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Codeswitching and identity among Island Puerto Rican bilinguals

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Abstract

This study investigates how a network of elite, educated bilinguals on the Island of Puerto Rico (PR) alternate between English and Spanish in everyday, casual conversations, and how their choice of language relates to their social identities. Due to the complex relationship between Spanish and English in PR this context is ideal for looking into the meaning and social significance of CS, and how individual creativity and collective social knowledge intersect in identity creation. Ethnographic interviews and observations, audio recording of casual conversations, and a thorough understanding of speakers’ socio-cultural realities revealed the development of the communicative style of CS, and its relationship to the enactment, reproduction, and shaping of the following identity categories: ‘elite,’ ‘American,’ and ‘Puerto Rican.’

References

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