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A linguistic analysis of Spanglish:relating language to identity

Issue: Vol 1 No. 3 (2005) Vol. 1, No. 3 (2005) FREE SAMPLE ISSUE

Journal: Linguistics and the Human Sciences

Subject Areas: Writing and Composition Linguistics

DOI: 10.1558/lhs.2005.1.3.515


According to the 2000 census, 35.3 million Hispanics live in the United States. This number comprises 12.5% of the overall population rendering the Latino community
the largest minority in the United States. The Mexican community is not only the largest Hispanic group but also the fastest growing: from 1990 to 2000, the Mexican
population grew 52.9% increasing from 13.5 million to 20.6 million (U.S. Department of Commerce News, 2001). The influx of Mexican immigrants coupled with the expansion
of their community within the United States has created an unparalleled situation of language contact. Language is synonymous with identity (cf. Granger, 2004, and
works cited within). To the extent that this is true, Spanish is synonymous with being Mexican and by extension, Chicano. With the advent of amnesty programs such as
Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA), which naturalized millions of Mexican migrants, what was once a temporal migratory population has become increasingly
permanent (Durand et al., 1999). In an effort to conserve Mexican traditions and identity, the struggle to preserve the mother tongue while at the same time acculturate
to mainstream Americana has resulted in a variant of Spanglish that has received little attention. This paper will examine the variant of Spanglish seen in the greater
Los Angeles area and liken it to the bi-national identity under which these Mexican Americans thrive.

Author: Jason Rothman, Amy Beth Rell

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