Dr. Margarita Jara; Dr. Heather Lusty; Dr. Norma Marrun


Office of Undergraduate Research

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Spanish from the "East Side" of Las Vegas: Simplification of Tense/Aspect Distinction in Ser and Estar in Spanish Heritage Speakers of Sunrise Manor

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Spanish heritage speakers in the United States are a reflection of the influence of linguistic and sociolinguistic pressures that creates variation across linguistic generations. This exploratory investigation seeks to fill this gap of linguistic knowledge in the Spanish-speaking community of Las Vegas, Nevada through a sociolinguistic study of the process of simplification of the simple forms of the past tense in Spanish heritage speakers of Sunrise Manor (Clark County, Nevada, USA), locally known as the “East Side”. The investigation focuses on the tense-aspect semantics in the verbs ser and estar of 9 heritage speakers between the ages of 18 and 30. Through the analysis of sociolinguistic interviews, the tenses of Imperfect and Preterit tense of these copular verbs will answer the following research questions: (1) What type of simplification exist in past verb forms in Spanish heritage speakers in Sunrise Manor-Las Vegas? (2) What factors, linguistic or non-linguistic, account for the type and stages of simplification in perfective/imperfective features of ser/estar in the data? The investigation identified linguistic simplification in the absolute tense, lexical aspect, and aspect variables in all participants. The results also showed how those linguistic variables as well as the non-linguistic factors of heritage, age, and sex accounted for the type and stages of simplification identified in the past tense forms of ser and estar. Overall, I concluded that there is preliminary evidence of dialect formation in Sunrise Manor and argue that there is a relationship between the use of the absolute tense and ethnic heritage.


Sociolinguistics; Spanish heritage speakers; tense; aspect; Sunrise Manor; Las Vegas


Anthropological Linguistics and Sociolinguistics | Latin American Languages and Societies | Other History

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Calvert Reflection Essay.pdf (764 kB)
Calvert Reflection Essay