Metalinguistic References in a Spanish/English Corpus

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American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese


A corpus of novels and short stories containing Spanish/English code-switching offers a rich source of metalinguistic references reflecting the sociolinguistic pressures faced by Spanish speakers in the United States. Issues represented include: heritage language loss or maintenance, motivations for the acquisition of English or of Spanish, attitudes toward the speakers of each language and toward its different varieties, and beliefs concerning who may use which languages and for what purposes. These texts suggest several implications for use in programs of Spanish for Native Speakers as well as in undergraduate courses in Spanish linguistics. Works from this body of literature can be used in the classroom to raise interest in and awareness of personal and societal language attitudes, and of the challenges to Spanish language maintenance. These texts also present many interesting examples of language variation.