(Re)constructing Linguistic Identity in Southern California The Role of Spanglish

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Pablo Camus
Linda R. Lemus


This study aims to explore the complex and multifaceted ways in which young adults of Mexican descent negotiate and construct their identities and the role that the full range of linguistic repertoire of Spanish-Spanglish-English plays in
this process. Through the review of language narratives, we explore the language practices and histories of 41 Spanish heritage speakers of Mexican descent who grew up in North Orange County, California, taking a Spanish class in community college. A qualitative analysis of the narratives was followed to allow them to make sense of themselves in a holistic portrayal. In addition, quantitative surveys were administered in order to explore their motivations, attitudes, and beliefs about their languages and to enhance our understanding about their identity. Results echo Bustamante-López’s (2008) findings that participants take
on multiple linguistic identities depending on the social circumstance and interactions at hand. In addition, the analysis also suggests positive attitudes towards Spanglish as an index of the social identity, although a minority still holds negative attitudes that stem from linguistic insecurities and deficit language ideologies (Tseng 2021). Results are explained in light of the role that the community plays in their attitudes and identity construction (Parra, 2016) and the role that academics and practitioners have in promoting spaces for recognizing linguistic diversity in the Spanish language classroom.

Article Details

Research Articles
Author Biography

Pablo Camus, Soka University of America

Professor Pablo Camus, PhD

Assistant Professor of Spanish Language and Culture


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