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Radical bilingualism in Junot Díaz’s texts

Authors
  • Derrick, Roshawnda A.
Type
Published Article
Journal
Studies in Hispanic and Lusophone Linguistics
Publisher
De Gruyter
Publication Date
Sep 12, 2019
Volume
12
Issue
2
Pages
309–342
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1515/shll-2019-2015
Source
De Gruyter
Keywords
License
Yellow

Abstract

This paper analyzes Junot Díaz’s most recent works The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao (2007. The brief wondrous life of Oscar Wao. New York: Riverhead) and This is How You Lose Her (2012. This is how you lose her. New York: Riverhead) by using Muysken’s (2000. Bilingual speech. A typology of code-mixing. Cambridge: CUP) typology of code-switching to illustrate the types of language mixing devices present in these two texts. I point out that Díaz’s innovative use of radical bilingualism is not due to the quantity of sentences including Spanish, rather to the quality of mixing and switching in his works. Further, I elaborate on Casielles-Suárez, Eugenia. (2013. Radical code-switching in the Brief wondrous life of Oscar Wao. Bulletin of Hispanic Studies 90. 475–487) study using Torres’ (2007. In the contact zone: Code-switching strategies by Latino/a writers. MELUS 32(1). 75–96) categorization of code-switching strategies utilized by U.S. Hispanic authors. I find that instead of Díaz’s texts gratifying the bilingual reader (Torres. 2007. In the contact zone: Code-switching strategies by Latino/a writers. MELUS 32(1). 75–96) or creating radical hybridism (Casielles-Suárez. 2013. Radical code-switching in the Brief wondrous life of Oscar Wao. Bulletin of Hispanic Studies 90. 475–487), that these two works illustrate radical bilingualism. In contrast to the majority of U.S. Spanish-English bilingual texts, which incorporate Spanish by using simple insertions, translations, bold font and italics, Díaz creates radically bilingual works by using a variety of Spanish and English varieties, the indirect influence of Spanish in monolingual English sentences, intra-word insertions, a diversity of insertion types and hybrid noun-phrases.

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