Murray, Frederic W.
M.A. (Master of Arts)
Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures
Alurista--Language||Cisneros, Sandra--Language||Code switching (Linguistics)
The United States has been described as a melting pot. In order to work towards a complete history of the United States, it is necessary to continue to study the new ethnic groups that arrive. The recent arrival of Mexicans was preceded, before the Mexican-American War, by a long period during which they were the legal settlers of the Southwest. The contribution of their descendants, sometimes known as Chicanos, to poetry only began to be recognized after the so-called Chicano Renaissance Movement of the 1960s. One technique that Chicanos are able to incorporate into their poetry is codeswitching. Code-switching is the interweaving of more than one language. English, Spanish, and a Chicano dialect called Calo are the languages that are most commonly code-switched. Code-switching can change or strengthen the focus and structure of Chicano poetry. Ten poems from two different Chicano authors have been selected to demonstrate this. Alurista, although a Mexican by birth and upbringing, has been an important contributor to Chicano identity. He was one of the first poets to submit bilingual texts to a publisher. Undaunted by rejection, he persisted and has been called a Chicano poet pioneer. Sandra Cisneros has had a different experience because she is a female actually bom in the U. S. Knowing that she wanted to write and willing to make many sacrifices to do so, today she is one of the most widely known Chicana writers. She has won many awards and fellowships. Her work is starting to be introduced in high school and college literature classes. It is important that Chicano poetry be recognized. In order to fully understand this literary genre, one must be able to identify and recognize the value of codeswitching. If the United States really is multicultural, it cannot afford to ignore this valuable poetry.
Hatcher, Denise L., "Code-switching and poetic language in the works of Alurista and Cisneros" (1994). Graduate Research Theses & Dissertations. 1822.
Northern Illinois University
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