Elaine Shenk, Ph.D.

Associate Professor
Specialization: Spanish; Sociolinguistics
Office: Bellarmine 305
Phone: 610-660-1849
Fax: 610-660-2160
Email: eshenk@sju.edu

Curriculum Vitae (CV)

Elaine Shenk researches the sociolinguistic phenomena that occur in settings of langage contact, which include specific linguistic features as well as broader social issues such as the symbolic values and ideologies associated with that contact. Recent research focuses on varying ideologies related to language varieties and language officialization in both Puerto Rico and the United States in public sphere and legislative discourse.


  • Ph.D., University of Iowa (Spanish - Linguistics)
  • M.A., University of New Mexico (Spanish - Linguistics)
  • B.A, Eastern Mennonite University (Liberal Arts)

Courses Taught

Dr. Shenk has taught courses in Spanish at all levels, including Beginning and Intermediate Spanish, Spanish Conversation, Spanish Composition, Spanish for Heritage Speakers, Spanish in the Community (service-learning), Introduction to Spanish Linguistics, Spanish Dialectology, and Language Contact and Politics in the U.S.  She also regularly teaches courses in the Linguistics Program, including Language, Communication, and Culture (First-Year Seminar), Sociolinguistics, Bilingualism and Language Diversity, and Phonetics.


2017. ‘So yo creo que es un proceso evolutivo’: Language ideologies among Puerto Ricans in the United States. Multilingua 36(6). 727-760.

2016. El engañol y el cuco: Metaphors in the nexus between language and status in Puerto Rico. In Valdeón, Roberto (ed), Spanish in the USA: Linguistic, translational and cultural aspects, 12-28. London/NY: Routledge. (originally published in 2015 as article in Language and Intercultural Communication, 15(3). 324-340).

2015. Puerto Rico and the United States: The inclusion and evolution of language policy in U.S. Congressional bills, 1989-2010. Revista Canaria de Estudios Ingleses 71. 105-121.

2015. El engañol y el cuco: Metaphors in the nexus between language and status in Puerto Rico. Journal of Language and Intercultural Communication 15(3). 324-340.

2014. Co-authored with A. Dauphiais Civitelo. Qué revolú: The ¡Atrévete y dilo! campaign and language legitimation in Puerto Rico. In Readings in Language Studies, vol. 4, ed. by P. Chamness Miller, J. Watzke, and M. Mantero, 59-81. Grandville, MI: International Society for Language Studies.

2014. Teaching Sociolinguistic Variation in the Intermediate Language Classroom: El voseo in Latin America. Hispania 97(3). 368-381.

2013. H.R. 2499 Puerto Rico Democracy Act of 2010: Language Policy and the Burton Amendment. Journal of Language and Politics 12(4). 583-605.

2012. Puerto Rico’s language officialization debates: Perspectives from a mountain corridor community. CENTRO: Journal of the Center for Puerto Rican Studies 24(1): 90-119.

2011. Instrumental, Integrative, and Intrinsic: A Self-Determination Framework for Orientations Towards Language in a Puerto Rican Community. The Canadian Journal of Applied Linguistics 14(1). 155-176.

2011. Constructing Perspectives on Language Diversity in the U.S. Midwest. Spanish in Context 8(1). 144-168.

2011. Language officialization in Puerto Rico: Group-making discourses of protectionism and receptivity. Critical Inquiry in Language Studies 8(2). 176-202.

2008. Choosing Spanish: Dual Language Immersion and Familial Ideologies. In Bilingualism and Linguistic Identity, ed. by M. Niño-Murcia and J. Rothman, 221-256. Philadelphia: Benjamins.

2003. Characteristics of a Diglossic Society: An Ethnolinguistic Case Study of Three Communities in Guatemala. In Theory, Practice, and Acquisition: Papers from the 6th Hispanic Linguistics Symposium and the 5th Conference on the Acquisition of Spanish and Portuguese, ed. by P. Kempchinsky and C.E. Piñeros, 227-238. Somerville, MA: Cascadilla.

Grants and Awards

  • 2016  Honorable Mention, American Association for Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese Outstanding Scholarly Publication Award
  • 2014  Michael J. Morris Grant for Scholarly Research
  • 2012  Office of Mission Service-Learning Course Development Grant
  • 2012  Faculty Merit Award in Teaching
  • 2010  First-Year Seminar Curriculum Development Grant
  • 2009  Diversity Course Development Grant
  • 2008  Summer Research Grant, Board on Faculty Research and Development


Sociolinguistics; Spanish in the U.S.; Language Contact; Language Ideologies; Bilingualism; Language Policy/Language Planning

Mentions in SJU Magazine

Profile featured in SJU Magazine, Fall 2014 issue