Volume 19, Issue 1
  • ISSN 0929-9971
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9994
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This paper addresses the issue of terms, namely Latin American, Hispanic and Latino, whose definitions are affected by social, economic, historical and ideological factors and which are at the crossroads of two or more disciplines. Definitions will be provided, using the Merriam-Webster for American English, the Oxford Dictionary for British English, and the Diccionario de la Real Academia for Spanish. The concept of ethnicity, introduced by the US Census Office in the 1970s to identify the Hispanic minority, will also be dealt with. The next section will examine the preferred choices of usage in academic journals in two broad areas, the Social Sciences on the one hand, and the Medical and Nursing professions on the others. It covers a total of 58 academic papers from two distinct periods, 2000–2005 and 2006–2010, in order to establish whether the terms are used consistently in the two broad areas, and whether there are major differences in use in the two time spans. The paper will conclude with a discussion of the findings, a reference to other activities that can be affected by the ambiguities of the definitions, and suggestions for further research.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): academic journals; ethnicity; Hispanic; Latin American; Latino; US English
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