Volume 6, Issue 2
  • ISSN 1571-0718
  • E-ISSN: 1571-0726
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This study approaches Pedro Henríquez Ureña’s linguistic work on Dominican Spanish by situating it in the political context in which it emerged. Henríquez Ureña’s travels, work and publications encompass many parts of the Spanish-speaking world on both sides of the Atlantic. Linguists have generally tended to descriptively review Henríquez Ureña’s contributions to Spanish American dialectology and have avoided any critical examination of the conditions of production of his linguistic work. My study attempts to fill this gap by conducting a critical examination of these works against the relevant political, cultural and intellectual historical currents of the period. Specifically, I apply the semiotic concepts of ‘iconization’ and ‘erasure’ which are instrumental in the analysis of ideological phenomena. Iconization and erasure are language ideological processes that link language to social behavior and linguistic forms to social images, while eliminating or omitting sociolinguistic complexity. After a discussion of the ways in which these semiotic strategies have been employed and interpreted by scholars, I demonstrate Henríquez Ureña’s own implementation of them. I show how his linguistic work is a discursive site where race and identity in the Dominican Republic are both constructed and debated.


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