So pues entonces: An examination of bilingual discourse markers in Spanish oral narratives of personal experience of New York City-born Puerto Ricans

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Abstract

In narratives, discourse markers (DMs) have been found to contribute to the coherence of the discourse by signaling a relationship across utterances. These forms have been reported as having multiple functions (e.g. Norrick, 2001; Schiffrin, 1987, 2001; Torres, 2002). With regard to the use of DMs produced by bilinguals, Lipski (2005) offers insight into the penetration of English 'so' in Spanish discourse. He maintains that its appearance is common in Spanish-English bilinguals in the U.S. and it cuts across the entire spectrum of bilingual abilities. As free forms, Torres (2002) also suggests that DMs lend themselves to borrowing. While Torres's (2002) research on DMs produced by English and Spanish dominant Puerto Ricans produced a wide range of outcomes, Torres contends that all speakers regardless of language dominance employ English markers in their Spanish narratives. This current study expands on Torres's (2002) and Lipski's (2005) work. It investigates all lexical DMs produced among bilingual New York City-born Puerto Ricans and Islanders. It discusses the pragmatic function of the discourse markers (i.e. causative, connective, clarification, participatory), bilingual marker doubling (e.g. 'so' pues), the preferred language in which the DMs were produced, and how information structure (i.e. old vs. new) conditions the use of these forms. The study reveals that while New Yorkers show a general favoring towards the use of Spanish DMs, they exhibit restricted pragmatic uses of these forms. Further, they use more English and bilingual DMs than their counterparts suggesting a grammaticalization in progress.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)57-83
Number of pages27
JournalSociolinguistic Studies
Volume8
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Linguistics and Language

Keywords

  • Bilinguals
  • Code-switching
  • Discourse markers
  • Spanish narratives

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