Southern-Bred Hispanic English: An Emerging Socioethnic Variety
Walt Wolfram, Mary E. Kohn, and Erin Callahan-Price
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This paper considers the nature of emerging socioethnic varieties of Hispanic English in the Mid-Atlantic South, the region of the US with the fastest growing Latino population over the past two decades. The emergence of these communities raises a number of important questions about the development of new varieties of English, including the social and linguistic processes involved in the construction of new socioethnic varieties, the nature of substrate influence and accommodation to local dialect traits, and how emerging varieties compare with more established varieties such as Chicano English in the Southwest. Linguistic variables considered in the analysis include the Southern ungliding of the diphthong /ai/, the accommodation of quotative be like, the occurrence of syllable-coda consonant cluster reduction, syllable-timing, and past-tense verb marking. The results indicate that there is inherent gradience and variation in both transfer and accommodation and that the lexicon plays a prominent early role in accommodation; it further illustrates that structural reconfiguration and reallocation should be considered natural by-products of language contact rather than exceptions. The results demonstrate that the sources for the construction of emerging varieties are multiple, complex, and interactive rather than unilateral and simple, and that new contact situations such as these offer a unique opportunity to examine the process of ethnic dialect formation and dialect accommodation in its formative stages.
Selected Proceedings of the 5th Workshop on Spanish Sociolinguistics
edited by Jim Michnowicz and Robin Dodsworth
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