Attitudes towards lexical borrowing and intra-sentential code-switching among Spanish-English bilinguals
The present study seeks to evaluate bilinguals’ attitudes towards the contact forms that are manifested in the speech of Spanish-English bilinguals in the United States, and the factors that contribute to this linguistic assessment. Towards that end, bilinguals of diverse proficiencies are presented with five versions of the fairytale Little Red Riding Hood/La Caperucita Roja: a normative Spanish text, two Spanish texts that contrast in the type of English lexical insertions made, and two code-switched texts, differentiated by type of intra-sentential alternation represented. Multiple measures are used to evaluate participants’ attitudes, including scalar judgments on personality characteristics of the authors of the texts. Data from fifty-three participants unveil a continuum of preferences that largely confirms the hypotheses posited: Spanish-English bilinguals evaluate single-noun insertions more positively than code-switching and report more fine-grained distinctions — differentiating specific versus core noun insertions and felicitous versus infelicitous code-switching — as commensurate with social and linguistic factors, such as language heritage and linguistic competence.
Keywords: Spanish, lexical borrowing, code-switching, English, language attitudes
Published online: 06 December 2007
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