The Grammars of Bilinguals 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

The Grammars of Bilinguals in New York

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Pronoun rates are especially high among those born in New York, those who came as young children, and those who have lived in the city for a long time. Popular and scholarly assumptions regarding limited proficiency and incomplete acquisition of a simplified Spanish by heritage speakers are considered. Coherence of the concept of incomplete acquisition is challenged. Incomplete acquisition characterizes all intergenerational transmission, even in monolingual settings, and simplification is seen as part of normal language change. Simplification in the history of Spanish is reviewed. Simplification is widespread in New York bilingual lects, but there is no connection between simplification and reduced proficiency or incomplete acquisition. The highest users of pronouns in New York are studied. No convincing evidence of reduced proficiency is detected.

Keywords: heritage speakers; limited proficiency; incomplete acquisition; complete acquisition; simplified Spanish; simplification; language change; simplification in history of Spanish; simplification in New York bilingual lects; analysis of high pronoun users; no evidence of incomplete acquisition; no evidence of reduced proficiency; continuity with Latin American Spanish

Chapter.  8050 words. 

Subjects: Sociolinguistics

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