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Ana Celia Zentella, Ph.D., Professor Emerita, UCSD Ethnic Studies

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Latino Role Models Success

Latino Role Models Success


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Ana Celia Zentella, the daughter of a Puerto Rican mother and Mexican father, was born and raised in the S. Bronx. Now Professor Emerita (Hunter College/ CUNY and UCSD), she is an anthro-political linguist internationally recognized for her research on U.S. Latino languages, language socialization, "Spanglish", and "English-only" laws.

Her community ethnography, Growing up Bilingual: Puerto Rican Children in NY (1997), won awards from the British Ass’n. of Applied Linguistics and the American Ass’n. of Latina and Latino Anthropologists.  She has also edited three volumes, Building on Strength: Language and Literacy in Latino Families and Communities  (2005), Multilingual San Diego (2009), and Multilingual Philadelphia (2010). Spanish in New York: Language contact, dialectal leveling, and structural continuity (2012) was co-authored with Ricardo Otheguy.

In 1996, Manhattan's Borough President, Ruth Messinger, declared October 30 “Doctor Ana Celia Zentella Day", for “her leading role in building appreciation for language diversity and respect for language rights.”  From 2010-2012, Professor Zentella led the Language and Social Justice Committee of the American Anthropology Association.