Kim Potowski


Director of the Spanish Heritage Language Program

Director of the Language in Context Research Group


PhD University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Major Interests
Heritage language development; Spanish in the U.S.; language & identity; dual immersion education.

Selected Publications


  • Handbook of Spanish as a heritage/minority language.

    (2017) (Edited) Routledge.

  • Intra-Latino language and identity: MexiRicans in Chicago.

    (2016). Amsterdam: John Benjamins. 


  • El español de los Estados Unidos.

    (2015).  With Anna María Escobar.  Cambridge University Press. 


  • Heritage language teaching: Research and practice. (2014).  With Beaudrie, S., Ducar, C.  McGraw-Hill. 
  • Language diversity in the U.S.A. (Edited).

    (2010). Cambridge University Press.

  • Conversaciones escritas: Spanish composition for heritage and L2 students. (2010). John Wiley & Sons.
  • Bilingual youth: Spanish-speakers in English-speaking countries. (2010). Edited with Jason Rothman. John Benjamins.
  • Spanish in Contact: Educational, Linguistic, and Social Inquiries. (2007). Edited with Richard Cameron. John Benjamins.
  • Dicho y hecho, 8th edition. With Laila Dawson & Silvia Sobral. (2007). John Wiley & Sons.
  • Language and identity in a dual immersion school. (2007). Multilingual Matters.
  • Fundamentos de la enseñanza del español a los hablantes natives en los Estados Unidos (Foundations in teaching Spanish to native speakers in the United States). (2005).  Arco/Libros.

Articles and Book Chapters

  • Potowski, K. (2016). Bilingual youth: Spanish-speakers at the beginning of the 21st century. Language and Linguistics Compass, 10 (6), 272-283.
  • O’Rourke, E. & Potowski, K. (2016). Phonetic accommodation in a situation of Spanish dialect contact: /s/ and /r/ in Chicago. Journal of Hispanic and Lusopone Linguistics.
  • Potowski, K. & Lynch, A. (2014). La enseñanza del español a los hablantes de herencia: Teoría y praxis. Journal of Spanish Language Teaching, 1 (2), 154-170.
  • Lynch, A. & Potowski, K. (2014). La valoración del habla bilingüe en Estados Unidos: Fundamentos sociolingüísticos y pedagógicos en Hablando bien se entiende la gente. Hispania, 97 (1), 32-46. 
  • Potowski, K, Dillon, K, Kagan, O, McGinnis, S. and Peyton, J. (2013). Teachers of heritage language speakers: Perturbing assumptions and possible solutions. Conference proceedings, Language Teacher Education 2009 and 2011. National Capital Language Resource Center.
  • Potowski, K.  (2013). Language Maintenance and Shift.  In R. Bayley, R. Cameron & C. Lucas (Eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Sociolinguistics (321-339).  Oxford University Press.
  • Potowski, K., Parada, M., & Morgan-Short, K. (2012). Developing an online placement exam for Spanish heritage speakers and L2 students. Heritage Language Journal, 9 (1), 51-76.
  • Potowski, K.  (2012).  Identity and heritage learners: Moving beyond essentializations.  In S. Beaudrie & M. Fairclough (Eds.), Spanish as a Heritage Language in the US: State of the Science (283-304). Georgetown University Press.
  • Carreira, M. & Potowski, K. (2011). Commentary: Pedagogical implications of experimental SNS research. Invited article, special issue on Spanish linguistics. Heritage Language Journal, 8 (1), 134-151.
  • Potowski, K. (2011). Intrafamilial dialect contact. In Díaz-Campos, M. (Ed.), Handbook of Hispanic Sociolinguistics. Wiley-Blackwell.
  • Potowski, K. and Gorman, L. (2011). Quinceañeras: Hybridized tradition, language use, and identity in the U.S. In Potowski, K. & Rothman, J. (Eds.), Bilingual youth: Spanish in English-speaking societies. John Benjamins.
  • Potowski, K. (2011).  “Spanglish” greeting cards as linguistic and cultural performance.  International Journal of Multilingualism, 8 (4), 1-21.
  • Potowski, K. (2009). Forms and functions of code-switching by dual immersion students: A comparison of heritage speaker and L2 children. In M. Turnbull & Miles & J. Dailey-O’Cain (Eds.), First Language Use in Second and Foreign Language Learning (87-114). Bristol, UK: Multilingual Matters.
  • Potowski, K., Jegerski, J. & Morgan-Short, K. (2009). The effects of instruction on subjunctive development among Spanish heritage language speakers. Language Learning 59 (3): 537-579.
  • Torres, L. & Potowski, K. (2008). A comparative study of bilingual discourse markers in Chicago Mexican, Puerto Rican, and MexiRican Spanish. International Journal of Bilingualism, 12 (4), 263-279.
  • Potowski, K. (2008) ¿Por qué ofrecen una clase para hispanohablantes? In Jennifer Ewald & Anne Edstrom (Eds.), El español a través de la lingüística: Preguntas y respuestas. Somerville, MA: Cascadilla (228-241).
  • Potowski, K., Berne, J., Clark, A. and Hammerand, A. (2008). Spanish for K-8 Heritage Speakers: A Standards-Based Curriculum Project. Hispania, 91 (1), 25-41.
  • Potowsk, K. (2008). “I was raised talking like my mom”: The influence of mothers in the development of MexiRicans’ phonological and lexical features. In J. Rothman & M. Niño-Murcia (Eds.), Linguistic Identity and Bilingualism in Different Hispanic Contexts. New York: John Benjamins (201-220).
  • Montrul, S. & Potowski, K. (2007). Command of gender agreement in school-age Spanish-English Bilingual Children. International Journal of Bilingualism, 11 (3), 301-328.
  • Potowski, K. (2004). Spanish language shift in Chicago. Southwest Journal of Linguistics, 23 (1), 87-116.
  • Potowski, K. (2004). Student Spanish use and investment in a dual immersion classroom: Implications for second language acquisition and heritage language maintenance. Modern Language Journal, 88 (1), 75-101.
  • Potowski, K. (2003). Chicago's Heritage Language Teacher Corps: A model for improving Spanish teacher development. Hispania, 86 (2), 302-311.
  • Potowski, K. (2002). Experiences of Spanish heritage speakers in university foreign language courses and implications for teacher training. ADFL Bulletin, 33 (3), 35-42.

Journal Editing

  • Executive editor, Spanish in Context
  • Co-editor, Heritage Language Journal (2010-2013)

Other work

Fellowships and Awards

  • City University of New York Advanced Research Collaborative. Fellowship, January-June, 2016. “Maximizing Latino Spanish proficiency through dual language education.”  
  • 2013-2014. University of Illinois at Chicago. Institute for the Humanities Fellowship. Project title: “Do you bleed salsa or sofrito?”: Inter-Latino language and identity among “MexiRicans”
  • 2012. University of Illinois at Chicago, Faculty Scholarship Support Program and Liberal Arts and Sciences Dean's Award for Faculty Research in the Humanities. Project title: “Transnational youth.”
  • Fulbright Research Fellow: Oaxaca, Mexico, August 2011-June 2012. Project title: "Transnational youth: Los 'retornados' a México."
  • University of Illinois at Chicago, Great Cities Institute research fellowship. Arresting attrition: Spanish language maintenance in Chicago’s elementary schools. 2006-2007.
  • American Association of University Women postdoctoral grant. Mexican and Puerto Rican Spanish in Chicago. 2006.
  • University of Illinois at Chicago, Council for Excellence in Teaching and Learning’s Teaching Recognition Program award. 2003 and 2012.
profile photo

Contact Information

Office: 1707 UH, MC 315
Phone: 312-996-8524
Fax: 312-413-1044