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Multilingualism

VIEWS: 5 PAGES: 1

									                             S e r ie s o n M u ltilin g u a lis m
                                            Professor

                   Ricardo Otheguy
                             Graduate Center, CUNY

      Contact and Leveling in
  Pronominal Usage in Six Dialects
    of Spanish in New York City
Widespread community bilingualism and a complex urban environment are generally believed to
constitute two powerful ingredients for the instantiation of rapid linguistic change. The CUNY Project
on the Spanish of New York, directed by the author jointly with Ana Celia Zentella, has gathered a very
large data base of spoken Spanish by six different national-origin groups in New York City. This rich
data base is being used to test the proposition that bilingualism and the urban setting can produce rapid
contact-induced and leveling-induced change in Spanish subject personal pronouns (SPPs). The corpus
of more than 130 sociolinguistic interviews contains over 50,000 verbs that are sites for variation
between null and overt SPPs.
The corpus has been carefully stratified according to a variety of criteria, and selected in equivalent
numbers from speakers with origins in Cuba, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Colombia, Ecuador,
and Mexico. For each speaker, an array of personal and language-use variables (level of education,
social class, amount of use of Spanish, etc.) provides a sociolinguistic profile to be mapped onto
patterns of variation in the use of SPPs. For each verb of each speaker, fifteen grammatical variables
have been coded in order to articulate the pattern of variation that is correlated with the sociolinguistic
profile. Results and analyses will be presented for both grammatical and socio-demographic variables,
and conclusions drawn regarding the balance between persistence of Latin American Spanish features
and of contact-and leveling-driven innovations.

                             Saturday, November 8, 2003
                                        11 am
                         Teachers College, Columbia University
                                   438 Horace Mann

      CO-SPONSORED BY THE INTERNATIONAL LINGUISTIC ASSOCIATION

								
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