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1993 Abstracts, Volumes 1-2.


An Analysis of Attitudes Toward Spanish as Expressed in US ENGLISH Update


ABSTRACT. An analysis of the content of the first ten years of the primary publication of the US ENGLISH organization, US ENGLISH Update, reveals that the main focus of the group is restriction of use of the Spanish language in the United States. This policy objective has its roots in language attitudes based on impressions and hearsay. US ENGLISH asserts that many US Spanish-speakers are not willing to learn English, for which bilingual education is singled out as a significant cause. US ENGLISH claims to support only constituency- and state-benefit-based language policies, but the ulterior goal that emerges is the elimination of ad hoc clientele-based language policy that serves Spanish-speakers of limited English proficiency. It is clear that, ultimately, some individuals associated with the organization wish to reduce the public use of Spanish, since that verbal behavior is what has lead them to become anxious about the status of English.

Gender Differentiation in Minority Language Loss Among Hispanic Children in Northern New Mexico


ABSTRACT. Sex differences in language skills among Hispanic children were examined in three Northern New Mexico communities. The bilingual proficiency of 205 subjects was measured by various instruments. A questionnaire was used to gather demographic data, self ratings in language proficiency, information on active language use, and language attitudes. The results indicate that females in rural communities are less proficient in Spanish and are the precursors in minority language loss in part because of language prestige and employment opportunities. Higher rates of male proficiency were evident only in the most rural location; thus, data was gathered in three more rural communities in order to substantiate the original findings. An additional 148 subjects were measured, and the results of the first study were verified. Overall, the correlative factors in gender differentiation in language loss include rurality, early stages of language shift, low socioeconomic status, social networks, and employment patterns.

The Anterior and Object Clitic Placement in Palenquero


ABSTRACT. Palenquero is a creole spoken in a village located in the northern coastal area of Colombia. Much of the influence on the syntactic behavior of the anterior marker in creoles is assumed to be from the substrate languages. However, in this paper it is argued that in Palenquero the morphosyntax of the anterior tense and its interaction with clitics is the result of a convergence of Iberian, especially Portuguese, and relevant African languages. Examples are provided to underscore the general point that the Iberian influence is understated and may have been more extensive than previously noted.

From Goya Portraits to Goya Beans: Elite Traditions and Popular Streams in U.S. Spanish Language Policy


ABSTRACT. The paper identifies the unwritten Spanish language policy in the United States by presenting a historical analysis of the different roles that Spanish has had throughout U.S. history. Drawing from sources of the Spanish language profession itself, the paper gives evidence of how Spanish has been used for the benefit of the Spanish and English-speaking elite, but has been restricted, and at times even forbidden, as a socioeconomic tool and symbol of identity of less fortunate U.S. Latinos. Five different historical periods are identified:
  1. The colonial period and early nation: 1699-1840. Spanish for trade.
  2. The 19th Century: Spanish for conquest and polite accomplishment
  3. The 20th Century: 1900-1968. From Spanish for imperialism to Spanish as ethnic marker.
  4. Post Civil Rights: 1968-1980. Spanish as ethnic problem and ethnic resource.
  5. The last decade: 1980 to present. Spanish for communication with monolinguals.
Throughout the paper reference is made to the tension between the two traditions of US Spanish: that of high culture, Goya art, and the museum, and that of Goya beans and the street. The paper ends by calling on the US Spanish language Profession to bring together the two traditions.

Spanish in the Indigenous Languages of Mesoamerica and the Southwest: Beyond Stage Theory to the Dynamic of Incorporation and Resistance


ABSTRACT. Contact between Spanish and indigenous languages in the Americas has been described for many years using a theory of historical stages, each marked by new and broader strategies of incorporation of Spanish into the indigenous languages. However, there are many exceptions to this orderly sequence of stages, and they are perhaps best understood as an account of the results of basic constraints on human cognition and the geographical and demographic conditions of contact. I focus on these exceptions in several languages Of Mesoarnerica and the U.S. Southwest, approaching these as formations of "voices." Speakers form "voices" in a relativel y self-conscious and strategic way, drawing on local understandings of language and history to shape and mediate the meanings of Spanish-language materials in ways that help them survive through shifting alignments of power throughout the colonial and post-colonial periods.

Syllabic Consonants in New Mexico Spanish: The Geometry of Syllabification


ABSTRACT. The traditional Spanish of northern New Mexico and Southern Colorado variably exhibits syllabic consonants (/m/, /n/, /r/, /l/) in the following contexts: (1) syllabic [m] occurs as a variant of mi before labial consonants (e.g. mi papá; (2) syllabic [m], [n], [l] and occasionally [r] appear before stressed /-it-/ (e.g. lomita, Juanito); (3) syllabic [m] occurs as a variant of un before labial consonants (e.g. un beso). In the first case, the syllabic [m] may develop a prothetic vowel (em papá). The present study analyzes these instances of syllabic consonants as the interaction of universal aspects of vocalic feature geometry, and a dialect-specific characteristic which allows resonants to absorb the feature [vocalic] when the remaining features of a vowel have been reassigned to neighboring segments, and, equipped both with a mora and with a [vocalic] specification, to become syllabic heads. Specifically, syllabic [m] in un before labial consonants occurs when the features defining /u/ are absorbed by the flanking labial consonants; [vocalic] is detached from the depleted feature matrix and reassigned to /m/. In the case of syllabic [m] deriving from mi before labial consonants, a similar process occurs; the vowel /i/ in this context is assumed to be unspecified for place features, and the Obligatory Contour Principle links the articulator nodes of the flanking labial consonants. Finally, syllabic consonants before -ito/-ita results from the unique interaction of the vowel /i/, specified only for a Coronal articulator, and the following coronal consonant. Thus, although the details vary, the existence of syllabic consonants in these dialects results from the same fundamental combination of dialect-specific and universal phonological feature reassignments.

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