Article published in:Spanish in Contact: Policy, Social and Linguistic Inquiries
Edited by Kim Potowski and Richard Cameron
[IMPACT: Studies in Language, Culture and Society 22] 2007
► pp. 41–58
3. Anglicismos en el léxico disponible de los adolescentes hispanos de Chicago
The degree of English present in the available lexicon of adolescent first and second generation Hispanics in Chicago is analyzed. Available lexicon is defined as (1) the sum of words that speakers have in their mental systems and (2) whose use is conditioned by a particular topic. Given the English environment in which these youth live and are educated, we hypothesize that their Spanish would show a notable number of English lexical loans. The author elicited available lexicon by asking the teens to list words by association within 22 different semantic fields. These include, the human body, clothing, parts of the house, food and drink, school, transportation, means of heating and cooling interior spaces, etc. In turn, the frequency of the words was calculated to arrive at a statistical index of availability. Of the 20 words most commonly listed in each of the semantic fields, only 26 (6.5%) were Anglicisms, indicating that the Spanish lexicon of these young U.S. Latinos is sufficiently solid to permit communication about general topics. A greater number of English words were present in more esoteric fields such as “means of heating and cooling interior spaces,” which is to be expected given that this field is not part of the everyday experience of most teenagers. There were no significant differences related to gender or even to generation; it was the participants' level of Spanish, defined by the level of Spanish course in which they were enrolled, that showed the greatest correlation with the presence of English lexical items.
Published online: 16 July 2007
Cited by 3 other publications
Otheguy, Ricardo & Nancy Stern
Showstack, Rachel E.
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