IntraLatino Language and Identity
The increasing diversity of the U.S. Latino population has given rise to a growing population of “mixed” Latinos. This is a study of such individuals raised in Chicago, Illinois who have one Mexican parent and one Puerto Rican parent, most of whom call themselves “MexiRicans.” Given that these two varieties of Spanish exhibit highly salient differences, these speakers can be said to experience intrafamilial dialect contact. The book first explores the lexicon, discourse marker use, and phonological features among two generations of over 70 MexiRican speakers, finding several connections to parental dialect, neighborhood demographics, and family dynamics. Drawing from critical mixed race theory, it then examines MexiRicans’ narratives about their ethnic identity, including the role of Spanish features in the ways in which they are accepted or challenged by monoethnic, monodialectal Mexicans and Puerto Ricans both in Chicago and abroad. These findings contribute to our understandings of dialect contact, U.S. Spanish, and the role of language in ethnic identity.
[IMPACT: Studies in Language, Culture and Society, 43] 2016. ix, 278 pp.
Publishing status: Available
© John Benjamins Publishing Company
Table of Contents
Chapter 1. Theoretical background: Intrafamilial dialect contact and mixed ethnicity Latinos
Chapter 2. Spanish-speaking Chicago: Corpus and methodology
Chapter 3. Lexicon
Chapter 4. Discourse markers
Chapter 5. Phonology
Chapter 6. Connections between linguistic domains
Chapter 7. Ethnic identity discourses
Chapter 8. Conclusions
“A cutting-edge analysis of how mixed ethnicity Mexican and Puerto Rican individuals position themselves socially and linguistically. Expertly combining quantitative and qualitative methods, Potowski’s study fills a critical gap in sociolinguistics. She lets the speakers’ own voices provide a rich context for understanding how they negotiate and co-create complex and changing identities. Written in accessible language with clear and relevant examples, the book explores how speakers’ individual histories are linked to their linguistic patterns. With a healthy respect for variation within and among individuals, it contributes to a theoretical understanding of the concept of Latinidad in the U.S. At a time when Latinos are increasingly important in the nation’s political and social fabric, the book is timely and insightful.”
Carmen Fought, Pitzer College
“ IntraLatino Language and Identity: MexiRican Spanish is an impressive, state-of-the-art investigation of Spanish dialect contact within Mexican/Puerto Rican families in the U.S. In this innovative study of intrafamilial contact, Potowski analyzes a diverse and detailed linguistic data set using both quantitative and qualitative methods. Her results provide new contributions toward theoretical and empirical issues in sociolinguistics, including dialect contact and acquisition, the role of ethnicity, phenotype, migration, generational change, and construction of identity. Integrating her analyses on multiple linguistic levels (lexical items, discourse markers, phonology, clustering of linguistic features), Potowski provides timely perspectives on Spanish contact in the U.S. The book is clear, well informed, and thoroughly researched -- an authoritative, state-of-the-art source on Spanish dialect contact that will be valuable not only for linguistics, but also sociology, social psychology, anthropology, critical mixed race studies, cultural studies, area studies, and many other related disciplines”
James Stanford, Dartmouth College
“This is an important addition to the growing literature on Spanish dialect contact in the U.S. Its excellent analysis of ethnic identity discourses of second- and third-generation MexiRicans within the framework of critical mixed race theory is quite timely given current debates about ethnicity and racism and the growing heterogeneity of the U.S. population. Potowski’s study makes a significant contribution to our understanding of dialect contact, how Spanish is changing across generations in the U.S., and new ways of conceptualizing Latino U.S. Latino identity.”
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