Department of Teaching, Learning and Teacher Education


Date of this Version



Published in Language Policy, 2021.



Copyright © 2021 Edmund T. Hamann & Theresa Catalano. Published under exclusive license to Springer Nature B.V. Used by permission


Dual language (DL) programs propose to be vehicles of social justice and transformation by valuing an additional language other than the dominant one in a society and thereby contesting language hierarchies and the subordination of those who speak/use a non-dominant language (Flores, Flores, Educational Policy 30:13–38, 2016; Menken and García, Menken, K., & García, O. (2021). Constructing translanguaging school policies and practices. In: CUNY-New York State Initiative on Emergent Bilinguals (Eds.) Translanguaging and transformative teaching for emergent bilingual students. Project. Routledge, New York.). However, Palmer (Henderson, K. I., & Palmer, D. K. (2020). Dual Language Bilingual Education: Teacher Cases and Perspectives on Large-scale Implementation. Multilingual Matters.: 11) warned that DL programs risk becoming “enrichment foreign-language immersion to middle- and upper-class White children” and hence “lost opportunit[ies] for transformation.” This “gentrification” of DL efforts is enabled by racial, economic, and linguistic hierarchies of power (Valdez, Freire, and Delavan, Valdez et al., The Urban Review 48:601–627, 2016). Our analysis of five images from a corpus of 34 online news articles considers how photographic depictions of DL programs can manifest gentrification in non-linguistic ways that nonetheless reinforce moves away from DL for social transformation and toward DL as hegemonic. This paper clarifies how multimodal critical discourse analysis (MCDA) and Habermasian notions of the public sphere critically complement how public spaces (in this case schools) get imbued with “specific values that mediate inhabitants’ interpretations of themselves and their relation to others in a space” (Hult, Hult, Tollefson and Pérez-Milans (eds.), The Oxford handbook of language policy and planning, Oxford University Press, 2018: 338). Findings reveal nuanced ways in which world language populations are protagonized visually and related ways that heritage/maintenance populations are either erased or marginalized. This helps explain the key assertion—that visual images can reinforce DL program gentrification—but also augments the theoretical toolkit available to study how progressive intentions of DL can become co-opted.