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Framing the diaspora and the homeland: language ideologies in the Cuban diaspora

Gabriela G. Alfaraz


This article discusses language ideologies in relation to political ideologies in the Cuban diaspora in the United States. The findings of three longitudinal attitude studies, two conducted using the methods of perceptual dialectology, and a third with the matched-guise method, indicated that the diaspora’s political beliefs have a robust effect on its beliefs about Cuban Spanish in the diaspora and in the homeland. The perceptions studies showed that the national variety has a high degree of prestige in the diaspora, and that it has very low prestige in Cuba. The results of the matched-guise test showed that participants were unable to differentiate voices recorded in the 1960s and the 1990s, and that social information about residence in Cuba or the diaspora was more important to judgments of correctness than the presence of nonstandard variants. It is argued that the diaspora’s language ideology is maintained through erasure and essentialization: social and linguistic facts are erased, and the homeland is racially essentialized. It is suggested that through its language ideology, the Cuban diaspora claims authenticity and legitimacy vis-à-vis the homeland.


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Published Online: 2018-10-25
Published in Print: 2018-10-25

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