Let’s talk about el lenguaje : an examination of code-switching in Latino films, YouTube, and radio




Leal Cavazos, Rubinia Macarena

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The goal of this thesis is to examine and compare the code-switching (CS) used in three Pantelion films set in Los Angeles (LA) to CS used in an LA YouTube video blogger and LA Radio. CS has been identified as a prominent characteristic of films that portray the Latino population (Berg, 2002; Helland, 2015); however little research has examined the types of CS used and how representative they are of Latino speech. This paper finds that films do not accurately represent the language (specifically the CS) of LA Latinos. Additionally, the language choices in Latino films reinforce prescriptivist and language purism ideologies of the acceptable use of code-switching. Most of the code-switching in the films was intersentential and tag switching, whereas the YouTube videos and radio recordings displayed a preference for intrasentential switching. The use of intersentential switching in films can be attributed to it being easier to subtitle, and by including it, the films serve a prescriptivist medium that reinforces language purism and pejorative ideologies of code-switching, which could lead to an increase in language insecurity and a decrease in bilingualism in the Latino community. This paper utilizes Torres (2007) Strategies for the Inclusion of Spanish as a theoretical framework, and expands their definitions to encompass films, YouTube, and radio. Furthermore, based on Torres’ (2007) work, this paper finds that the Latino films accommodate for monolingual speakers using several strategies, while the YouTube videos and the radio station are aimed towards bilingual Latinos who, as an audience, receive bilingual gratification. While the representations of Latinos in the films were mostly positive, there was still a lack of diversity in the cast of the films, especially an absence of U.S. Latino actors. The films display a dichotomy between Mexican and American actors, conflating the diverse nationalities that compose Latinidad into one: Mexican. This work expand the current literature on how CS is incorporated in media, and opens the door to new avenues of investigation on the examination of how representative CS is in different mediums.


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