This study explores the relationship between Spanish language usage and ethnic identity. A specific language event where Chicano discourse was discussed and used by members of the group is analyzed. The oldest members of the group were generally monolingual Spanish speakers; younger members of the group tended to be monolingual English speakers; middle-aged members were usually bilingual. Language shift from Spanish/English bilingualism to English monolingualism is attributed to increased interaction within Anglo-dominated settings. Switching served as a conversational technique and functioned to identify the speaker's linguistic competence as well as to increase group cohesiveness. Both constitutive and reconstructive accounts are analyzed to explore attitudes toward different Spanish language usage, specifically, the degree to which negative sanctions toward Spanish usage are internalized, particularly within the family domain, and the impact of language policy on community interaction. The analysis of conversation uncovered negotiations about linguistic norms, as well as sanctions used by members to enforce norms.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Linguistics and Language