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Sociolinguistic analysis of Mexican-American bilingualism: Spanglish as a sociocultural phenomenon


Judyta Pawliszko

The main purpose of the book is to describe the two linguistic-cultural phenomena arising from mass emigration of Mexicans to Los Angeles: Spanish-English bilingualism and Spanglish. The main thesis of the research is the correlation between Spanish-English bilingualism and Spanglish. As public opinion deemed Spanglish as a blocker for linguistic advancement or degraded Spanish, it is actually a method of enhancing the linguistic system. That is why, not only does the research contest the use of such terms, but it also argues that bilingualism is a much more compound and adequate term as well as an analytic framework for the study of bilingual productions. Spanglish should be understood as a form of bilingualism, a hybrid enriching the linguistic system.

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Chapter 2 Bilingual Speech Characteristics



Historically, the phenomenon of bilingualism has been a permanent and longstanding issue in the historical panorama of the United States. Despite visible opposition to linguistic code-mixing, the characteristic features of bilingual speech have been at the centre of interest for some decades now as numerous linguists aim to discover the principles of language processing, the mental organisation of languages by bilingual speakers, as well as the manner in which the two languages interact.

The above raises interesting possibilities for examination of the bilingual concept. Perhaps, the most persistent questions related to this process are: How is bilingualism expressed within a society? What are the main features of bilingualism? Is code-switching the most characteristic process present during bilingual speech production?

Through enquiries such as these, the present chapter examines the most significant traits of bilingual speech. The research will focus mainly on three core themes: interference, borrowing, and code-switching, which will be presented with examples from the vast body of literature.


The multitude of data elicited from the research conducted by Otheguy and Stern (2011:85–100) identify interference as one of the most important features of bilingual processes. According to the authors, there exist several attitudes in defining this concept.

Weinreich (1953:43) offers a definition by stating that interference includes “those instances of deviation from the norms of either language which occur in the speech of bilinguals as a result of their familiarity...

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