"I'm not Mexican... Pero soy Mexicano": Linguistic context of labeling among Mexican Americans in Texas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Previous research on racial/ethnic labeling among Latino populations in the U.S. has explored the continuing salience of racial/ethnic identities, and how these identities vary considerably by factors such as language use, national origin, generational status, region, and social context. However, while research has explore the role of language fluency (English or Spanish-speking ability) in Latino's racial/ethnic labeling choices, very little research has explored how language itself may transform the meaning on a particular racial/ethnic lable. Drawing on interviews with fifty-two Mexican Americans from five Texas communities, I explore the divergent meanings of the labels Mexican vs. Mexicano/a, and Texan vs. Tejano/a. While these words reflect a literal translation from English to Spanish, they elicit very different responses from participants in the study. These findings highlight the need for more in-depth research exploring the role of linguistic context in the meanings attached to particular racial/ethnic labels.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)53-63
Number of pages11
JournalSouthwest Journal of Linguistics
Volume24
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - 2005

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