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Department ofModern Languages and Literatures

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Abel Cruz Flores

Abel Cruz Flores

New Faculty Abel Cruz publishes an article in Glossa

This study, “A syntactic approach to gender assignment in Spanish–English bilingual speech,” published in Glossa: A Journal of General Linguistics, investigates how Spanish–English bilingual speakers assign grammatical gender to English nouns occurring in Spanish–English code-switched speech (e.g., el key versus la key). This is an intriguing linguistic behavior because, on the one hand, every Spanish noun has grammatical gender; on the other hand, English words lack grammatical gender altogether. The paper presents linguistic data from a bilingual community in Southern Arizona, U.S. Although code-switching (a.k.a “Spanglish” or “pocho”) is often perceived as a sign of laziness and/or lack of education, the data analyzed in this article reveal that code-switching is a rule-governed linguistic behavior that provides a fertile source of evidence for the study of language. This article is the first study of a broader research project that aims to understand the gender assignment mechanism evoked in code-switched speech and its implications for models of bilingual architecture.

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