South Texas Sociolinguistics

Eavesdropping on the Past: English and Spanish in Contact in Texas’ Rio Grande Valley, 1900-1945

In the spring of 2015, I wrote a master’s thesis on the historical sociolinguistics of early twentieth-century South Texas. My goal was to compile primary sources from oral history and then place them in a theoretical frame useful for secondary teachers of English Language Arts, Spanish, and ESL. The primary source material derived primarily from almost-ruined cassette tapes recorded in the 1980s by the Mission Historical Society (which was sending students into assisted living homes to converse with residents who could remember the 1910s, ’20s, and ’30s). My theoretical framework drew upon Alexandra Jaffe’s theorizing of stance, Pierre Bourdieu’s classic work on the linguistic marketplace , and Asif Agha’s commodity-mediated study of language and social relations. If you are a Texas history or language teacher (or are simply interested in the subject), please feel free to download the document (click “download” above). I would love to hear your thoughts.