El uso de pronombres personales en la oralidad mexicoamericana de Houston, Texas



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This study examined the +/- presence of Spanish subject personal pronouns (yo, él/ella, nosotros/nosotras, and ellos/ellas) in sociolinguistic interviews of 36 Mexican-Americans from Houston, Texas (16 of 2nd generation and 20 of 3rd generation), and 20 Mexicans (control group) from Heroica Matamoros, Tamaulipas (Mexico-USA border city), and Los Reyes de Salgado, Michoacán (non-border city). Pronouns were codified based on external as well as internal factors; Crosstabs (SPSS) was used for analysis.
In general, Houstonians produced slightly more pronouns than Mexicans. In the control group, gender was statistically significant only when cross tabulated with city of residence. Education in the control group did not appear relevant. In the Mexican-American group, generation showed a major difference: gender and education seemed significant in 2nd generation participants, but not within the 3rd generation.
Coreferentiality index, grammatical person, clause type, referent denotation and morphological ambiguity of the verbal form showed statistically valid correlations with Spanish subject personal pronoun expression in all four groups: non-border, border, 2nd generation and 3rd generation. Turn of speech appeared relevant for three groups: border, 2nd generation and 3rd generation (although result for border Mexicans may be due to a low number of quantified items). Reflexive verbs and coreferentiality with unconjugated verbs accompanied by explicit subjects (or with gapped verb phrases) yielded relevancy only for Houstonians (2nd and 3rd generations). Spanish subject personal pronoun expression by Mexican-Americans in Houston, Texas, was highly similar to the control group, with few exceptions. Houstonians appeared to have done semantic-pragmatic modifications in grammatical person and referent denotation. In addition, they seemed to have created three new internal variables, turn of speech, reflexive verbs and coreferentiality with unconjugated verbs accompanied by explicit subjects (or with gapped verb phrases). Discussion and interpretations of results were included as well as pedagogical recommendations for heritage speakers’ Spanish classes. Results were also related to pronoun expression in other Spanish dialects.



Language, Syntactic variation, Spanish language, Heritage speakers, Mexico, United States of America, Personal pronouns, Linguistics, Sociolinguistics, Hispanic studies