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CHICANO ENGLISH

CHICANO ENGLISH, also Mexican-American English. English as used by Chicanos or Mexican-Americans. The term covers both English learned as a second language by people of Mexican-American heritage and the native English of speakers of Mexican-American background, both bilinguals and those who no longer speak SPANISH. Both lack definitive descriptions. Differences from other varieties are due to at least four factors operating over several generations: interference from Spanish, learning errors that have become established, contact with other dialects of English, and independent developments. It is difficult to distinguish between contemporary and historical interference of Spanish in a community that includes first-generation learners, bilinguals of varying competence, and near-monolingual English-speakers of Hispanic descent. Typical phonological features are: the vowel sound of ‘sheep’ for ‘ship’; the use of s for z, the s of present pronounced like the c of decent; confusion over ch and sh, as in chip and ship, and ‘shicken’ for chicken; the devoicing of final d, as in hit for hid; stress and intonation changes, such as anticipáte for antícipáte, with an extreme rising tone; and a tendency towards a rising sentence-final intonation for statements. There are many borrowings from Spanish, such as quinceañera a special party for a 15-year-old girl, comadre godmother, compadre godfather. Mass nouns are often used as count nouns (vacations in Next week we have vacations, applause in Let's have an applause for the speaker), and until is sometimes used as a negative: Is X here?—Until 3:00 (that is, not until 3:00). Compare SPANGLISH, TEX-MEX.

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