A Corpus-Assisted Discourse Study of Attitudes toward Spanish as a Heritage Language in Florida
- Q1: Do the data reveal attitudinal differences with regard to the status and the solidarity dimension?
- Q2: Are attitudes expressed differently in the English and the Spanish corpus?
- Q3: Do the data provide possible explanations for the low vitality of Spanish in Florida?
3.1. Data Collection
3.2. Data Analysis
4.1. Attitudes on the Status Dimension
“In April, national unemployment for Latinos peaked at 18.5%. For Latina women, it was even higher, at 20.”
“Because Trump is beating Biden with the Hispanic vote and 3/4 with Spanish speaking voters (did the poll in Spanish) Democrats made another stupid move and made Bush Republican Anna Navarro their Latino outreach. Democrats need to do better if they want to win.”
“Trump se encuentra en el sur de Florida en busca del voto latino, uno de los bloques de votantes más importantes del estado https …” (Trump finds himself in South Florida looking for the Latin vote, one of the most important blocks of voters in the state https …)
“Telemundo seems to want their Spanish speaking audience to vote for Trump. Remember this is one of only two Spanish networks in America. They have a lot of power.”
4.2. Attitudes on the Solidarity Dimension
“It is important speaking with them one on one (in Spanish) and connecting to the community in Spanish. When I was a kid, this was the only way for me to connect with my people.”
“I am half Colombian half Mexican. I start speaking Spanish and they’re like, where’d you learn that. It’s always so nice to see that your community and friends appreciate your language. This is my city, I belong here.”
“Speaking Spanish is my heritage. It is what makes me who I am.”
“My miami family made me embrace more my Spanish side and I realized how much I’ve been missing out.”
“I remember in elementary school being forbidden from speaking Spanish with my mom. They actually threatened to send child services to accuse my mom of leaving me unequipped to deal with American society for speaking Spanish to me.”6
“My mom encouraged me to speak English at home to avoid an accent.”
Institutional Review Board Statement
Informed Consent Statement
Data Availability Statement
Conflicts of Interest
Appendix A. Translations of the Concordance Lines in Figure 4, Figure 5 and Figure 7
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While this definition only makes reference to attitudes toward entire varieties (i.e., languages, dialects, accents), there is in fact also a growing body of research toward particular linguistic features and phenomena, including attitudes toward quotatives (Buchstaller 2006), vocal fry (e.g., Yuasa 2010), phonetic variables (e.g., Díaz-Campos and Killam 2012), and forms of address (e.g., Moyna and Loureiro-Rodríguez 2017). However, this article focuses exclusively on attitudes toward the Spanish language.
They investigated representations of multilingualism as a metalinguistic construct in traditional media and then compared these with survey-based attitudinal data.
As these numbers indicate, there was an average of 29 words per tweet in the English corpus, compared to an average of 25 words per tweet in the Spanish corpus. There are several possible reasons for this difference, including the fact that Spanish is a pro-drop language (i.e., certain classes of pronouns can be omitted in contexts where they are grammatically and/or pragmatically inferable). It is also possible that the lower average word count per tweet in the Spanish corpus is a result of the fact that many Spanish tweets included links, as we will discuss below. Links count as one word but take up many character spaces. In any case, it is very unlikely that the different averages of words per tweet affected our overall findings.
Another common procedure is the investigation of keywords—that is, words which are unusually frequent when one’s own corpus is compared to a larger reference corpus (see, e.g., Vessey 2016b). However, for reasons of space, this procedure is not discussed here.
This means that we investigated not only the infinitive “hablar” (“to speak”) itself but also all conjugated forms of this verb.
Evidently, we cannot know whether the tweeter and their mother were actually in Florida at the time of this occurrence. In fact, the tendency for Latinx parents to use English with their children is not an uncommon one in the US (see, e.g., Martinez et al. 2019). Nevertheless, given that there is much evidence of language-based discrimination of Florida’s Spanish-speaking population (see, e.g., The Associated Press 2019), we consider this tweeter’s recollection of their mother’s behaviour meaningful in the present context.
|Word||Abs. freq.||Rel. freq.||Word||Abs. freq.||Rel. freq.|
|negative||Category total||1386||2.56 wptt||Category total||48||0.91 wptt|
|Negative and positive||work||2853||5.27||trabajo||217||4.12|
|Category total||9621||17.76 wptt||Category total||420||7.96 wptt|
|Category total||34,451||63.6 wptt||Category total||1252||28.95 wptt|
|Overall total||45,458||83.92 wptt||Overall total||1720||37.82 wptt|
|Category||Word||Abs. Freq.||Rel. Freq.||Word||Abs. Freq.||Rel. Freq.|
|Category total||23,117||42.72 wptt||Category total||943||17.9 wptt|
|Category total||13,579||25.09 wptt||Category total||318||6.01 wptt|
|Overall total||36,696||67.81 wptt||Overall total||1261||23.91 wptt|
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Kutlu, E.; Kircher, R. A Corpus-Assisted Discourse Study of Attitudes toward Spanish as a Heritage Language in Florida. Languages 2021, 6, 38. https://doi.org/10.3390/languages6010038
Kutlu E, Kircher R. A Corpus-Assisted Discourse Study of Attitudes toward Spanish as a Heritage Language in Florida. Languages. 2021; 6(1):38. https://doi.org/10.3390/languages6010038Chicago/Turabian Style
Kutlu, Ethan, and Ruth Kircher. 2021. "A Corpus-Assisted Discourse Study of Attitudes toward Spanish as a Heritage Language in Florida" Languages 6, no. 1: 38. https://doi.org/10.3390/languages6010038