It is well known that women lead language change in monolingual settings, but this women effect has not been thoroughly investigated for bilingual settings where factors such as language contact come into play. This study examines an ongoing change in Spanish spoken in New York City (NYC) having to do with the alternation between expression and omission of subject personal pronouns with tensed verbs (e.g. canto ~ yo canto, 'I sing'). Bivariate and multivariate analyses of 116 NYC Spanish speakers' pronoun use show that Latin American women are ahead of men with respect to both increasing rates of pronoun use and desensitization to the impact of switch-reference on pronoun use. It is suggested that the female lead among Latin American immigrants is due to extensive intergenerational contact between women and their high-pronoun using bilingual children.
Selected Proceedings of the 6th Workshop on Spanish Sociolinguistics
edited by Ana M. Carvalho and Sara Beaudrie
Table of contents