When political activists rallied for the abolition of bilingual education and even called for the declaration of English as an official language, Mexican Americans and other immigrant groups saw this as an assault on their heritage and civil rights. Because language is such a defining characteristic of Mexican American ethnicity, nearly every policy issue that touches their lives involves language in one way or another. This book offers an overview of some of the central issues in the Mexican American language experience, describing it in terms of both bilingualism and minority status. It is the first book to focus on the historical, social, political, and structural aspects of multiple languages in the Mexican American experience and to address the principles and methods of applied sociolinguistic research in the Mexican American community. Spanish and non-Spanish speakers in the Mexican American community share a common set of social and ethnic bonds. They also share a common experience of bilingualism. As Martinez observes, the ideas that have been constructed around bilingualism are as important to understanding the Mexican American language experience as bilingualism itself. Mexican Americans and Language gives students the background they need to respond to the multiple social problems that can result from the language differences that exist in the Mexican American community. By showing students how to go from word to deed (del dicho al hecho), it reinforces the importance of language for their community, and for their own lives and futures.