed in a heritage language class for Spanish.

 

Dr. Abby Bajuniemi:   Mm-hmm.

 

Megan Figueroa:        And which I believe in a level that was way beyond what I could perform at.

 

Dr. Abby Bajuniemi:   Mm-hmm?

 

Megan Figueroa:        Do you have any sense of if this is still happening, or what’s going on with that?

 

Dr. Abby Bajuniemi:   That’s actually really early for that sort of thing to be happening. In my, um, in my experience, a lot of those placement tests don’t consider background at all. Um, when, certainly, when, when I took the placement test in 2000s, they, it was just, you know, you, you test in the modalities, and then, uh, you get placed based on how well you scored on the exam. There’s no questions about, you know, have you ever heard this language in your home, or been in this country, or anything like that. So that’s actually, uh, sort of ironically progressive?

 

Megan Figueroa:        Yeah.

 

Carrie Gillon:             Yeah. [Laughs]

 

Megan Figueroa:        But also, I was, like, “Oh, I think I should put – like, they probably want to hear no – ” Well, they don’t wanna hear no, but, like, if I put no, I might be placed in what I really should be placed in, you know?

 

Dr. Abby Bajuniemi:   Yeah –

 

Megan Figueroa:        But I, I didn’t wanna say no.

 

Carrie Gillon:             But you would have, still, like, a leg up, then, over people –

 

Megan Figueroa:        It’s true.

 

Carrie Gillon:             – who had the same level of skills but hadn’t heard it in the home. So it’s not completely wrong –

 

Dr. Abby Bajuniemi:   Right.

 

Megan Figueroa:        Yeah.

 

Carrie Gillon:             – what they did. Maybe they just put you slightly too high.

 

Megan Figueroa:        Yeah.

 

Dr. Abby Bajuniemi:   Yeah. So the thing, the problem with that is that, there usually weren’t, and aren’t, enough people that identify as a heritage language, language speaker, to justify entire sections of each level of class.

 

Carrie Gillon:             Yeah.

 

Dr. Abby Bajuniemi:   So what you end up having – and I had tons of students like this – I mean, when I say “tons,” I, I mean, like, teens of them. [Laughs] Uh, but they would be varying levels of proficiency, a lot of them were what we call perceptive, um, so, they have a lot of listening and reading skills, maybe not writing and, and speaking. These students would get put in levels that were above their productive capabilities, and so, that would –

 

Megan Figueroa:        Right.

 

Dr. Abby Bajuniemi:   – lead them to feel really – it would lead to a lot of linguistic insecurity, because you have all these, like, Anglo students who are “speaking better,” in quotation marks, than you –

 

Megan Figueroa:        Right.

 

Dr. Abby Bajuniemi:   – and –

 

Megan Figueroa:        And “writing better” than, quotation marks, better than you.

 

Dr. Abby Bajuniemi:   Yeah.

 

Megan Figueroa:        Because they learned where to put the accent marks –

 

Dr. Abby Bajuniemi:   Mm-hmm.

 

Megan Figueroa:        – and all these things.

 

Dr. Abby Bajuniemi:   And you’re, like, “Oh, now we’re gonna practice subjunctive,” and they’re, like, “What the, what the fuck is that?” [Laughs]

 

Megan Figueroa:        Yeah, exactly, no, totally. Where they can, you know, these, these, quote-unquote, “heritage language speakers” that are placed in these classes, um, can use the subjunctive and they don’t know they’re using the subjunctive.

 

Dr. Abby Bajuniemi:   Mm-hmm.

 

Megan Figueroa:        But they’re gonna still feel insecure –

 

Dr. Abby Bajuniemi:   Mm-hmm.

 

Megan Figueroa:        – at least, you know, if there, if it’s the right environment for that, to grow some insecurity, right?

 

Dr. Abby Bajuniemi:   Yeah. And there’s so much other stuff that parents are actually doing to their kids, too, that in, that adds to that insecurity, as well. Like, uh, one of participants in my dissertation was actually a heritage speaker of Spanish. Her mom was from Argentina, and her dad was from the United States. And so, she grew up hearing and speaking Spanish, and, you know, she had Argentine relatives and everything, but there was this moment where her mom was, like, “I’m, I’m not doing this, anymore. We’re not raising a bilingual child.” Because, uh, because racism, um, so she stopped encouraging her to speak Spanish.

And so, she ended up in this, like, intermediate Spanish class in her college, and I – so, my, my study was just, uh, was an ethnographic study of, um, language production over time. And so, she wore this little lapel microphone, and she would forget that it’s there, and sometimes she would talk to herself. And she, you know, she would talk to her classmates and stuff, they did a lot of, like, groupwork, and her accent was just pure Argentine, it was so interesting and beautiful to listen to. And her, her classmates would be, like, “Gosh, you just sound so great when you speak. You know, I love your accent. Sounds so cool.”

And she’s, like, “No, I’m not good. No, no, I’m just like you guys. No, I’m not, I’m not.” And she just had so much reluctance to speak in class, for the longest time, because, you know, she would try to practice with her mom, and her mom was, like, “No, I’m not doing that. You’re not good enough. I’m not – you know, this is – ”

 

Megan Figueroa:        Ugh –

 

Carrie Gillon:             Ugh –

 

Dr. Abby Bajuniemi:   Yeah, she’d say, “I, I’m too – I, I have too much stuff to do. I can’t sit here while you try to tell me something and it doesn’t sound right.”

 

Megan Figueroa:        Oh –

 

Dr. Abby Bajuniemi:   And –

 

Megan Figueroa:        Oh, that’s so –

 

Carrie Gillon:             Ugh –

 

Dr. Abby Bajuniemi:   Yeah, so there, there’s, like, layers.

 

Megan Figueroa:        – terrible. I mean, I, you know, I’m used to the story where very, very – well, I mean, her mom, in her own way, was probably well-meaning. But I hear the stories of very –

 

Dr. Abby Bajuniemi:   Mm-hmm.

 

Megan Figueroa:        – well-meaning parents, like my dad who just was, like, kind of subconsciously was, like, “Not gonna teach my kids Spanish, because it’s stigmatized.”

 

Dr. Abby Bajuniemi:   Yep.

 

Megan Figueroa:        “They might as well get the easiest route through life, here, um, so I don’t have to worry about that.”

 

Dr. Abby Bajuniemi:   Yep.

 

Megan Figueroa:        Um, but to hear, like, this kind of, like, “No, ugh, your, you know, I can’t hear your accent, right now – it’s not right,” is, is hard to hear.

 

Dr. Abby Bajuniemi:   Yeah, and then there are other students who are told – it’s sort of that, like, you know, “You’ll have an easier time in life if you just speak English all the time, and you’ll have the advantage that I don’t have because I don’t speak English all that well.” Um, there’s this other level of, um, “Well, we don’t speak ‘good,’ quotation mark, Spanish, because we’re from a poorer rural community in Guatemala, or something like that, and we don’t speak, quote-unquote, ‘proper Spanish.’ So, um, you’re, by default, not going to speak it, either, so you need to go to Spanish classes and learn ‘good Spanish.'” And so, they get that from their parents, like, you know, “What we speak at home isn’t good.” And then you’ll have, usually, white teachers, who have never studied sociolinguistics, who are also, like, “You don’t speak good Spanish.” And so, [laughs] there’s, like, all these things coming at these poor kids, to try to undermine their confidence in their abilities.

 

Megan Figueroa:        What can we do better, at the university level, I’m thinking of – ’cause that’s where you taught, right?

 

Dr. Abby Bajuniemi:   Yeah, yup, yep.

 

Megan Figueroa:        Um, what can we do better for these, these students that are labeled heritage language learners?

 

Dr. Abby Bajuniemi:   Ugh, god, so many things. So, the ideal thing with that, you, would be that you have a parallel track for heritage language learners, from the beginning to the advanced level, that is structured more like a language arts class, instead of a foreign language class. And so, you start with content-based curriculum from the beginning, instead of, you know, some of the stuff that we’re doing right now, with our second language, uh, learners, which is a lot of communicative stuff. Which is good, but it’s also not necessarily content-based, and so it’s not taking advantage of this cultural knowledge and receptive abilities. Like, you’re not doing as many movies or readings or, you know, in-depth readings.

Um, a lot of places are kind of moving towards that, ’cause they see the value in both, for heritage language learners and traditional second-language learners, um, but there are still a lot of places that aren’t doing that. So, having that parallel track is, I think, the ideal. Um, in reality, I, I don’t think that there are budgetary allowances for that, um, in both the faculty and in what the administration will pay for, you know, opening new sections, and things like that.

 

Megan Figueroa:        Right.

 

Dr. Abby Bajuniemi:   Because if you have, like, if you have a small program and you have five heritage language learners, and each one is at a different level, I mean, you know, you can’t open a section for each one of those people, right? Moving more, more towards a content-based curriculum I think would, is really helpful. Uh, making your teachers, whether you’re in high school or postsecondary, take a sociolinguistics class –

 

Megan Figueroa:        Yeah.

 

Carrie Gillon:             [Laughs]

 

Dr. Abby Bajuniemi:   – and stop talking about how their home language is terrible. And framing it more as a, like, “Okay, I’m gonna teach you a different register. You have your home register, which is valid and good and great. What I’m teaching you now is academic Spanish,” which is what I did –

 

Megan Figueroa:        Right.

 

Dr. Abby Bajuniemi:   – um, when I was teaching, you know? ‘Cause we didn’t have the heritage language track, ’cause we didn’t have the enrollment to justify it.

 

Megan Figueroa:        Right.

 

Carrie Gillon:             Yeah.

 

Dr. Abby Bajuniemi:   That’s, like, the bare minimum, though. [Laughs]

 

Carrie Gillon:             Yeah. [Laughs]

 

Megan Figueroa:        Yeah. I got the sense, as a student, at university, that it was always PHG students that taught foreign language classes.

 

Dr. Abby Bajuniemi:   Yeah, the majority of the faculty that taught language classes was, uh, non-tenure track or, uh, graduate students.

 

Megan Figueroa:        I mean, my TA training at the university level was bullshit, let’s be real.

 

Dr. Abby Bajuniemi:   Yeah.

 

Carrie Gillon:             But did you actually get any? Because I didn’t. I was just, like –

 

Megan Figueroa:        It was, like, a pamphlet.

 

Carrie Gillon:             – “Here – ” A pamphlet is still more than I got. I was, like, “Here’s the – here’s what you’re gonna be, uh, talking about in your tutorial. Bye.” [Slaps hands together] [Laughs]

 

Megan Figueroa:        Yeah –

 

Dr. Abby Bajuniemi:   So, we actually were forced to take a methods class, a teaching methods class –

 

Carrie Gillon:             That’s good. [Laughs]

 

Dr. Abby Bajuniemi:   – our first semester. It still wasn’t enough, but we were forced to do it just because – I got my degree in a, in a foreign language department, and so, they knew that we were all, like, their undergraduate language, you know, grunt work army. So, we had to. I mean, the literature people, the culture people, and the linguistics people all had to take a language acquisition pedagogy course, at the start of our, our careers.

 

Megan Figueroa:        And did you think it was a good course, just not enough, like, it was a beginning?

 

Dr. Abby Bajuniemi:   Yeah, it was, it was good; it wasn’t necessarily enough. It gave you the basics to start doing thoughtful lesson planning and figuring out how to make tasks that, you know, will promote language acquisition and use, and things like that. And, and course design, and, uh, assessment design, and those sorts of things. So, we, we created exams together, and we created some lessons together, and basically learned the foundation of language acquisition. But, again, it wasn’t – we didn’t really talk about heritage language learners. That was me taking further linguistics classes and sociolinguistics classes, that helped really, um, cement that.

 

Megan Figueroa:        I’m thinking about how the, the second point that you made of “we can do better” is to, to treat the, the language of the home as, um, valid, which is so true. And I actually, uh –

 

Dr. Abby Bajuniemi:   Mm-hmm.

 

Megan Figueroa:        – ran across – I don’t know if it was a paper or a conversation about how – and I’ve said this, like, in our first episode, how I’m, like, people need to hear my vocal fry different, you know? Like, I don’t have to change me.

 

Dr. Abby Bajuniemi:   Mm-hmm.

 

Carrie Gillon:             Yeah, no.

 

Megan Figueroa:        People have to hear my vocal fry different. That’s how I feel about, um, like, the Spanish we bring from home or whatever, um, is, “Ugh, people need to fucking start listening to our Spanish differently.” And I just think, like, that’s, like, worlds away – do you feel that way, sometimes? [Laughs] Like, you know, instead of teaching, like, um, kinda like, “I have to teach you academic Spanish, uh, you know, like, but you’re, you’re valid, this is valid, this is all valid.” It’s just kinda like, why can’t we change the way people hear us kind of thing?

 

Dr. Abby Bajuniemi:   Mm-hmm.

 

Carrie Gillon:             Well, I mean, in academia, though, people are gonna expect certain things, so. I –

 

Dr. Abby Bajuniemi:   Yeah.

 

Megan Figueroa:        It’s hard – I know, I know, like, I totally get it, it’s hard. I’m asking, I, I am asking a question that’s just so hard, out, like, putting it out there.

 

Dr. Abby Bajuniemi:   So, I, I think that’s easier to do at the college level than at the high school level. ‘Cause you have all these, like, you know, lifer teachers that learned audiolingual method, and “repeat after me,” and “let’s write grammar charts on the board,” and it’s all just very terrible. [Laughs]

 

Carrie Gillon:             Yes, it is.

 

Megan Figueroa:        Yeah, [crosstalk] I’m having a flashback to my high school Spanish classes – it’s awful.

 

Dr. Abby Bajuniemi:   I’m so sorry. [Laughs]

 

Megan Figueroa:        Cuz I mean, I don’t mean to say every Spanish teacher is awful, I just had some very, like –

 

Carrie Gillon:             No –

 

Dr. Abby Bajuniemi:   No, they’re not, but it’s the traditional way that languages were taught, so there are still a lot of people doing it. I mean, I had that, and I went to college and jumped into a communicative classroom, and I was, like, “What the fuck, I can’t say anything. You’re gonna make me talk? No. No. No.”

 

Carrie Gillon:             [Laughs]

 

Megan Figueroa:        Yeah, yeah, exactly. The most talking we did was actually, like, conjugating. Like, we never said sentences.

 

Dr. Abby Bajuniemi:   Mm-hmm.

 

Megan Figueroa:        We’d be, like, “Okay, conjugate ‘comer.'”

 

Carrie Gillon:             Really?

 

Megan Figueroa:        Yeah, you had, you had better, then, Carrie. [Laughs]

 

Dr. Abby Bajuniemi:   Yeah.

 

Carrie Gillon:             Well, I mean, uh, [sighs] yes, we had better French instruction, but it wasn’t – still wasn’t great. There was a lot of conjugation, but we still had to say full sentences. [Laughs]

 

Dr. Abby Bajuniemi:   Well, my Spanish teacher didn’t even speak Spanish, so.

 

Megan Figueroa:        Oh, no –

 

Dr. Abby Bajuniemi:   I’m not, I’m not joking. I went to a small Catholic school, and she was – I don’t know how she got that job. But, uh, we had a couple of exchange students from Columbia, and they would sit in the back of the class and make fun of her, because she couldn’t –

 

Megan Figueroa:        Yeah.

 

Carrie Gillon:             Yeah.

 

Dr. Abby Bajuniemi:   – speak Spanish, at all. And, so, what we did was vocab lists on the board, and conjugations, and, yeah, it was – I don’t know how I tested into Spanish 3, but I did. [Laughter]

 

Megan Figueroa:        So, okay, so we’ve got these people that are kinda stuck in this very traditional and outdated way, in high schools. But you think, like, at the college level, we’ve got some promise.

 

Dr. Abby Bajuniemi:   Yeah, because, um, uh, this is sort of a bad-good kind of thing. Um, so, [laughs] the people who graduate with Spanish Ph.D.s are either literature, culture, or linguistics, right? And so, the literature and culture people are, like, “I don’t wanna teach anything but my favorite novel. Uh, language classes are baloney. And we have an army of linguists who need jobs, and they can direct our language program. And they can teach all of our language classes.”

So, I mean, it’s kind of good-bad, because there’s more jobs for linguists, um, they’re not always tenure track, and they’re usually, like, directing language programs and teaching undergraduate language courses. But that means that you get more people who at least have perhaps been, uh, exposed to sociolinguistics and understand language variation, teaching your undergraduates their, their language courses. And this is more true in your four-year colleges than in your universities where degree programs are granted, because – or, like, advanced degree programs, like, Ph.D. programs.

 

Megan Figueroa:        Um, could you give an example of how, um, like, quote-unquote, “academic Spanish” might look differently than something that a student –

 

Dr. Abby Bajuniemi:   Mm-hmm?

 

Megan Figueroa:        – would bring into the classroom, just for the listeners to kind of understand?

 

Dr. Abby Bajuniemi:   Yeah, so, um, one example is with the subjunctive, which we know is very unstable. Um, and so, you’ll have – there’s a, an if-then clause in Spanish where it’s, like, si something with the subjunctive, then the conditional. Um, and in, there are some dialects – I think – it’s been a while since I’ve looked at this literature, but I think Peru might be a place where this happens, um, where it’s all subjunctive, so the conditional doesn’t exist –

 

Megan Figueroa:        Oh –

 

Carrie Gillon:             Mm –

 

Megan Figueroa:        – cool.

 

Dr. Abby Bajuniemi:   – in those, those constructions. So it’s, like, si subjunctive, then subjunctive. Yeah, or the reverse where it’s all conditional, so, instead of the subjunctive, it’s si conditional, then conditional, if condition, then conditional. Um, so that might something that people will bring into the classroom, something like that. And so we have to say, “Okay, yeah, that’s totally fine. That’s the way that your family does it, and this is the way it’s used in where your family comes from, and that’s totally fine. And for academic Spanish, we want to do it this way, instead.”

 

Megan Figueroa:        And I think the big thing – and, uh, [laughs] I think we were joking about this on Twitter, once, um, ’cause I’m doing, uh, a Babble Spanish, and it’s –

 

Dr. Abby Bajuniemi:   Uh-huh?

 

Megan Figueroa:        – so clearly from Spain – um, the lexical items.

 

Dr. Abby Bajuniemi:   Mm-hmm.

 

Megan Figueroa:        So, I think lexical items are gonna be a big thing that, that people are gonna bring into the classroom that are different, right, that you might have different words for?

 

Carrie Gillon:             Yeah.

 

Dr. Abby Bajuniemi:   Yep.

 

Megan Figueroa:        Is that as big of a issue – like, would you teach them other words for things? Or is it more, like, grammatical structure that would be – look different in academic Spanish?

 

Dr. Abby Bajuniemi:   I think it’s both. Like, you know, I always warned my student – yeah, warned, I guess – that, you know, the textbooks are very generalized, and they often have a peninsular bent. Textbooks are getting better, though, so, like, the last one that I used for an advanced accelerated intermediate course – which is basically two semesters in one, which was very intense. But it offered, like, all the variations, and it told you where they were from. ‘Cause a sociolinguist helped write it [laughs]

 

Carrie Gillon:             Yeah, yeah.

 

Megan Figueroa:        That’s really cool.

 

Dr. Abby Bajuniemi:   – so it was, like, “This is – you know, ‘banana’ is this in this country, and this in this country, and this in this country,” and so you have all these different ways of presenting it. And I told them, I’m, like, “I don’t care – I don’t give discrete vocabulary tests. Whichever one you feel like you wanna use –

 

Carrie Gillon:             Mm-hmm.

 

Dr. Abby Bajuniemi:   – “do that one,” you know?

 

Carrie Gillon:             I mean, you’re gonna have to also learn a bunch of, like, more academic jargon stuff. And that’s just, like –

 

Dr. Abby Bajuniemi:   Mm-hmm.

 

Megan Figueroa:        Yeah.

 

Carrie Gillon:             – more academic jargon stuff, and that’s just, like, across-the-board gonna be true.

 

Dr. Abby Bajuniemi:   Yeah. And that was more for, like, the advanced writing courses, and, like, intro to Hispanic linguistics, then we got into more of that. But for the undergraduate language courses, not as much.

 

Carrie Gillon:             Yeah.

 

Megan Figueroa:        I mean, this is definitely analogous to, um, uh, monolingual English-speakers –

 

Dr. Abby Bajuniemi:   Mm-hmm.

 

Megan Figueroa:        – going into an English com class, right? So –

 

Carrie Gillon:             Yeah.

 

Megan Figueroa:        – we bring what we bring to the classroom, and then – and then they’re gonna teach us academic English, right, they’re gonna wanna – [laughs] they’re gonna try to tell us not to split infinitives or whatever. [Laughter]

 

Dr. Abby Bajuniemi:   Yeah.

 

Megan Figueroa:        Whatever bullshit [crosstalk] try to teach us.

 

Dr. Abby Bajuniemi:   Mm-hmm. And I actually got to the point where I would have students who were heritage speakers, they would raise their hand and they’re, like, “Well, my, my family says it like this. Is that still right?” And I would just be, like, “Yeah, I mean, if you wanna – use that in your speech all the time. But if I give you a writing, or, a writing exercise, then we have to have you try to use this other way, just so you can gain proficiency in that. But, you know, in your casual writing or in your speech, that’s totally fine.” Or they would raise their hand and be, like, “At my house, we call it this,” and I’m, like, “That’s cool. Let’s write that on the board. Look at that: dialectal variation.”

 

Carrie Gillon:             [Laughs]

 

Megan Figueroa:        I love that. Well, I love that they’re sharing that with you –

 

Dr. Abby Bajuniemi:   Mm-hmm.

 

Megan Figueroa:        – ’cause I think that’s a step toward getting rid of the internalized stigma that they have.

 

Dr. Abby Bajuniemi:   Mm-hmm.

 

Megan Figueroa:        Because if you’re, like – just going through these kind of steps myself, too, if you’re really, really ashamed of what’s going on with your language, you’re not gonna raise your hand and share anything.

 

Carrie Gillon:             Mm-hmm.

 

Dr. Abby Bajuniemi:   Right.

 

Megan Figueroa:        So it actually – that’s a really good thing that that’s starting to happen, if you share.

 

Dr. Abby Bajuniemi:   That usually doesn’t happen right away in the semester, like, I’m thinking of, uh, about one student in particular, oh, I just love her. She is such an amazing person. Um, I still keep in touch with her, even though I quit teaching in 2016. Um, she’s just such a rock star, she’s doing so many cool things. But anyway, at the beginning of the class, she was – it was her first Spanish language class outside of high school, and they placed her in my intermediate course. And she was, like, “You know, I speak Spanish at home, and my parents told me that I have to learn better Spanish, and, you know, that I’m not very good at it, whatever.”

And I’m, like, “That’s bullshit. You’re great. You’re, you’re wonderful. Like, you know, I embrace the variety you speak at home, and if you wanna ask me questions in class, like, ‘Well, I say it this way, you know, why is that different?’ you know, we can talk about that.” And so, she was just, like, “Oh, my god – ” And at the end of the semester, she gave me a card and she’s, like, “My Spanish has improved exponentially, my confidence in myself, and my identity as a Latina,” and, like, all this – and I’m just, like, “Holy shit, this is amazing. See? More teachers need to do this, because it is so important.”

 

Carrie Gillon:             Yes.

 

Megan Figueroa:        I got chills, I had chills. [Laughs]

 

Dr. Abby Bajuniemi:   Yeah, it’s so important, because these kids are not getting validated – and language is so tied to your identity and your culture.

 

Megan Figueroa:        Foof, yeah, yeah. Um, and you’re in Minnesota – I, I just wonder, what is the Latinx population like, there.

 

Carrie Gillon:             Bigger than you think. [Laughs]

 

Dr. Abby Bajuniemi:   Yeah, it’s –

 

Megan Figueroa:        It’s bigger than I think?

 

Dr. Abby Bajuniemi:   It is. Traditionally, we had a very large – like, the whole – I live in Saint Paul, and the whole west side of Saint Paul is, um, Chicano. There is a very large Mexican population from the Bracero Program, where the United States brought in workers for the meatpacking plants. We have, like, the Hormel plant where we have a lot of Central American, um, immigrants that work in the, the meat processing plants, there, and some farms, and stuff like that. But it’s mostly the meat processing plants. Um, but, and, and the restaurant industry, too, the restaurant interest, industry is, is big.

We had, um, I, I did a, a gig with a local restaurant, ’cause they were doing some accounting thing and they wanted input from all their employees. And surprise, surprise, they weren’t getting input from their Spanish-speaking employees, because there was a language barrier. And so, they brought me in to teach them the, you know, the accounting stuff, and get their buy-in, and get their input, and all that stuff. So, and, and most of, pretty much 100 percent of the back of house, the dishwashers and the cooks and the prep cooks and all that, they were, um, Spanish speakers with limited or minimal English proficiency. So, yeah, it’s bigger than you think.

 

Megan Figueroa:        Yeah, I mean, everything’s bigger than I think. I’ve spent all of my life in Arizona, where I’m, like, “We have a ton of Chicanos, here.” So, like, I always think that I’m overestimating if I assume that there’s Chicanos anywhere besides LA and Chicago [laughter], so, yeah. Do you think that there’s a lot of heritage, um, speakers that don’t get labeled heritage speakers at the university, then? The, the program, the computer program is failing them? Or I don’t know if failing them, but just not catching them?

 

Dr. Abby Bajuniemi:   [Sighs] That’s a tough question, because a lot of the one, a lot of the kids that I, uh, had in my classes weren’t from Minnesota. So, I don’t know if they’re going to different colleges, if they’re not going to college, if they’re going to community college, if they’re not taking Spanish, you know, that’s kinda hard to say, because, um, they don’t – I mean, just ’cause you live here doesn’t mean you go to college here, or go to college at all. So, I, and I don’t really have much contact with high school Spanish teachers, to know whether that’s, you know –

 

Megan Figueroa:        Yeah, I always – I guess I, um, have a, probably a bias to think that, if you’re a first-gen, you’ll probably go really close to home. So, I was just, like, wondering if maybe the students that are getting to go to college or want to go to college go, and are not being placed in Spanish classes. But –

 

Dr. Abby Bajuniemi:   No, the student, the student that I mentioned, that I just mentioned, she’s from somewhere in, like, the southeast or something like that, maybe – it might be as north as Chicago, but she’s not from Minnesota. Um, and then I had another, uh, young lady, in a more advanced communications course, who, she might’ve been a DACA student, and also, um, was from Chicago. The very first one I had, I think she was from Minnesota, and then there were a couple of them along the way, who might’ve been from Minnesota but they’re – you know, it, it really depends. ‘Cause especially with the University of Minnesota, we get, like, we have a reciprocal program with Wisconsin, and so –

 

Megan Figueroa:        Oh.

 

Dr. Abby Bajuniemi:   Yeah, if you live in Wisconsin, you get, uh, instate tuition. So we would get a lot of students from, like, the Milwaukee-outside of Chicago kinda area, too, so.

 

Megan Figueroa:        So, I wonder – there’s gotta be heritage language speakers of whatever language, um, listening. We talked about what could be done at the college level – what, what – do you have any, like, particular messages to people that feel insecure about language, as someone who was grading papers or interacting with heritage language speakers?

 

Dr. Abby Bajuniemi:   You know, I think heritage language learners bring so much richness to the classroom. And not that you should be there to be the token, like, cultural ambassador or anything. But usually they have ways of looking at authentic texts and ways of relating to these texts that, when they start talking about it, it kind of, kind of makes the non-heritage speakers rethink the way that they’re reading something, they’re reading a poem, reading a novel, or watching a movie. Or, you know, when they’re hearing, if you’re more of a productive heritage speaker and you speak in your, um, your family’s dialect or variety, I think it, it also helps benefit everybody around you, to get that input, uh, like, authentic input from someone who doesn’t speak, you know, generic newscaster Spanish. Or peninsular Spanish, which is what a lot of, traditionally, a lot of the audio materials have been in.

You know, it’s, it’s just another perspective, it’s another – like, I’m a big proponent of collaboration, and I think every single student has something important to offer to the classroom. And just because you don’t know where the accent goes on, you know, the past, past tense or whatever, that doesn’t mean you don’t have something important to contribute to the class.

 

Carrie Gillon:             Yeah. And also, like, we should always remind ourselves that writing and speaking are very different, and –

 

Dr. Abby Bajuniemi:   Mm-hmm.

 

Carrie Gillon:             Like, if you, you could be, like, an amazing speaker and a terrible writer, and vice-versa. And for me especially –

 

Dr. Abby Bajuniemi:   Yeah.

 

Carrie Gillon:             – like, I found writing in French easier than speaking, because I had that time to process and remember –

 

Dr. Abby Bajuniemi:   Yep.

 

Carrie Gillon:             – the rules, and [laughs], and I didn’t have to worry as much about the pronunciation.

 

Dr. Abby Bajuniemi:   Mm-hmm. Well, yeah, and that’s the other thing, you know, a heritage speaker, if they feel, uh, insecure about the way they speak or the way they write or, you know, “I don’t write as well as, you know, this person next to me,” there’s something that you do really well that they’re jealous of, you know?

 

Carrie Gillon:             Exactly, yeah, yeah.

 

Dr. Abby Bajuniemi:   Like, your – maybe your pronunciation is, like, really cool and really, you know, sounds really good, and you have, like, a really natural, uh, flow to the way you speak, and it’s not really stilted and stuttered. While, you know, that, the way that some language learners’ language is, at first, when they’re still kind of figuring out that processing thing. You know, there’s something that, you know, you’re better at. It’s like that whole thing when people say, you know, jealousy is useless, because there’s always someone better and someone worse than you?

 

Megan Figueroa:        [Laughs] Yeah.

 

Carrie Gillon:             [Laughs] Yup.

 

Dr. Abby Bajuniemi:   So, I mean, we all bring our own, uh, uniqueness to the classroom, and, and it’s no reason to, you know, feel insecure. Because there’s something that you’re really awesome at that someone else really sucks at and, you know, they wish they were you. [Laughter]

 

Carrie Gillon:             Yeah.

 

Megan Figueroa:        Yeah, exactly.

 

Carrie Gillon:             Yeah.

 

Megan Figueroa:        Do you – uh, we’ve talked about one side of the coin. What about the flipside: have you had heritage language speakers that were very insecure about their English?

 

Dr. Abby Bajuniemi:   [Sighs] No –

 

Megan Figueroa:        Or [crosstalk] just not come out in the classroom ’cause you’re teaching Spanish?

 

Dr. Abby Bajuniemi:   Yeah, I don’t think that really comes out in the, in my classrooms. I think that might come out more in an ESL kind of situation. Um, but, no, I haven’t. I mean, I’ve, I’ve encountered that outside of the classroom, where someone is bilingual and they’re just kind of like, you know, “Ah, my English is not good,” and I’m, like, “What are you talking about? I understand everything you’re trying to tell me, and you’re speaking fluidly, and I – you know, there’s no problem, here. Um, I’m not even having to, like, ask you to repeat yourself, [laughs] to, to get at what you’re trying to say.” You know, so, not really in the classroom, but outside of it, for sure.

 

Megan Figueroa:        Yeah, I think a lot of people underestimate just, like, getting your point across as being, like, what language, like, what language is.

 

Dr. Abby Bajuniemi:   Mm-hmm.

 

Megan Figueroa:        Like, we, we’re so obsessed with getting things, quote-unquote, “perfect” –

 

Dr. Abby Bajuniemi:   Mm-hmm?

 

Megan Figueroa:        – that we’re, like, “You know that I just understood you,” like –

 

Dr. Abby Bajuniemi:   Mm-hmm?

 

Megan Figueroa:        – we’re having [crosstalk] conversation and our ideas are going back and forth. Nothing else matters. [Laughs]

 

Dr. Abby Bajuniemi:   So, one thing – yeah. One thing I like to tell my students, especially my first-year and second-year students who are, like, “Oh, I can’t talk in the classroom, ’cause I don’t know how to form a sentence,” or whatever. And I’m, like, “Nobody does, except for me, and so that’s okay. But also, record yourself speaking English, and write down all of the errors that you make without knowing it.” And they’re, like, “Holy shit,” they do it and, or they think about it or they do it, and they’re, like, “Shit, I didn’t realize how many bad grammar mistakes I make when I speak English.” God, that’s – okay, that’s, this is not a problem, then.” [Laughs]

 

Carrie Gillon:             Yeah, exactly.

 

Megan Figueroa:        Yeah, and guess what, when you sit down and write an e-mail in English, or whatever, [crosstalk]

 

Dr. Abby Bajuniemi:   Yeah.

 

Megan Figueroa:        – have time to think it over before you, you know, like –

 

Dr. Abby Bajuniemi:   Mm-hmm.

 

Megan Figueroa:        It’s just different, speaking –

 

Dr. Abby Bajuniemi:   Mm-hmm.

 

Megan Figueroa:        – and writing are so different, yeah.

 

Dr. Abby Bajuniemi:   And that’s why I never graded people for accuracy when they were speaking in class, because I’m, like, “I just want you to talk. I just want you to talk. I’ll give you three points if you’re, you know, fully engaged in the class, two points if you are, you know, somewhat engaged, one point if you’re sitting there in the corner looking out the window.” [Laughter]

 

Megan Figueroa:        Right.

 

Dr. Abby Bajuniemi:   Um, and zero if you’re not in class. And so, that gives the students, really, a lot of freedom to participate, in a way that they feel comfortable. And, you know, I knew other professors who graded based on how correct the, you know, Spanish they, their students was using, were using was. And those classes were usually silent. I would walk past the classroom and, like, nobody was talking. But then, I had to shut my door, all the time, because my students were so loud. [Laughter]

 

Carrie Gillon:             That’s good.

 

Megan Figueroa:        That’s such a good problem to have, though.

 

Carrie Gillon:             Mm-hmm.

 

Dr. Abby Bajuniemi:   I know –

 

Megan Figueroa:        Yeah.

 

Dr. Abby Bajuniemi:   – it was really – yeah, I, I really miss teaching, sometimes.

 

Megan Figueroa:        Yeah.

 

Carrie Gillon:             [Laughs] Yeah, I sometimes miss it, too.

 

Megan Figueroa:        I know, I was, like, sometimes.

 

Carrie Gillon:             Just not the grading.

 

Dr. Abby Bajuniemi:   No, not the grading.

 

Megan Figueroa:        Yeah. [Laughs] Especially since it’s so demoralizing for you, too, if you care about students. It’s, like, “Why do I have to – ” I don’t know, grading is an interesting other problem [laughter] [crosstalk]. I just overhear, like, at coffeeshops, so many professors that are grading for all the wrong things. And who am I to say what wrong is, but I’m, like –

 

Dr. Abby Bajuniemi:   Mm-hmm.

 

Megan Figueroa:        – “Well, do you really have to take off for that?”

 

Dr. Abby Bajuniemi:   Yeah –

 

Megan Figueroa:        [Laughs] [Crosstalk]

 

Carrie Gillon:             I would say split, uh, marking off a split infinitive –

 

Megan Figueroa:        Yeah, like –

 

Carrie Gillon:             – is actually objectively wrong. [Laughs]

 

Dr. Abby Bajuniemi:   Yeah –

 

Megan Figueroa:        [Crosstalk]

 

Carrie Gillon:             Or, or, or claiming that the passive is [crosstalk] ungrammatical is subjectively wrong.

 

Megan Figueroa:        Yes, it’s the passive.

 

Carrie Gillon:             [Laughs]

 

Dr. Abby Bajuniemi:   Argh, yeah.

 

Megan Figueroa:        Yeah. [Laughs] Are there things in Spanish like that, too?

 

Dr. Abby Bajuniemi:   Yeah, I, I struggle with that a lot, because, you know, I’m supposed to be teaching them this artificial academic register. And so, like, yes, I’m supposed to be doing the copyediting of their papers, but I also wanna know what their ideas are like. So, I came up with a rubric that was, um, part of it was ideas, and organization of ideas, and elaboration of ideas and sources and things like that. And then, a smaller part of it was, you know, grammar stuff. And, so, if, if I would’ve been fulltime somewhere with a lot of support, I would’ve had multiple drafts where they could correct that stuff, but –

 

Carrie Gillon:             Yeah.

 

Megan Figueroa:        I wonder, do you have any feelings or thoughts or experience with younger kids? Because this seems to be a really big – I, I’m gonna just call it a fuckin’ problem, right now, where, where we’re not doing right by kids that come into our K-12, that speak Spanish at home, that are – I mean, they’re labeled so many things, and sometimes it’s “heritage language learner.” Um, is there – you – how do you – any experience – have you read any of the stuff that’s happening [crosstalk]?

 

Dr. Abby Bajuniemi:   I have many feelings, and some of them are shouty, about –

 

Megan Figueroa:        [Laughs] [Crosstalk]

 

Dr. Abby Bajuniemi:   – how we treat those kids. Um, I think that the expectation that people should come – okay, first of all, let me back up a little bit. This whole, like, hysteria about, “Oh, my god, whatever language is gonna take over the country, and no one will speak English, anymore,” is such bullshit. Because if you go to the Pew Research Center, they did research on heritage languages, like, all of them – Tagalog, Chinese, Mandarin, uh, Spanish, whatever. By the third generation, these people aren’t speaking their language, anymore.

 

Carrie Gillon:             Exactly.

 

Dr. Abby Bajuniemi:   So, it’s, like, totally unfounded, bullshit, whatever, and, um –

 

Carrie Gillon:             Yep.

 

Dr. Abby Bajuniemi:   So, then we have these administrators who think that – and people who are providing the funding for courses and programs and stuff, who think, “Oh, well, you have an ESL class. You can have people from any other – any old language come in and mishmash together to learn English, and they will do it in two years,” or four years, or whatever the case may be. And that’s just not – that’s not tenable, that’s not – you don’t necessarily have people who are ready to be integrated into English-only classrooms, after that. And it just, it frustrates the shit out of me, because these kids deserve better, they deserve more, and then you wonder why they might be falling behind? Because they’re stuck in a classroom where they don’t necessarily – they’re not, necessarily, able to thrive the way they would if they had support in their native language.

And it’s just, oh, it’s just so frustrating. There’s, uh, dual immersion programs, and I think – Minnesota is actually the leader in dual education, in dual language education. We have the most programs of anybody in the United States, um, I think, in front of California. Um, so we have dual immersion in Korean, uh, German, French, Spanish, Chinese, um, and there might be Hmong, and there might also be, uh, like, Aramaic or other Somali languages, as well. Uh, but these programs are excellent, because you get these kids who speak, you know, whatever language as their first language or home language, and you get, um, American students or United States students who don’t speak this language, and you put them together in the first grade.

And they are in 100 percent, you know, the other language, for, like, the first four years, or whatever. And then they start to gradually switch over to all-English, so by the time they graduate in 8th grade, they’re 100 percent English, but they still have that other language, too. So, I think those programs are super helpful, and I know that some of my colleagues at the U of M in the, um, Carla Institute, which is the Center for – I can’t remember, it’s been so long. But, um, they do a lot of work on immersion studies, and they found that the, the kids, the native or heritage speakers who start out in dual immersion end up doing better in high school and college, um, when they have that support.

 

Megan Figueroa:        Well, I’m thinking, like, you see them when they’re in college, I imagine, um, you’re gonna see kids that aren’t as insecure.

 

Dr. Abby Bajuniemi:   Mm-hmm.

 

Megan Figueroa:        Like, how important is that – like, I mean, yeah, okay, they got some more language skills that look a little bit different than what they might look like at home, and they had, like –

 

Dr. Abby Bajuniemi:   Mm-hmm?

 

Megan Figueroa:        – all this, like, I don’t know, like, academic support in the school, but that all leads to – the, I think the most important thing is not feeling fuckin’ insecure –

 

Dr. Abby Bajuniemi:   Yep.

 

Megan Figueroa:        – [laughs] about the language you came with.

 

Dr. Abby Bajuniemi:   Yep.

 

Megan Figueroa:        And that’s, that’s why I, I was interested about younger kids is because you are seeing them later –

 

Dr. Abby Bajuniemi:   Yep.

 

Megan Figueroa:        – and the foundation for how they feel is set so young.

 

Carrie Gillon:             Yeah, very young.

 

Dr. Abby Bajuniemi:   Yep, because they, they start out seeing their language as being valid and valued and important, and something that you do academic work in, and, you know, your teachers all speak it and your administrators all speak it, and –

 

Megan Figueroa:        Yeah, exactly. And, uh, when we talked to Alberto Rios, the poet, um, about his experience with Spanish and English, he was talking about going to school and how, like, they would make him feel like Spanish was bad. And then you, like, put this label on your mom – on – I think it was –

 

Carrie Gillon:             It was his dad.

 

Megan Figueroa:        Oh, his dad, his dad.

 

Carrie Gillon:             His, his, his mom was English.

 

Megan Figueroa:        His mom was English, yeah – on his dad, that he’s bad. Like, it, it just [crosstalk] kid.

 

Dr. Abby Bajuniemi:   Yeah, that judgement, yep, that judgement come, can come from your parents, it can come from your school, it can come from your friends, it can come from TV, it can come from politicians, it can come from anywhere, or all of those places. And it is traumatizing –

 

Megan Figueroa:        It is, and –

 

Dr. Abby Bajuniemi:   – and it’s bad for development.

 

Carrie Gillon:             Yeah.

 

Megan Figueroa:        I was thinking, just, like, thinking about child development, they are doing the best they can with the information they were given –

 

Dr. Abby Bajuniemi:   Mm-hmm?

 

Megan Figueroa:        – and they’re trying to reconcile these things that they’re, this information they’re given. And this is what’s coming out, bad – that Spanish equals bad, family [crosstalk]

 

Dr. Abby Bajuniemi:   Unless you’re white.

 

Megan Figueroa:        Yeah, right, exactly.

 

Carrie Gillon:             [Laughs]

 

Megan Figueroa:        Exactly, it’s true.

 

Carrie Gillon:             Yeah.

 

Dr. Abby Bajuniemi:   Because there is no stigma around white kids taking a foreign language from beginning, or going to dual immersion, or whatever, there’s no stigma.

 

Megan Figueroa:        I was gonna say, dual immersion is going – like, the way that dual immersion is becoming popularized is because white families are seeing the benefit.

 

Dr. Abby Bajuniemi:   Yep.

 

Megan Figueroa:        And it’s one of those other things where I’m, like, “Listen to my vocal fry, and you adjust to it.” It’s kinda like, “Shit, we should want dual immersion.” Because we have these kids that aren’t English speakers, but it was only until we realized the benefit for [crosstalk]

 

Dr. Abby Bajuniemi:   All children, yeah.

 

Megan Figueroa:        Yeah.

 

Dr. Abby Bajuniemi:   Mm-hmm.

 

Megan Figueroa:        Yeah, exactly.

 

Dr. Abby Bajuniemi:   Which means white.

 

Carrie Gillon:             And probably not just white. Probably, like –

 

Dr. Abby Bajuniemi:   Yeah.

 

Carrie Gillon:             – upper-middle-class. ‘Cause this is the –

 

Dr. Abby Bajuniemi:   Yep.

 

Megan Figueroa:        Yeah.

 

Carrie Gillon:             – same thing that happens in Canada, with the French – you know, there’s no, like, stigma around, like, the type of people who speak French, because we’re all white –

 

Megan Figueroa:        Right.

 

Carrie Gillon:             – well, well, you know –

 

Dr. Abby Bajuniemi:   Yep.

 

Carrie Gillon:             [Laughs] It’s more complicated than that, but, you know. Um –

 

Megan Figueroa:        Yeah.

 

Dr. Abby Bajuniemi:   Yep.

 

Carrie Gillon:             But, but, but, um, people who put their kids in French immersion tend to be upper-middle-class, and so –

 

Dr. Abby Bajuniemi:   Mm-hmm.

 

Carrie Gillon:             Yeah, there’s [crosstalk]

 

Megan Figueroa:        Yeah.

 

Carrie Gillon:             – fanciness associated with it.

 

Dr. Abby Bajuniemi:   Mm-hmm.

 

Megan Figueroa:        Yeah, exactly.

 

Dr. Abby Bajuniemi:   And that’s what I really appreciate about Minnesota’s immersion programs is that a lot of them are public.

 

Megan Figueroa:        [Crosstalk]

 

Carrie Gillon:             Well, they’re public in Canada, too, but –

 

Megan Figueroa:        Yeah, [crosstalk].

 

Carrie Gillon:             – there’s still –

 

Dr. Abby Bajuniemi:   Yeah.

 

Carrie Gillon:             – it’s self – it’s like self-segregating.

 

Dr. Abby Bajuniemi:   Yeah, that’s true, that’s true. But it is accessible to – I mean, there are some charter and private ones, but there are really good public ones that are available to anyone who is interested in that. But you’re right, it, it tends to be middle-, upper-class, because they’re the ones who read the research and are, like, “Oh, good for development, bla bla bla.”

 

Carrie Gillon:             Exactly, exactly.

 

Megan Figueroa:        Yeah. Well, English or – um, Arizona has the law – shit, was it 300 – 200 – where it’s, “English must be taught in English.” So it’s illegal to have anything but – what do we have, like – I don’t know – it’s basically sink or swim is what we have in Arizona. I’m real excited, though, Arizona has an actual bilingual speech language pathologist, who’s gonna be our new superintendent of schools, who really, really cares about bilingualism.

 

Dr. Abby Bajuniemi:   That’s great.

 

Megan Figueroa:        So I’m hoping that we’re gonna see something good happen. I think that one of the main things that I, when I was talk, um, when I knew that we were gonna talk about heritage languages, which made me really excited – and also, I’m, like, “Oh, no, we’re gonna talk about so many things that are so disturbing” – um, but I want a lot of people to know that it does start so young. Like, you know, and that we may, you know, if we’re teaching in college level, or even if it’s just, like, our peers, there may be some – like, there are a lot of complicated feelings about the language that we –

 

Dr. Abby Bajuniemi:   Mm-hmm.

 

Megan Figueroa:        – languages we have, and –

 

Dr. Abby Bajuniemi:   I mean, if you dive into the media and all of the conversations among Latinx communities in the United States, there’s all this, like, “If you speak Spanish, are you really Latinx?” you know.

 

Megan Figueroa:        [Crosstalk]

 

Dr. Abby Bajuniemi:   Or if you don’t speak it – excuse me.

 

Megan Figueroa:        Right, [crosstalk].

 

Dr. Abby Bajuniemi:   You know, so, like, there are all these, these nuances and complications around whether, you know, you are actually part of your cultural group, if you don’t speak the language. So –

 

Megan Figueroa:        Yeah, it’s like for mezcla or some –

 

Dr. Abby Bajuniemi:   Yeah –

 

Megan Figueroa:        – like, some of these media that I, like, you know, follow all the time, and I know what they’re doing, like, they’re starting a conversation, but I literally cry when I – like, I don’t know why I play them –

 

Dr. Abby Bajuniemi:   Mm-hmm.

 

Megan Figueroa:        – because they’re really mean. [Laughs]

 

Dr. Abby Bajuniemi:   Mm-hmm.

 

Carrie Gillon:             Really?

 

Megan Figueroa:        Some – yeah.

 

Dr. Abby Bajuniemi:   And, yeah, so you’ll get, even from inside your –

 

Megan Figueroa:        Yeah.

 

Dr. Abby Bajuniemi:   – cultural group –

 

Megan Figueroa:        It might be worse. [Laughs]

 

Dr. Abby Bajuniemi:   It, uh, I think so.

 

Megan Figueroa:        In some ways, it’s worse, yeah.

 

Dr. Abby Bajuniemi:   I think – especially when it comes, like, from your parents or your family or whatever, like –

 

Megan Figueroa:        Yes, that’s terrible.

 

Dr. Abby Bajuniemi:   – “Oh, you don’t speak Spanish,” or, “You don’t speak whatever. You’re not really – ” whatever, you know? It, it’s, it’s very hurtful for kids. And then, if they go to school and their teacher’s, like, “You don’t speak good Spanish,” then that, like, compounds on that pain that they’re already feeling because they feel rejected by their community. But you wanna know something really interesting. So, um, just to prove that, you know, Spanish speakers aren’t a monolith. Like, in Cuba, or, uh, Cuban Spanish in Miami, like, there is Spanish everywhere, there are Spanish –

 

Carrie Gillon:             Oh, yeah.

 

Megan Figueroa:        [Crosstalk], yeah.

 

Dr. Abby Bajuniemi:   – programs in schools. But most of the, the Cuban people that came and established all that were white.

 

Carrie Gillon:             Yep, exactly. [Laughs] Exactly.

 

Dr. Abby Bajuniemi:   But, like, in the places where most of the Spanish speakers are brown or not white, then you have a lot more of these, like, severe, “You don’t speak Spanish in the home. You don’t speak Spanish in the school.”

 

Carrie Gillon:             Yeah.

 

Megan Figueroa:        That’s a really good point.

 

Dr. Abby Bajuniemi:   “Your Spanish is terrible,” you know.

 

Megan Figueroa:        [Crosstalk]

 

Dr. Abby Bajuniemi:   But when it’s, like, the doctors and lawyers who are refugees from Cuba speaking it, “Oh, yeah, let’s set up, you know, schools, and newspapers, and radio programs, and TV programs, and everybody – ” you know, so.

 

Carrie Gillon:             Yep, absolutely.

 

Megan Figueroa:        Absolutely.

 

Carrie Gillon:             Uh, god, I, I –

 

Megan Figueroa:        Yeah.

 

Carrie Gillon:             I mean, every time we come, we, we bump against this – well, not every time – all – it’s a lot of times we bump up against this.

 

Megan Figueroa:        [Laughs]

 

Carrie Gillon:             But it just makes me so fucking upset how racist –

 

Dr. Abby Bajuniemi:   Mm-hmm?

 

Carrie Gillon:             – both my country and the United States are. [Laughs]

 

Dr. Abby Bajuniemi:   Mm-hmm.

 

Megan Figueroa:        Yeah, yeah. I mean – yes.

 

Dr. Abby Bajuniemi:   And what sucks is that it’s not overt racism; it’s, like, really subtle, ’cause it’s not something –

 

Carrie Gillon:             It can be, yeah.

 

Dr. Abby Bajuniemi:   Yeah, but, I mean, like, you know, if you’re, if you’re telling your kid, “Oh, your Spanish isn’t good,” it’s not like you’re saying – or if you’re a teacher and saying, “Your Spanish isn’t good,” it’s not like you’re saying, you know, “I don’t like brown people,” necessarily, ’cause maybe they don’t think they’re being racist. They are, but they don’t think they are.

 

Carrie Gillon:             Right. Or they think –

 

Dr. Abby Bajuniemi:   You know, it’s not –

 

Carrie Gillon:             – they’re talking about, about, about it because they, like, really love Spanish, and so they think they’re, like –

 

Dr. Abby Bajuniemi:   Right –

 

Carrie Gillon:             – uh, uh, you know, [crosstalk].

 

Dr. Abby Bajuniemi:   – “Oh, the Spanish from Spain is beautiful, and it’s the right –

 

Megan Figueroa:        Yes.

 

Carrie Gillon:             Exactly [crosstalk] comes down to. [Laughs]

 

Dr. Abby Bajuniemi:   – “right one, because the, the Real Academia, the Real Academia is the one –

 

Carrie Gillon:             Mm-hmm.

 

Dr. Abby Bajuniemi:   – “that sets all the rules.” And, uh, you know, okay, but that’s colonialist and –

 

Carrie Gillon:             One hundred percent.

 

Megan Figueroa:        Do you get a sense – do you guys sense in, uh, in your heritage language, uh, classes, uh, how do the students feel about Spanglish?

 

Dr. Abby Bajuniemi:   So, in my language classes, it didn’t come up a lot. In linguistics classes, uh, we actually had a chapter on it, or a section on it, on – we didn’t call it Spanglish, we called it, like, code switching. So there’s, um, the, like, super – I hate this word – seminal article on, uh, code switching, from Otheguy, Ricardo Otheguy, and, um, some other people that I can’t remember right now, ’cause it’s been, like, three years since I’ve taught that class. Um, but, so, you know, usually, people are, like, “Oh, that just means you don’t speak either language very well,” and I’m, like, “Uh, actually, not.” Um, so, you know, using that article, we would teach that at the end of the semester, and, and they would be, like, “Oh, shit, it’s actually, you know, regulated, and, like, you know, it has rules and, you know, grammatical barriers when you can do it, boundaries, and – ” you know.

So, um, and then, we would have student – I would have the students – ’cause I had people write, like, a research proposal, so they would do everything except for, you know, actually carry out the study, and then do the analysis. Because I couldn’t get IRB approval ’cause I was a grad student, and also, we didn’t have time.

 

Carrie Gillon:             Yeah, no, it takes a long time.

 

Megan Figueroa:        Yeah. [Laughs]

 

Dr. Abby Bajuniemi:   Yeah, they would read all of the, the literature on code switching, and, you know, they would – they were super into it, afterwards, and they thought it was super cool. Um, and then, in – let’s see – I taught a composition and communication class, which is basically like the bridge course between languages and the major. Where you learn how to write more longform and all that sort of thing, and consume different kinds of narratives, and write in different genres. And we did have a couple of, like, poetry or, um, literature pieces that dealt with, uh, switching languages. And, you know, usually, they would have, you know, if not neutral, maybe slightly negative, um, attitude toward it.

And this is – I’m talking about students in general, ’cause I don’t – I didn’t have enough of a sample size of heritage speakers to kind of determine, like, “This is what they think writ large.” Um, but they, they would, you know, they ended up thinking it was really cool, because they could see how it was used stylistically, and for emphasis or for some other effect in the writing, so.

 

Megan Figueroa:        Well, when I think of, um, heritage language, I just, like, I want one of the things that they know about, when they switch between languages, is that it takes so much skill.

 

Dr. Abby Bajuniemi:   Yeah, that’s what – I, I always told my students, I’m, like, “If you can code switch fluently, that’s a very sophisticated use of both languages and – ”

 

Megan Figueroa:        Oh, so sophisticated.

 

Dr. Abby Bajuniemi:   So, you know, they were usually pretty surprised to hear that. And then, um, I think – I had some videos of someone code switching, um, that I would play in my linguistics classes, that people thought were really fun, so. But I never really encountered, like, “Oh, people who do that are stupid or, you know, not good at – ” semilingual or, you know, however they – negative thing they wanna call it.

 

Megan Figueroa:        That’s good. It’s, it’s terrible, but that’s what’s happening in the kids’ literature.

 

Carrie Gillon:             That’s bad.

 

Dr. Abby Bajuniemi:   Yuck.

 

Carrie Gillon:             That’s really bad.

 

Megan Figueroa:        One of the first articles I was given was, by my advisor was, like, “Read this [laughs] and tell me why it’s wrong.” Um, but it’s kind of an older thing and saying, like, well, they come to start at five years old or whatever, and they’re, they ‘re not completely good at Spanish, and then their English is, you know, like, kind of developing. So, like, they have, like, no language; they’re, like, in this, like, limbo or, like –

 

Dr. Abby Bajuniemi:   Oh, gross.

 

Megan Figueroa:        Yeah, it’s not good.

 

Carrie Gillon:             You know how unlikely it is for someone to not have any language? Like, oh, my god. [Laughs]

 

Megan Figueroa:        Ugh.

 

Dr. Abby Bajuniemi:   It’s, unless they’re, like, locked away in a, an attic or something –

 

Carrie Gillon:             Yeah.

 

Megan Figueroa:        Right.

 

Dr. Abby Bajuniemi:   – and never have any interaction with anything –

 

Megan Figueroa:        The forbidden experiment?

 

Dr. Abby Bajuniemi:   Yeah.

 

Megan Figueroa:        Or, you know, I mean, we’re not talking about, like, language disability or anything, um –

 

Carrie Gillon:             No, no, no.

 

Megan Figueroa:        Right? You have language. Um –

 

Dr. Abby Bajuniemi:   You do, yeah.

 

Carrie Gillon:             Yeah.

 

Megan Figueroa:        Yeah, yeah, and, and this gets more complicated with sign, as well.

 

Carrie Gillon:             But you just have a, maybe a slightly different version of whatever it is that you’re doing, but that’s – we all do.

 

Dr. Abby Bajuniemi:   Right.

 

Carrie Gillon:             Like, aaahhh.

 

Dr. Abby Bajuniemi:   So, I guess I’ve heard kind of, uh, critiques along those lines, of the dual immersion program, so that people were, like, “No, English-only.”

 

Carrie Gillon:             Mm-hmm.

 

Megan Figueroa:        Yes.

 

Dr. Abby Bajuniemi:   Um, they say, “Oh, well, you know, they’re not gonna be as good at either language, they’re just gonna suck at both of them.”

 

Megan Figueroa:        Yeah.

 

Dr. Abby Bajuniemi:   And it’s, like, yeah, sometimes there are delays –

 

Carrie Gillon:             Yes, for sure.

 

Dr. Abby Bajuniemi:   – but they more than catch up with their peers, by a certain level. Like, by, by high school or, like, middle high school, they’re usually at or beyond their peers.

 

Carrie Gillon:             Yeah.

 

Megan Figueroa:        And it’s not a concept delay, right? You’re still gonna have the concepts –

 

Dr. Abby Bajuniemi:   Yeah.

 

Megan Figueroa:        – you just might only have the words in one language. Well, I could talk about this, like, for hours, um –

 

Dr. Abby Bajuniemi:   I know, me, too.

 

Megan Figueroa:        And we probably shouldn’t, because [laughter] we want the podcast listeners to listen and not lose us. But, no, I think this is really, really good and really interesting. Do you feel like there’s anything that we missed, that’s really important to know about heritage language, um, speakers?

 

Dr. Abby Bajuniemi:   I think we hit on everything. I think that we need to stop valuing bilingualism in white kids and not valuing it in kids of color. I think that teachers need to take a sociolinguistics class and understand language variation, before they get to teach it. I think that heritage language learners should be encouraged to learn, in whatever way they want to, their home language, if they want to. And be encouraged to use it however they feel comfortable using it. And I really wish that we had more funding for, like, language arts-style classes for heritage language learners, because they do learn slightly differently than people learning a second language.

 

Megan Figueroa:        And when you say language art, you’re kind of like meaning putting the culture in there, too, like, let’s have cultural lessons, right?

 

Dr. Abby Bajuniemi:   Yeah, so, like, how we do – in, in the United States, how we do language arts classes in English should be how we do it for heritage speakers, too. Because, you know, that, that’s the part where they’re getting, like, cultural readings, and, you know, movies, and all these other things that help support that language. ‘Cause we know that language is tied to culture; it’s not – it doesn’t exist in a vacuum. And, you know, people who speak a language at home or, or hear a language at home have a different cultural context than someone who’s going to school to learn it and has, have never experienced it before, outside of their classroom.

 

Carrie Gillon:             Mm-hmm.

 

Megan Figueroa:        Yeah, and it wouldn’t fuckin’ hurt so much if I, like, just didn’t know Spanish, if it weren’t so tied to culture, you know. Like, and, like, this kind of cultural connection I feel like I’m missing because there are a lot of Latino people that are saying –

 

Dr. Abby Bajuniemi:   Yeah.

 

Megan Figueroa:        – I am missing something very important.

 

Dr. Abby Bajuniemi:   And I think that, I think that it’s important to educate parents, too, about the fact that, you know, it’s okay that they maybe don’t speak as well as you do, or, you know, are trying. Let’s just encourage them to be supportive instead of, like, “Well, I don’t have time to listen to you struggle through this, you know, I don’t understand what you’re trying to say to me.”

 

Carrie Gillon:             And also, kids are gonna speak differently than you do, always.

 

Dr. Abby Bajuniemi:   Yeah, yeah.

 

Megan Figueroa:        [Laughs] Yes, they are.

 

Dr. Abby Bajuniemi:   Stop saying, “Get off my lawn,” like, [laughter] [crosstalk] the kids will be all right.

 

Megan Figueroa:        Say, “Get on my lawn,” at least to your own kids.

 

Dr. Abby Bajuniemi:   This linguistic landscape. [Laughter] Um –

 

Carrie Gillon:             All right, well, that was really great.

 

Megan Figueroa:        Very cool.

 

Carrie Gillon:             Thank you so much, Abby.

 

Megan Figueroa:        Yeah, thank you so much, Abby.

 

Dr. Abby Bajuniemi:   Yeah, super fun.

 

Megan Figueroa:        And, as always, don’t be an asshole – can you say it in Spanish for us?

 

Dr. Abby Bajuniemi:   Uh, no seas pendejo?

 

Carrie Gillon:             [Laughs]

 

Megan Figueroa:        Yes, that’s a beautiful [crosstalk].

 

Dr. Abby Bajuniemi:   Or, or, for those, uh, in Spain, no seas gilipollas.

 

Carrie Gillon:             Oh –

 

Megan Figueroa:        Oh, I’ve never heard that, okay.

 

Dr. Abby Bajuniemi:   Mm-hmm.

 

Carrie Gillon:             Nice, nice.

 

Dr. Abby Bajuniemi:   Mm-hmm.

 

Megan Figueroa:        Very cool. Yeah, just don’t be an asshole.

 

Dr. Abby Bajuniemi:   Yeah, don’t be an asshole.

 

Carrie Gillon:             So I think that’s three different versions we’ve gotten in Spanish, now.

 

Megan Figueroa:        Yeah, [crosstalk].

 

Dr. Abby Bajuniemi:   Wait, what was the third one?

 

Carrie Gillon:             It was the Argentinian version, so, I can’t –

 

Megan Figueroa:        Yeah.

 

Dr. Abby Bajuniemi:   Oh, yeah.

 

Megan Figueroa:        Yeah.

 

Carrie Gillon:             [Laughs]

 

Dr. Abby Bajuniemi:   Yep.

 

Megan Figueroa:        Alrighty. [Laughs]

 

Carrie Gillon:             Beautiful, all right, bye. [Laughs]

[Music playing]

The Vocal Fries Podcast is produced by Chris Ayers for Halftone Audio. Theme music by Nick Granum. You can find us on Tumblr, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, at Vocal Fries Pod. You can e-mail us at vocalfriespod@gmail.com.

 

[End of Audio]

 

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