Writing and Language Studies Faculty Publications and Presentations

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New Mexico’s unique linguistic and ethnic heritage is the result of a complex history of colonization characterized by oppression. This chapter examines how, in this context of oppression, New Mexican Spanish speakers negotiate ethnic identities through bilingual talk-in-interaction. The study takes an ethnomethodological approach to identity as something that people ‘do’ (Widdicombe, 1998) and analyzes how New Mexican Spanish speakers ‘do’ ethnic identities. The present analysis is based on a subset of the New Mexico and Colorado Spanish Survey (Vigil & Bills, 2000), including 30 fully transcribed audio-recordings of semi-structured interviews with New Mexican Spanish speakers. A positioning analysis of these narratives reveals how New Mexican Spanish speakers enact, ascribe and reject ethnic identities. Three significant and repeated themes in the corpus include the voice of the oppressors, changing linguistic realities of younger generations of speakers and practices of crossing or passing as monolingual English speakers. The study reveals how New Mexican Spanish speakers construct and re-construct social structure, and in particular enact multiple shifting ethnic identities.

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Identity and Dialect Performance A Study of Communities and Dialects





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