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

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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 3 Spanglish Development

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Introduction

The Mexican presence in the USA is obvious and so is Spanish speech. As the second most frequently spoken language of the United States, its alliance with English has created a very common scenario in a world shaped by words; namely, the amalgamation of two languages. The outcome of this relation is Spanglish.

The present section includes an analysis of this linguistic encounter phenomenon, yet it reaches further. Not only are the core linguistics elements of Spanglish examined, but the study also provides answers to the principal research questions involving Spanish-English amalgamation: What exactly is Spanglish? Does it have a hybrid character? While the aforementioned queries have somewhat convincing answers, the question of whether Spanglish is a triumph of globalisation, an evil by-product, or simply an abominable notion, is an emotionally charged issue and it is impossible to offer a satisfactory response.

In a society in which the lexicon either helps or hinders comprehension of reality, Spanglish is reviled as the jargon of poor, uneducated immigrants. According to many researchers, it is grouped under the derogatory umbrella as the bastard creation of verbal confusion “disowned by Father English and orphaned by Madre Espańol” (Maduro 1987:1). In stark contrast with such notions, others hail it as an absolutely “legitimate language in its early stages, the embryonic lingua franca of the future or the triumph of globalisation and multiculturalism” (Montes 2003:45; Parodi 1999:521; Walczuk-Beltrão 2008:192).

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