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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 4 Mexican Immigrants in Los Angeles

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Introduction

Immigration has been a permanent and long-standing issue throughout the history of the United States. In spite of visible opposition to immigration, the influx of new settlers has been steadily increasing over the past half century. Based on data from the US Census Bureau (2013), it may be estimated that as of 2013, approximately 54 million Latinos resided in the United States, comprising 17.1 % of the total US population, up from 3.5 % in 1960. According to the most recent prognoses, the Hispanic share of the US population is expected to reach 28.6 % by 2060. More importantly, however, of all the ethnic groups included in these figures, the Mexican-origin Hispanic enclave accounts for 28 % of the country’s population, making it the largest minority in the United States.

By investigating the entire span of the US historical panorama, no Latino country has ever experienced as many of its residents immigrating to the United States as Mexico has in the past few decades. Thus, for better or worse, the characteristics of the Hispanic flow shape the contours of the present-day bilingualism debate.

4.1Historical panorama of Mexican immigration to the USA

Historically, Mexican immigration to the United States has been a continuous social process for more than a century. What Borjas (2007:70) advocates, is the role of the political and economic forces, “as the sensitive issue of immigration has often been at the centre of the relationship between...

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