Continuity, Language Contact, and Dialectal Leveling in Spanish in New York

Ricardo Otheguy and Ana Celia Zentella

in Spanish in New York

Published in print January 2012 | ISBN: 9780199737406
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199918621 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Studies in Sociolinguistics

Continuity, Language Contact, and Dialectal Leveling in Spanish in New York

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The chapter offers background demographic details on New York's Latino population and an initial illustration of the variable use of Spanish subject personal pronouns. The difference between tendencies and categorical differences is stressed, as is the orderly heterogeneity of pronoun use. The concepts of performance grammar, linguistic variable, reference lects, bilingual lects, and envelope of variation are introduced. An extensive review is presented of the literature on dialectal leveling and language contact, with emphasis on the permeability of grammar as a theory‐dependent notion. The prediction that pronominal usage in New York will be shaped by language contact and dialectal leveling is made. The need for explanation in variationist research is stressed. Initial details on the sample and method for obtaining and handling interviews are sketched out.

Keywords: Spanish; New York; New York Latino population; Spanish subject pronouns; categorical features; variable features; performance grammar; linguistic variable; reference lects; bilingual lects; envelope of variation; permeability of grammar; language contact; dialectal leveling; Vineyarder effect; Puerto Ricans; Cubans; Dominicans; Ecuadorians; Colombians; Mexicans

Chapter.  10895 words. 

Subjects: Sociolinguistics

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