9. Style variation in Spanish as a heritage language

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This paper examines the style and register variation in heritage language speakers of Spanish at the college level, specifically, the use of discourse markers across situations. Of particular interest in this study is the analysis of the marker<i>como </i>‘like’, which seems to be spreading in the same way as the marker<i>like </i>in American English (Sankoff et al. 1997), adopting some of its functions that<i>como </i>has never been previously reported to have in the Spanish literature. The results of this study show that the choice of discourse markers, their distribution, and relative frequency varies across registers. This indicates that bilinguals understand the difference among registers in their non-dominant language and the fact that academic language is characterized by a variety of features not present in informal interactions.<sup>2</sup>


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