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Sociolinguistic Change Across the Spanish-Speaking World

Case Studies in Honor of Anna María Escobar

Kim Potowski and Talia Bugel

This collection of essays presents cutting-edge research in Hispanic sociolinguistics. They include studies on language variation and change, contact varieties, language use, perception, and attitudes and focus on language varieties such as Peruvian Spanish, Mexican Spanish on the U.S. – Mexican border and in the Midwest, and two Peninsular varieties (in the Basque country and in Catalonia). This book is a Festschrift in honor of Anna María Escobar and her twenty-five years at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
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Son importantes los dos: Language use and attitudes among wives of Mexican profesionistas on the U.S.-Mexico border


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Sociolinguistic research over the last four decades has demonstrated that attitudes toward Spanish on the U.S.–Mexico border encompass affective and integrative attitudes as well as language loyalty, while attitudes toward English tended to be oriented toward instrumental purposes. Similarly, patterns of Spanish and English language use tended to indicate that Spanish was used in family, religious, and cultural domains, while English dominated in more public arenas or even showed an tendency to incur into the traditionally Spanish domains. The maintenance of Spanish in the U.S. has long been dependent on the continual influx of Spanish speaking immigrants, principally from Mexico. While immigrants from Mexico have typically been unskilled and in possession of limited education, the immigration stream has begun to show greater diversity as more of Mexico’s class of professionals (known as profesionistas) leave the violence, insecurity, and lack of job opportunities in their homeland and arrive in the U.S. in company of their families. Since 2007 university educated immigrants from Mexico have entered the immigration stream in increasing numbers, now accounting for 1 out of 9 immigrants.

Little is known about the language use and language attitudes of more educated, socially and economically advantaged immigrants from Mexico. The present study examines the language use and attitudes of the wives of immigrated Mexican profesionistas. These women typically accompany their husbands in their immigration to the U.S., not for the purposes of seeking employment themselves, but rather to occupy a supporting role in the...

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