Bilingual discourse markers in
Chicago Spanish
Lourdes Torres
De Paul University, Chicago
Kim Potowski
The University of Illinois at Chicago
Discourse markers
Words such as so, yeah,
you know, I mean, etc.
Mark relationships
across utterances. Local &
global meanings.
Contribute to the coherence
of discourse.
There are various possible outcomes in language contact
situations when two discourse marker systems are
available to speakers, including:
1) They will coexist and overlap in function.
2) They will coexist and acquire differentiated
meanings.
3) The markers in one language will replace those of the
other language.
COEXISTENCE
Hill & Hill (1986), Brody (1987): Spanish markers co-occur with Mayan markers and
fulfill similar roles.
Aaron (2004): discourse markers in New Mexican Spanish were in free variation.
Fuller (2001) argues that such lack of complementary distribution does not bode well
for the maintenance of the subordinate markers.
REPLACEMENT
DIFFERENTIATED
MEANINGS
Solomon (1995): so and entonces are
differentiated in Yucatec Mayan
narratives.
Goss and Salmons (2000): As Texas
German proficiency decreases,
English discourse markers replace
German discourse markers.
Hlavac (2006): Those English discourse
markers that were replacing Croatian
discourse markers had a greater range
of functions.
de Rooj (2000): French markers are
replacing Swahili in low proficiency
speakers.
Studies of markers in U.S. Spanish
Torres (2002): so and entonces coexisted among NY PRs. So was used much
more frequently as English proficiency increased.
Aaron (2004): so and entonces coexist among New Mexican bilinguals.
Lipski (2005): Review of literature. So is found at all Spanish proficiency
levels  should be considered differently than other lexical borrowings
because they happen “below level of awareness.”
Said Mohand (2006): so used more frequently and entonces less frequently as
Spanish proficiency decreased.
Main conclusion: so is an integrated loan.
Our study
Seeks to describe Chicago Spanish, including
maintenance & shift, dialect leveling between MX &
PR, changes in progress, attitudes, etc.
so vs. entonces
51 interviews
1,363 tokens of “so” and “entonces” (most
common discourse markers in the corpus)
Compares 3 generations and 3 dialect varieties
Generations
G1 = Arrived in U.S. after age 12
G2 = Born in U.S. or arrived before age 5. Both
parents are G1.
G3 = Born in U.S. to at least one G2 parent.
Dialect variety
Mexican
70% of Chicago Latinos
Puerto Rican
15% of Chicago Latinos
“MexiRican”
Increasingly common. Offspring of
mixed ethnicity unions.
Corpus
G1
G2
G3
Total
MX
7
11
5
23
PR
5
5
7
17
MXPR
0 (n/a)
3
8
11
Total
12
19
20
51
Hour-long interviews in Spanish using a typical
sociolinguistic protocol.
Bilingual research team  Codeswitching produced
by interviewers and interviewees.
Coding procedure
Five categories of use of these discourse markers,
based on past research & our own analysis.
1. Result
2. Move
3. Conclusion
4. Trail
5. Other
Brief definitions & examples
1. Result: Introduces a consequence or result.
So
Y entonces por ser yo la bebé de mi casa y la más pequeña, la única nena,
pues mi papá le decía a mi hermano ‘Si algo le pasa a la nena es
problema tuyo’. So él siempre tenía que estar conmigo, como quien
dice, y estar pendiente. (F, 26, G1, PR)
Entonces
Cada tiempo que estoy back home y todo lo que hablo es español. A
veces digo algo en inglés para molestar a mi mejor amiga que no
entiende, pero además que, como que al par de días, sé donde estoy
entonces pues me adapto, me adapto al lugar o a la persona con quien
estoy hablando. (F 26, G1 PR)
2. Move: Marks a progression, moves the
narrative along. Does not imply
consequence, result, or conclusion.
So
Entonces decidió que sí le gustaría ir a conocer otro lugar y se
fueron a vivir a México, pero ella no sabía que iba a llegar a vivir a
un rancho so dice que cuando ella llegó allí ….. (F, 25, G2,
MexiRican)
Entonces
Fui a una escuela luterana que estaba un bloque, una cuadra de mi
casa, entonces se llamaba Messiah…. (F, 19, G2, Mexican)
3. Conclude: Introduces a conclusion.
So
Mis papás, yo creo que también al otro lado se ponen un poquito…
a veces, nerviosos cuando están hablando inglés porque no es su
primera lenguaje y aprendieron a hablar inglés cuando ya eran
mayor de edad como 20-21 años so ellos tienen acento cuando
hablan. (F, 21, G2, MXPR)
Entonces
… entonces vine aquí a Chicago y en todo los letreros de las
lavanderías… puse más atención y vi que no nada decía wachetería
o sea todo decía lavandería o laundry mat entonces me pareció
como una diferencia muy grande (F, 19, G2, MX)
4. Trailing: Ends a turn or changes the subject.
So
…yo no quería estar con latinos porque ellos, porque ellos me
miraban.. como soy una, no soy normal, so. (M, 33, G2, MXPR)
Entonces
¿Pero con quién lo aprendiste [español]?
Pues no había otro idioma que se hablara, español entonces. (M 31,
G1, MX)
5. Other: “Temporal” and “adverb”. Totaled 5% of
corpus. Not in today’s discussion.
So
There is only so much you can do (F, 21, G3, MXPR)
Entonces
Desde entonces estamos juntos (F, 20, G2, MXPR)
Findings will be presented in this order:
a)
Function by discourse marker/discourse marker by
function
b) Use of so and entonces by generation (G1, G2, G3)
c) Correlation (or lack thereof) between generation &
Spanish proficiency
d) Use of so and entonces by proficiency level and by
dialect variety (MX, PR, MXPR)
Function by discourse marker
4.23
100%
90%
80%
70%
60%
50%
40%
30%
20%
10%
0%
28.1
26.2
34.8
49.9
Entonces
95.8
71.9
73.8
65.2
50.1
Result
Conc
Move
Trail
Total
So
Discourse marker by function
100%
90%
80%
70%
60%
50%
40%
30%
20%
10%
0%
Other
Trail
Move
Conc
Result
Entonces
So
Total
The majority (89.6%) of the functions filled by these discourse markers were
result, moving discourse forward, and concluding.
“So” did proportionally more work marking a result – and less work moving
discourse forward – than did “entonces.”
No strong evidence of functional distribution aside from trailing – which was infrequent.
Recall:
Fuller (2001): lack of complementary distribution does
not bode well for the maintenance of the subordinate
markers.
But it looks like so has already replaced entonces to a
large extent – 4 out of 5 contexts.
Distribution of discourse marker by generation
100
80
14.1
40.4
49.6
60
Ent
85.9
40
59.6
So
50.4
20
0
G1
G2
G3
Different proportions of discourse markers in G1 vs. G2 vs. G3:
Biggest users of “so” are G3s, followed by G1s, then G2s.
Why don’t we see a linear increase in use of “so”
with increasing generation?
Past argument, Torres (2002): G1 doesn’t know much
English, and so is easily & quickly borrowed. G2 is
more bilingual, has a choice of marker. G3 has little
Spanish proficiency; uses more so.
Current argument: Spanish proficiency doesn’t map
directly on to Generation, and Spanish proficiency
affects marker use.
Generation & Spanish proficiency level
10
9
8
7
G1
6
5
4
G2
G3
3
2
1
0
1
2
3
4
5
Discourse markers by proficiency
100%
90%
80%
70%
60%
50%
40%
30%
20%
10%
0%
entonces
so
2 (n=10)
3 (n=12)
4 (n=15)
5 (n=11)
Distribution of each discourse marker
by function and dialect variety
100%
80%
60%
Trail
40%
Move
20%
Conc
Entonces
So
MXPR
PR
MX
MXPR
PR
MX
MXPR
PR
0%
MX
Result
Total
Fairly similar distribution of “so” and “entonces” across
functions for MX, PR, MXPR. Slight difference in PR
entonces.
Distribution of each function by
discourse marker and dialect variety
100
20.2
17.6
79.8
82.4
80
65.5
60
Entonces
40
20
So
34.5
0
MX
PR
MXPR
PR and MXPR use more than twice as much “so” as MX.
MXPR look more like PR than like MX
Conclusions
“So” was preferred for all functions except for
moving discourse forward, where “so” &
“entonces” were used equally.
 Is “so” going to replace “entonces” in future
generations?
 More likely that English will simply replace Spanish
among G4 speakers.
2) It seems that PR Spanish has greater
influence from English – but not
necessarily lower Spanish proficiency.
3) MXPR look more like PR than like MX.
 7 of the 9 mothers were PR.
“I was raised talking like my mom”:
The influence of mothers on the
Spanish of MexiRicans
Monday, November 12, 12:00-1:00 pm
Language Oasis, Grant Hall
Future directions:
1) We need a larger sample, particularly more PR.
G1
G2
G3
Total
MX
7
11
5
23
PR
5
5
7
17
MXPR
0 (n/a)
3
8
11
Total
12
19
20
51
2) Statistical analysis forthcoming.
3) Relationship between proficiency and
functional distribution?
Look at other discourse markers:
You know/Tú sabes, I mean
Look at doubling of discourse markers:
No podía pagar el colegio so entonces nos mudamos a Brighton
Park. (F, 18, G3, Mex)
So entonces, aquí se acaba.
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entonces - University of Illinois at Chicago