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Ghosh Johnson, Subhadra Elka (2006) MEXIQUEÑO?: ISSUES OF IDENTITY AND IDEOLOGY IN A CASE STUDY OF DIALECT CONTACT. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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This study, set in an urban, predominantly Latino high school, addresses a situation of dialect contact between speakers of Puerto Rican and Mexican Spanish. Given the characteristics of this specific research context, existing models of dialect contact would have predicted the development of a linguistic phenomenon known as "koineization." This study finds that, contrary to these models, koineization is not taking place in this high school and that instead, the two dialects are remaining distinct. In this dissertation, I will first describe the unexpected social and linguistic situation found at this school. It will be shown that ethnic identity is a very salient social category, and that the cross-ethnic interaction necessary for koineization is not occurring. A linguistic analysis confirms that the two Spanish dialects are indeed remaining distinct. This dissertation proceeds to demonstrate that various social factors are extremely important to the dialect contact situation under study. Specifically, questions of ethnic identity and an ideology of essentialized difference are shown to have a powerful impact on interaction, language choice, and ultimately, koineization. It will also be seen that the uniqueness of this context—two dialects of a minority language alongside another, dominant language, English—also impacts the question of koineization. Thus, this study affords us new insights into the topic of dialect contact, and emphasizes the consideration that should be given to numerous social factors in any model of koineization. Methods of data collection in this study included semi-structured interviews and participant observation. Numerous rounds of interviews were conducted with progressively smaller groups of participants. The last phase of fieldwork consisted of a focus on twelve key participants who were representative of ethnicity, sex, and the social networks present in the school. In a fashion similar to Bailey (2002), one day was spent with each of these key participants while they carried a mini-disc recorder. The purpose of this data collection method was to obtain more insights into the natural language and interactional behavior of these key participants. Methods of data analysis were varied and included a social network analysis, a quantitative analysis of linguistic data, and discourse analysis.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Ghosh Johnson, Subhadra
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairKiesling, Scott F.Kiesling@pitt.eduKIESLING
Committee MemberStiehm, Brucebgs@pitt.eduBGS
Committee MemberLipski,
Committee MemberBerk-Seligson,
Date: 17 March 2006
Date Type: Completion
Defense Date: 25 October 2005
Approval Date: 17 March 2006
Submission Date: 6 December 2005
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Hispanic Languages and Literatures
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: ethnography; language and identity; language shift; linguistic ideologies
Other ID:, etd-12062005-171232
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 20:08
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 13:53


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