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Vernacular: Mother Tongues in Schools and Communities

This is a past event.

Tuesday, March 2, 2021 at 4:00pm

Virtual Event

In 1794, five years after the start of the French Revolution, Abbé Grégoire - a priest and revolutionary leader - presented a report on language in France to the newly formed National Convention. The title of his work?

Report on the necessity and means to annihilate the patois and to universalize the use of the French language.

Believe it or not, Grégoire was actually an abolitionist, and believed that teaching Standard French (and eradicating all the rest) was key in fighting for equality. The fact that the standard was literally being constructed on the basis of the speech of elites in Paris apparently didn’t register as itself a form of inequality, to say nothing of the impulse to “annihilate” the mother tongues of what was actually about 90% of the population.

So why are we dipping into the French Revolution to introduce CHUE’s next event, “Vernacular: Mother Tongues in Schools and Communities”?

Because Grégoire’s perspective - that the best way to promote equality in school and society is by eradicating linguistic difference - still holds sway to this day.

It’s time we talk about that.

In “Vernacular,” we’ll hear from poet and educator Willie Perdomo (, author of The Essential Hits of Shorty Bon Bon (winner of the International Latino Book Award) and Smoking Lovely (winner of the PEN Open Book Award) about writing and teaching in mother tongues. We’ll then hear from four humanities experts from around the country about unlocking the potential of mother tongues in education and beyond.

Check out the schedule below, mark your calendars for Tuesday 2 March at 4pm EST, and click here to join us on Zoom: HTTPS://GO.FIU.EDU/VERNACULAR

“Vernacular” is the second event in our cross-institutional “What is Latinx?” series.


Willie Perdomo

Anne Charity-Hudley (University of California, Santa Barbara)
"Sentiment vs. Skill: Unleashing the full humanity of the language of our parents in school settings— What will it take?

Glenn Hutchinson (Florida International University)
"Translingual Writing Centers"

Kim Potowski (University Illinois, Chicago)
"No Child Left Monolingual"

Ana Sánchez-Muñóz (California State University, Northridge)
"Conqueror and Conquered: Spanish in Ethnic Studies”