Presentation Details

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ The Eleventh International Literacy and Education Research Network Conference on Learning

Language and Identity: Spanish Heritage Speech Closes Doors To Some Work Opportunities in the US

Dr. David Foltz.

As a certified proficiency tester, I telephone interview many applicants seeking jobs in US corporations. Applying the methodology for speech evaluation established by ACTFL, I determine where the candidates fall on a nationally recognized scale of oral proficiency. The target subjects are typically second or third generation Americans of Hispanic descent. This presentation discusses the methodology of rating speech, linguistic functions and patterns that are characteristic of each proficiency level, and what speech characteristics some US companies require for employment. The study shows prospective employees the kinds of Spanish language variations that should be avoided when applying for employment in different jobs that require high level proficiency in spoken Spanish. That is, the successful candidate must demonstrate an ability consistently to communicate using a version of Spanish that he/she may not be accustomed to using in the habitual linguistic environment of his/her living/work place, and therefore, must be able and willing to eschew or replace the language of self-awareness or self-identity.


Dr. David Foltz  (United States)
Professor of Spanish
College of Humanities and Social Sciences
Indiana University of Pennsylvania

I am a career long professor of Spanish Language and Literature with a speciality in Latin American literature. In recent years I have developed an interest in and expertise in language testing. I am a certified oral proficiency tester in Spanish. I am the retired editor of the Hispanic Journal, a former dean of faculty, and director of many off-campus programs of Spanish studies in Mexico, Guatemala, and Costa Rica.

  • Spanish language
  • Oral proficiency
  • Testing ACTFL
  • Scale bilingual

(30 min. Conference Paper, English)