Varieties of Spanish in the United States
Publication Year: 2008
Published by: Georgetown University Press
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This book is the result of an entire academic career spent observing, evaluating, investigating, and promoting the Spanish language in the United States. It is intended to serve as a reference work for teachers, scholars, and interested bystanders, a testimony to the vitality of the Spanish language in the United States, its legitimacy as a means of...
1. The Importance of Spanish in the United States
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After English, Spanish is the most commonly used language in the United States, and its speakers represent the fastest-growing language minority in the country. On a worldwide scale, the United States is home to the fifth largest Spanish-speaking population and is well on its way to fourth place—a position it may already hold if uncounted...
2. Overview of Scholarship on Spanish in the United States
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The bibliography of research and scholarship on the Spanish language in the United States is large and is growing rapidly. It is also scattered across a wide range of monographs, anthologies, periodicals, and conference proceedings, spanning a period of more than a century. To a great extent, the course of scholarship...
3. Spanish, English, or . . . Spanglish?
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When referring to racial and ethnic minorities in the United States, a number of words and expressions once used frequently and insensitively have fallen out of favor, and they are now shunned in favor of more accurate designations. Words once openly spoken in reference to African Americans, Jews, Italians...
4. Mexican Spanish in the United States
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Mexicans and Mexican Americans are by far the largest Latino group in the United States, making up nearly 59% of the total Latino population recorded in the 2000 census. They are also the group that has shared the longest history with the United States. For many Americans of all ages, terms such as “Hispanic,” “Latino,” “Latin...
5. Cuban Spanish in the United States
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Cuban Americans are the third-largest Hispanophone group in the United States, with a population of more than 1 million, the majority of whom speak Spanish. The presence of a large Cuban community in the United States has prompted a number of detailed phonological, sociolinguistic, and lexical studies, nearly all focusing on the educated...
6. Puerto Rican Spanish in the United States
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Puerto Ricans represent the second-largest Latino group in the United States. In much of the Northeast, Puerto Rican is virtually synonymous with Latino, and popular notions of Latino culture are often confused with the harsh reality of urban ghettoization, which was the sad fate of the first generations of Puerto Ricans in the industrial...
7. Dominican Spanish in the United States
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From the early twentieth century until very recently, the largest Spanish-speaking group in the New York City urban area was Puerto Ricans—first those born on the island, and then those born and raised in the mainland United States. In the last decade or so, the Dominican Republic has replaced Puerto Rico as the source of the largest number...
8. Central American Spanish in the United States
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Beginning in the 1980s immigration from Central America to the United States reached considerable proportions, and as of the 2000 census Central American communities in the United States represent some 5% of the total Latino population, outnumbering both Cubans and Dominicans. A combination of economic reasons and...
9. Salvadoran Spanish in the United States
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Salvadorans make up 2% of the U.S. Latino population, the same order of magnitude as the Dominican population reported in 2000 (although the rapid growth of the latter group will probably eclipse Salvadoran immigration in the future). Even before the civil turmoil in El Salvador that began in the late 1970s, Salvadorans immigrated...
10. Nicaraguan Spanish in the United States
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Nicaraguan Spanish is the third largest Central American variety of Spanish represented in the United States (after Salvadoran and Guatemalan), but in areas where Nicaraguans are a majority, it is naturally the prevailing variety. The largest single Nicaraguan community in the United States is found in Miami, especially in the...
11. Guatemalan and Honduran Spanish in the United States
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Guatemalans represent the second largest Central American group in the United States, after Salvadorans. In some areas significant groups of Guatemalans are concentrated in one locality, and there are pockets of Guatemalan Spanish in the United States. Most of these communities are formed of indigenous Guatemalans speaking a variety...
12. Traditional Varieties: New Mexico and Louisiana
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In addition to the Spanish-speaking communities described in the preceding chapters, all of which have resulted either from immigration or from the territorial expansion of the United States over the past 150 years, there exist several varieties of Spanish that stem from much different circumstances. These are linguistic enclaves of older...
13. Language Mixing and Code Switching
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The Spanish language in the United States is in constant contact with English. Many Latinos living here use English more frequently than Spanish, almost all have more formal education in English than in Spanish, and an undetermined but likely large segment of the Latino population is demonstrably more proficient in English than...
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Page Count: 320
Publication Year: 2008