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Open Access Publications from the University of California


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Voices consists of articles written on topics related to all aspects of the Spanish of the United States including linguistic contact, multilingualism, language and education, language politics and language maintenance, just to name a few. Intended as a way to publicize and disseminate the growing store of knowledge about the Spanish spoken in the US and related issues, this graduate student publication aims to bring more visibility to issues related to the Spanish of the United States and help to demonstrate that that Spanish spoken in this country is a legitimate linguistic variety and deserves further study.

Bilingualism and Beyond

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The (Not-So) Distant Relation between Spanish and Arabic

This paper reviews the outcomes of linguistic contact between the Spanish and Arabic languages from the fifteenth century until the present day. While much is known about the relation between these two languages during the period 711–1492, the current scope of investigation explores the variants produced by such contact. This study reviews the distinct cases of language contact in Ceuta and Melilla, as well as the Moroccan Judeo-Spanish vernacular of the Sephardim, Haketia, which developed in cities such as Tetuan and Tangier.

Where Bilingualism Mattered: Nahuatl on the Western and Northern Frontiers of New Spain

During the colonial period (1521–1821), translators facilitated the expansion and preservation of Spanish rule in what is now Mexico. Doña Marina relied on her knowledge of Nahuatl, Maya, and Spanish to aid the Spanish forces led by Hernán Cortés, and the individual situations where she became a translator can be considered episodes of translation, but episodes with other translators are less well known. This study examines two episodes where translators relied on Nahuatl as a mediating language on the frontiers of Spanish hegemony, and it proposes that Nahuatl served as a lingua franca in these areas.

The Silencing of the Californios: Tracing the Beginnings of Linguistic Repression in 19th Century California

How was Spanish in California silenced? Which were the sociolinguistic decisions that forced Spanish into a secondary place in the history of California? This paper discusses, using contemporary sources, how the linguistics situation in California changed from politically protected bilingualism to strict monolingualism in the nineteenth century, and which were the sociolinguistic consequences for Spanish speakers.

Latinos and Other Minorities in Los Angeles: Their Languages

In Los Angeles, among other ethnic groups, live Anglos, Latinos, Koreans, Japanese, Chinese, Iranians, Arabs, Russians, French and Israelis, just to mention a few. They use their native or heritage languages mostly to communicate with each other within their ethnic group. In fact, these speakers and their languages are not erratically intermingled, but grouped by ethnicity in different geographical areas in the city. In this paper, I address the social and linguistic similarities and differences of the minority languages most widely spoken in Los Angeles, which is a geographical point of attraction and irradiation in Southern California. In fact, major ethnic and linguistic diversity in the Western United States is localized in Los Angeles.

Are Parent Voices Being Lost without Translation? The Importance of Spanish in Communication between Parents and Los Angeles Public School Administrators

In light of the recent scandals that have surfaced in Los Angeles area schools, this article explores the importance that the Spanish language has in public schools, beyond instruction, particularly in communication with parents and the surrounding community. Although there is no doubt that most of the student body is bilingual, a considerable portion of parents are not, creating a situation in with they are left without a voice. Both anecdotal and statistical data will be presented to support the claim that having bilingual administrators will help ensure that the concerns and complaints of all parents are heard and addressed.

‘You Speak Good English for Being Mexican’ East Los Angeles Chicano/a English: Language & Identity

East Los Angeles Chicano/a English (ELACE) is characterized by unique linguistic features that differentiate it from other varieties of English spoken in the Los Angeles metropolitan area. This paper will explore some of the more salient features that lead to many assumptions about the speaker of the variety, some negative and others potentially positive. Additionally, it argues that ELACE is not simply a sociolect reserved for communities of low socioeconomic status, but rather, it is an ethnolect that serves to represent the rich culture of the diverse Latino/a groups represented in East Los Angeles.

One Margarita, Please! Language Attitudes Regarding Pronunciation in the Language of Origin

Much research has been performed on English spoken with an accent (c.f. Carranza and Ryan 1975; Lippi-Green 1997) and English borrowings in Spanish (c.f. González 1999). However, there is a lack of information regarding Spanish words that maintain their original phonetic realization when spoken in English. The present study reveals data concerning attitudes towards this phenomenon, if and how it is stigmatized, and by whom.

Why Teaching Pronunciation to Spanish L2 Learners Matters

In an increasingly globalized world, second language learners need to learn how to communicate effectively and confidently. In this context, pronunciation is crucial. In this paper, I show that placing emphasis on form in a classroom environment helps with the perception and the production of a more native-like L2 (in this study, Spanish).