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Pluricentric Languages: New Perspectives in Theory and Description


Edited By Rudolf Muhr and Dawn Marley

This volume presents a selection of papers from the «3 rd International Conference on Non-Dominant Varieties of Pluricentric Languages» that was held in 2014 at the University of Surrey, Guildford (UK). The papers in section one deal with the theoretical aspects of pluricentricity and methods of description of the variations in pluricentric languages. Section two contains a number of papers about «new» pluricentric languages and «new» non-dominant varieties that have not been described before. Section three showcases pluricentric languages that are used alongside indigenous languages and section four deals with the pluricentricity of special languages.
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In search of a standard: Spanish in a small, upstate NY community


Juan A. Thomas*

(Utica College, NY, USA)

Abstract: Typical of many non-dominant varieties of pluricentric languages, U.S. Spanish does not have a codified standard. In earlier studies, the author described the code-switching, subject pronoun use, nominal possession and verbal system which characterize the Spanish spoken in Utica, NY, U.S. Although those parameters do not constitute a prescriptive standard, they could form a type of “linguistic standard and quasi codification set through usage” (Muhr, 2013: 30). The present study continues to explore what might be a standard for Utica Spanish, and U.S. Spanish, in general, and compares the parameters mentioned above with those of written Spanish obtained from El despertar hispano-americano, a column published in the Utica newspaper Observer-Dispatch (O-D). The parameters exhibit very different values which might be explained by the existence of different standards which govern communicative functions.

Considered on the world-wide stage, Spanish is a pluricentric language. National varieties of the language exist. The Real Academia Española (RAE) is recognized as the norm-setting authority for the Spanish language and establishes one standard traditionally based on northern Castilian Spanish, although its corresponding member academies have acquired a greater voice in recent publications of the RAE. In a country such as Spain, Castilian Spanish is a dominant variety of a pluricentric language and a prestigious code, used by speakers with economic, cultural and military power.

It is difficult to see how or even if U.S. Spanish fits into Spanish...

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