Heritage Speaker ~~ “a student who is raised in a home where a non-English language is spoken, who speaks or merely understands the heritage language and who is to some degree bilingual in English and the heritage language” (Valdés, 2001)

Heritage Speakers of Spanish

                                Heritage Speakers vs. Foreign Language Students


Heritage Speaker of Spanish
Foreign Language Student
Already considered bilingual (to some degree -- orally in Spanish)
Interested in learning Spanish as a second language
Literacy skills vary widely in Spanish
Usually are at level with other Spanish students
"Good" at oral skills; written skills usually need improvement
Not as "good" at oral skills; but usually good writing skills in Spanish
Possess a level of competence in many aspects of Spanish (particularly in pronunciation)
Usually have a Spanish "accent" (depending on when they began studying the second language)
Unfamiliar with formal grammar
More familiar with formal Spanish grammar
HSS are quite "native" on implicit knowledge and production of gender agreement
Difficult aspect to master at native-like level
High levels of communicative competence in informal conversation but little experience with Spanish literacy
Lower levels of communicative competence in informal conversation
Many heritage speakers of Spanish need specific professional-level skills

Require less instructional time to develop professional-level skills
Require more instructional time to develop skills required in professional contexts due to lack of cultural knowledge, and limited amount of Spanish exposure