Spanish-English code-switching is a prevalent and significant form of communication in bilingual and bicultural communities. Authors who wish to reflect and validate cultural and linguistic diversity in their written works may incorporate code-switching in their texts. The purpose of this study is to explore the growing trend of the inclusion of the Spanish language in English-based books written for children in the United States. In order to better understand how code-switching is utilized by authors of varying Spanish language proficiency, fourteen non-native Spanish speakers were surveyed and seventeen examples of their children's books that include Spanish-English code-switching were analyzed in regards to the type of code-switching present and the ways in which Spanish words were made accessible to the reader. Several patterns emerged through the exploration of these seventeen books. While all authors surveyed used a variety of ways to incorporate and define the Spanish language in their English-based texts, evidence suggests that those authors with more advanced language capabilities tended to do so in a more complex and integrated way through the use of varied grammatical entries and the addition of code-switched sentences and phrases. Nevertheless, overall the majority of code-switches from English to Spanish were isolated nouns, many of which were familiar words or cognates that have become a part of the vernacular in the United States. Loan words and borrowings that have made their way into the English language also accounted for a significant portion of the Spanish included in the books of this corpus. The analysis also revealed some examples of overgeneralizations of Spanish-speaking communities despite the variety of themes and Spanish vocabulary that were present in the selected books. To illustrate the point: in the seventeen books studied, there was a frequent appearance of desert-themed settings and characters of Mexican descent, two common features of the books in this study which do not reflect the geographical and ethnic diversity of Spanish-speaking communities neither in the United States nor around the world.
Date of Degree
Master of Science (MS)
World Languages and Cultures
Arts and Humanities
Vasatka, Megan Rae, "Patterns of Spanish-English Code-Switching in Children's Literature in the US: The Use of Español in Books Para Niños" (2013). All Graduate Theses, Dissertations, and Other Capstone Projects. 255.
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