Entries for FAQs –Bilingual/ Heritage speakers’ coursesQ: Who can register for courses designed for bilingual/heritiage speakers?
A: These courses are designed for Spanish heritage speakers. A heritage speaker, also called a heritage language learner, is a student who is exposed to a language other than English at home. Heritage speakers can be categorized based on the prominence and development of the heritage language in their daily life. Some students may have full oral fluency and literacy in the heritage language; others may have full oral fluency, but their written literacy was not developed because they were usually schooled in English. Another group of students -- typically third- or fourth-generation -- can speak to a limited degree but have difficulty expressing themselves on a wide range of topics. Heritage speakers usually present a wide knowledge about their cultural heritage and a less thorough knowledge about other Spanish speaking countries.
Q: If I am a bilingual/heritage speaker, how do I register for one of the bilingual courses?
A: If you consider yourself a bilingual/heritage speaker, the next thing you need to do is find out your level of Spanish in order to be placed in the right level. The placement test, previous coursework, or credits transferred from another university will determine what level you are required to take (610D, 611D or 327G). Once you know your level, speak with Liz Hastings or Christine Fisher (academic advisors) immediately to be able to register for the appropriate bilingual course. The advisors will add you automatically to a section of your preference as long as seats are still available.
Q: Is the content of the bilingual classes more challenging than the content in traditional courses?
A: The bilingual courses are different but not harder, because they are specifically designed to fulfill the particular needs of a bilingual student.
Q: If I grew up in a bilingual home and I already speak perfect Spanish, why do I have to register in a bilingual course?
A: Speaking is not the only skill undergraduate students must develop and master. Bilingual courses cover cultural, reading, and written aspects of the language that are often overlooked in traditional Spanish courses.
Q: If I know how to write in Spanish because my elementary teacher/ parents/ friends taught me how to do it, do I still have to register in a bilingual course?
A: It is very common for bilingual students to think that they already know how to speak and write because Spanish is written the way it sounds. This is not always the case and more often than not you will find yourself stopping and thinking about the right spelling of a particular word. For example “ va a hacer” is not the same as “ va a ser” or “vaser” which by the way, its’ not even a word. Another common example is “vez” and “ves” which might sound the same but have totally different meanings. Writing is a skill that needs years and years of development and academic writing is on the main focus of the bilingual courses.