ERIC Number: ED183324
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1978-Apr
Reference Count: 0
Lo Quebramos, But Only in Performance.
Lavandera, Beatriz R.
The Spanish tense system was chosen as a starting point to establish the systematic character of the Spanish used in situations of intense code switching between Spanish and English. The tense system was chosen for two reasons: (1) the distinction among past tenses (in particular, the imperfect indicative vs. the preterite and the past continuous) is especially difficult for a monolingual English speaker to learn, and (2) it is an area of the grammar where practically no variation has been reported among native dialects of Spanish. The language sample analyzed was taken at a Chicano family gathering (four men and five women) where code switching was the predominant language style. Analysis of one speaker's narrative (one of the few speech events conducted entirely in Spanish) showed that the use of Spanish past tenses was systematic and consistent with monolingual dialects of Spanish. However, the tense distribution was skewed towards a higher frequency of the imperfect indicative in an auxiliary than in a main verb alone. This can be explained as a consequence of language contact by the fact that English verbs use auxiliaries much more frequently than Spanish to express tense and aspect. The analysis of the distribution of tenses suggests that the Spanish spoken by United States bilinguals is an independent dialect of Spanish providing areas of structural equivalence where code switching can take place. (JH)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the National Conference on Chicano and Latino Discourse (Princeton, NJ, April, 1978)