Code-Switching, Language Emotionality and Identity in Junot Díaz’s “Invierno”
AbstractCode-switching (CS) is a linguistic activity typical of bilingual speakers, and thus, a central feature characterising Latino/a literature. The present study reads Junot Díaz’s “Invierno,” a short story from This Is How You Lose Her (2012), with a focus on the oral code-switches that the bilingual Latino/a characters make from English—their second language (L2)—to Spanish—their first language (L1). More specifically, it explores the relationship between CS, language emotionality and identity. The Spanish code-switches are analysed in terms of the emotionality degree they elicit and, linguistically, according to frequency and type—intersentential CS, intrasentential CS and tag-switching. The results reveal a low percentage of Spanish vocabulary, which, nevertheless, fills the story with Latino-Dominican touches and transports the reader to the Caribbean lifestyle. This is probably due to the fact that most are emotionally charged words and expressions, which supports the idea that the frequency of CS to L1 increases when talking about emotional topics with known interlocutors. Thefindings suggest that the L1 and the L2 play different roles in the characters’ lives: the former is preferred for cultural and emotional expressions and is the language the one they identify with more, while the latter is colder and more objective.
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Junta de Castilla y León
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