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The KUT Longhorn Radio Network Presents: Mexican American Experience Collection

Audio recordings including interviews, music, and informational programs related to the Mexican American community and their concerns in the series "The Mexican American Experience" and "A esta hora conversamos" from the Longhorn Radio Network, 1976-1982.

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Chicano Dialects
Program #

Alejandro Saenz
Carmen Tafolla
Aug 9, 1977

Chicano Dialects

Carmen Tafolla, a Chicana writer and educator, discusses various Spanish dialects and perceptions of Chicano Spanish speakers. Tafoya explains that Chicano Spanish is different from dialects because of its preservation of 16th century grammer and words. Moreover, it has borrowed many words from English to form a mixture of both languages. She notes that English in the Southwest has also borrowed many Spanish words. Chicano Spanish is very similar to Mexican Spanish and both have incorporated many Nahutl words.

Tafolla also discusses Caló, the language spoken among pachucos. Caló, she explains, reflects the earliest realization that Chicanos are bicultural and as such is a mixture of both English and Spanish to create a new language. She notes that it bears some striking resemblances to the Caló spoken among the Gitanos in Spain. She concludes that despite what many Chicanos have been taught, Chicano Spanish is not inferior or bad to other forms of Spanish. She argues that it is better to realize that no language is good or bad, only that it is a means to understanding.


Center for Mexican American Studies | Department of History | The Benson Latin American Collection

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