Wednesday 2:30 to 4:00 pm
Latino Cultural Center
Kim Potowski book presentation
“Mexi-Ricans in Chicago”
Zona Abierta, LALS and Hispanic and Italian Studies Department
The increasing diversity of the U.S. Latino population has given rise to a growing population of “mixed” Latinos. This is a study of such individuals raised in Chicago, Illinois who have one Mexican parent and one Puerto Rican parent, most of whom call themselves “Mexi-Ricans.” Given that these two varieties of Spanish exhibit highly salient differences, these speakers can be said to experience intrafamilial dialect contact. The book first explores the lexicon, discourse marker use, and phonological features among two generations of over 70 MexiRican speakers, finding several connections to parental dialect, neighborhood demographics, and family dynamics. Drawing from critical mixed race theory, it then examines MexiRicans’ narratives about their ethnic identity, including the role of Spanish features in the ways in which they are accepted or challenged by monoethnic, monodialectal Mexicans and Puerto Ricans both in Chicago and abroad. These findings contribute to our understandings of dialect contact, U.S. Spanish, and the role of language in ethnic identity.
Dr. Kim Potowski is Professor of Spanish linguistics in the Department of Hispanic & Italian Studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago, where she also holds appointments in Latin American and Latino Studies, Curriculum and Instruction, and an affiliation with the Social Justice Initiative. She directs the Spanish for heritage speakers program and the heritage speaker summer study abroad programin Oaxaca, Mexico. Her research focuses on Spanish in the U.S., including factors that influence intergenerational language transmission and change, as well as connections between language and ethnic identity. Other books she has authored and edited include El español de los Estados Unidos (2015), Heritage language teaching: Research and practice (2014), Language diversity in the USA (2011), and Language and identity in a dual immersion school (2007).