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Department ofModern Languages and Literatures


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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