Publication Date

2015-05-11

Availability

Open access

Embargo Period

2015-05-11

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Latin American Studies (Arts and Sciences)

Date of Defense

2015-04-01

First Committee Member

Andrew Lynch

Second Committee Member

Sallie Hughes

Third Committee Member

Ali Habashi

Abstract

Most "standardized" languages have a corresponding geo-political center, where the language of society offers a location to the linguistic norms and standards of the language in question. The purpose of this study is to identify the linguistic center for Spanish used in Spanish-language media in the United States. Some have dubbed this neutral accent, “Walter Cronkite Spanish” and argue that it is the discrete "Mexicanization" of the Spanish language (Ahrens 2004). The first is a reference to the legendary anchorman who was one of the first in broadcast media to attempt to eliminate all traces of an identifiable regional accent. The second nickname addresses Mexico’s heavy hand in Spanish-language media, as well as its large diaspora living in the U.S. These popular notions have raised the questions, is it possible for Walter Cronkite Spanish to have a geo-political center outside its country of use, in this case, Mexico? Or does a particular region in the United States make claim to a unique dialectal variety of Spanish? Or can we locate it somewhere else entirely?

Keywords

Spanish; media; accents; Hispanics; Latinos; neutral

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