Identifier

etd-04142009-103050

Degree

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Foreign Languages and Literatures

Document Type

Thesis

Abstract

This thesis examines sociolinguistic characteristics of the Latino population in the Baton Rouge metro area and has a manifold purpose. The main purpose of the study is to determine whether Latinos consider that the way they speak their native language –Spanish– has changed as a consequence of their living in Baton Rouge, i.e., the United States. A questionnaire was applied to 106 Latinos in Baton Rouge, 58 male and 48 female, between the ages of 18 and 71 years old, from several socioeconomic backgrounds (white collar workers, blue collar workers, etc.). They represent 14 Latin American countries. I tested a total of 48 factor groups using Goldvarb as my statistical tool to determine their statistical significance. The factor groups examined include influence of the English language, diglossic environments, linguistic insecurity, and subject personal pronoun expression. Eight significant variables were found, with respect of to the main research question. The results showed that Latinos think their native Spanish has changed, essentially because of the influence of other Latinos with whom they have constant contact, but also because of the influence of the English language. Moreover, it was determined that the number of years in the United States is a factor that favors the occurrence of the dependant variable; the longer Latinos live here, they are more likely to report changes in their Spanish. Besides, it was found that the informants have constant contact with the Spanish spoken in their home country, but this factor has not stopped the change they perceived in their language. Latinos also have a high degree of bilingualism at work, meanwhile Spanish is the main language spoken at home. In addition, informants showed a positive attitude towards their native dialect, although some traces of linguistic insecurity were found among Salvadorans, Hondurans and Puerto Ricans. Finally, some particularities in the use of second person pronouns were found, such as the rare use of the pronoun vos among speakers who come from countries were this pronoun is highly used.

Date

2009

Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Rafael Orozco

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