Ethnolinguistic identity and Spanish proficiency in a paradoxical situation: The case of Puerto Rican return migrants

Arlene Clachar, Ph.D., Columbia University, Linguistics

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

24 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The article addresses the social psychological paradox of learning a language, which in one interethnic situation represents the ingroup language, while in another interethnic context, it represents the outgroup language. This situation characterises the language-learning experience of most Puerto Rican return migrants (PRRMs) who have found themselves as subordinate members in two different interethnic environments. The study examines the language-learning behaviour of members of this ethnic group by investigating the influence of ethnolinguistic identity on their development of Spanish proficiency in this paradoxical situation. Such an investigation identifies three variables which may mediate PRRMs' learning of Spanish in Puerto Rico: (a) ethnolinguistic vitality, (b) perceived hardness of linguistic boundaries, (c) awareness of cognitive alternatives to the status quo. The study reveals problematic relationships between (a) ethnic identity, (b) multiple-group membership and Spanish proficiency phenomena which may be peculiar to PRRMs (and other ethnic minority groups who have also found themselves in similar intergroup situations).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)107-124
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development
Volume18
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 1997
Externally publishedYes

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migrant
language
learning
language behavior
learning behavior
Puerto Rico
outgroup
ethnic identity
group membership
national minority
ethnic group
linguistics
experience
Group

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Linguistics and Language
  • Education
  • Cultural Studies

Cite this

Ethnolinguistic identity and Spanish proficiency in a paradoxical situation : The case of Puerto Rican return migrants. / Clachar, Ph.D., Columbia University, Linguistics, Arlene.

In: Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development, Vol. 18, No. 2, 1997, p. 107-124.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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