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Bookmark and Share Paper 2476

Language and Identity Construction: Can We Talk about a New Puerto Rican in the United States?
Edwin M. Lamboy
70-80 (complete paper or proceedings contents)


For decades, the image of Puerto Ricans and Puerto Rican Spanish in the United States has been based on the boricuas living in New York City. This was the preferred destination of Puerto Ricans who migrated to the mainland for generations. However, newcomers are settling in other locations, primarily Central Florida, and this new wave of Puerto Ricans differs from previous ones in terms of educational attainment, economic status, and ability to integrate into mainstream society. These individuals seem to be testing the mainstream notions about Puerto Ricanness and Puerto Rican Spanish exemplified by New York Puerto Ricans. They are taking a more conservative stand on the relationship between language and identity while claiming to provide a better and new model for Puerto Rican Spanish in the United States. In the process they seem to be rejecting the stereotypical views of New York Puerto Ricans in order to position themselves in the Puerto Rican landscape in the United States. Moreover, their opinions about the need for maintaining direct contact with the Island are different from those of their New York counterparts, and they also claim to use more Spanish in several domains. This study, which is the first one that focuses on the linguistic characteristics of this community, should begin to paint a picture about the new Puerto Rican in the United States.

Published in

Selected Proceedings of the 13th Hispanic Linguistics Symposium
edited by Luis A. Ortiz-López
Table of contents
Printed edition: $280.00