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Friday, June 9 • 4:30pm - 4:50pm
Text Analysis of code-switching of Mexican Heritage Speakers in Indiana

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The goal of this project is to create a comparison of topics that promote code-switching between Spanish and English from digitally recorded conversations of heritage Spanish speakers (HSSs) of Mexican descent that reside in Indiana. The majority of Hispanics in Indiana (76%) are of Mexican origin (Strange, 2013). This population was chosen because it is representative of the language use of most HSSs in Indiana.

During the recorded conversations, participants were asked to call a bilingual friend or family member and talk for about thirty minutes following different prompts. The prompts participants used are based on Mexican-American culture, allowing participants to talk about the way they perceive Mexican, American, and Mexican-American culture.
The text analysis of the topics that promote more use of code-switching and the direction of the switch will be useful for Hispanic linguists as well. The current study helps document the current state of code-switching according to cultural topics. To my knowledge, there are no existing analyses that document the topic that promote code-switching, nor the direction of the language switch using digital humanities tools to analyze transcriptions of sociolinguistics interviews. The objective of the present study is to help fill this knowledge gap.

For the data collection methods, participants were asked to speak Spanish and English as they felt comfortable, so their way of speaking is as naturalistic as possible. Besides, the results could be compared with newer oral data researchers collect in the future to assess the maintenance and evolution of code-switching used by people of Mexican heritage. The tools for text analysis include ELAN (Sloetjes & Wittenburg, 2008) and Voyant (Sinclair & Rockwell, 2016).

The results could also be used to inform the general population which topics prompt the use of Spanish or English and when it would be most necessary to hire translators to be able to offer accessibility services to this bilingual community.

Heritage Spanish speakers often take Spanish classes in formal settings and the results of this analysis could be used by their teachers to show their students real uses of code-switching and validate their students’ use of both languages. Showing heritage Spanish learners the results of the present study could be helpful in decreasing the anxiety some of them feel about their own code-switching use.

Furthermore, the results will be available to be studied from different branches of linguistics and culture, and to be compared to the language and culture of other communities of Hispanic heritage around the globe. Once the results are published, they will be available to students learning Spanish, linguists, sociologists, anthropologist, ethnographers, and other researchers or curious minds that might be interested in analyzing the language and culture of heritage Spanish speakers from Indiana.

Strange, R. (2013). Exploring Hoosier Minority Groups: Indiana’s Hispanic Population. INcontext. https://incontext.indiana.edu/2013/july-aug/article3.asp
Sinclair, S., & Rockwell, G. (2008). Voyant Tools. Voyant. https://voyant-tools.org/
Sloetjes, H., & Wittenburg, P. (2008). Annotation by category - ELAN and ISO DCR. In: Proceedings of the 6th International Conference on Language Resources and Evaluation (LREC 2008).


Andreina Colina-Marin

Indiana University Bloomington

Friday June 9, 2023 4:30pm - 4:50pm EDT
ARC E-02