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Language, gender, and identity construction: sociolinguistic dynamics in the borderlands

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Title: Language, gender, and identity construction: sociolinguistic dynamics in the borderlands
Author(s): Holguin Mendoza, Claudia
Director of Research: Escobar, Anna Maria
Doctoral Committee Chair(s): Escobar, Anna Maria
Doctoral Committee Member(s): Hualde, Jose Ignacio; Fagyal, Zsuzsanna; Rosas, Gilberto; Willis, Erik
Department / Program: Spanish, Italian & Portuguese
Discipline: Spanish
Degree Granting Institution: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Degree: Ph.D.
Genre: Dissertation
Subject(s): Identity construction border gender Juarez Mexico ethnicity
Abstract: This dissertation research analyzes the construction of identity through language in a variety of three social networks of young Mexican women on the U.S.-Mexico border of Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, and El Paso, Texas. My results show stylistic variation through the use of different, specific discourse markers in both Spanish and English, English borrowings and code-switching, other lexical elements from popular Spanish, and specific patterns of intonation. These linguistic variants are utilized by young women as indexes of social meaning and reproduce emergent plural identities that reflect regional, national and international ideologies, specifically racial, gendered, and sexual hierarchies. In this way my results bring to the foreground how stylistic variation through language use is intimately bound to social distinctiveness at the individual level while at the same time linked to specific social networks that depend not only on local but global ideologies as well. The formation of these identities shows how current stereotypes in linguistic communities are expressed through their language use. Moreover, these realizations indicate that these are not discrete identities, but instead are produced as part of a plural identity that is gendered and conforms to post colonial parameters of race and ethnicity in Mexico. Hence, my research draws attention to the connections between micro and macro symbolic sources that function as frameworks for language variation among these different social networks based on people’s relationships. My study also uncovers how these plural gendered ethnic identities are recreated by speakers through language within a particular ideological bilingual border setting; that should no longer be seen as a periphery at the margins of two countries where locals “betray” their national identities, but rather as a socioeconomic and political center within neoliberalism and globalization.
Issue Date: 2011-08-26
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/2142/26282
Rights Information: Copyright 2011 Claudia Holguin Mendoza
Date Available in IDEALS: 2013-08-27
Date Deposited: 2011-08
 

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