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Anglicisms in Spanish in Puerto Rico: An Educational-Conversational Approach

International Journal of Educational Excellence
(2019) Vol. 5, No. 2, 15-28
ISSN 2373-5929
DOI: 10.18562/IJEE.046
Anglicisms in Spanish in Puerto Rico: An
Educational-Conversational Approach
Mylord Reyes Tosta
Received: 23 April 2019 • Accepted: 30 July 2019
Abstract: In this qualitative ethnographic study, 80 anglicisms were identified in the
rapid-informal speech of Puerto Ricans. For the collection of data, various Puerto
Rican television programs and YouTube videos were used. The data were then
organized according to their orthographic representation, anglicism classification,
phonetic representation, English original word, and Spanish equivalent. It is considered
that English has considerable influence in the Spanish of the Island because there is a
federation with the United States of America. Therefore, it becomes a very special
linguistic phenomenon that identifies Puerto Rican culture. And that it has interesting
repercussions on linguistic education.
Key-words: Anglicism, Lexicon, Phonetic Representation, Language Contact,
Linguistic Education.
1. Introduction
Language is a cultural component of the utmost importance, and it is
part of human nature for the development and well-being of individuals and
nations. According to Escobar and Potowski (2015), approximately 400
million people in the world speak Spanish, and Spanish is second only to
Chinese in numbers of native speakers. Puerto Rico has about 3.4 million
inhabitants, and its official language is Spanish (Instituto de Estadísticas de
Puerto Rico, 2016). However, in this country, as in all countries with their
respective languages, there is a linguistic variation according to the situation
in which the speakers are communicating, the topic of conversation, and the
type of speech (Medina-Rivera, 1999). In addition, syntactic frequency of
anglicisms due to the influence of the English of the United States is notable
(Rodríguez, 2002). Additional changes exposed by other researchers include
Wayne State University (United States). Correspondence: Mylord Reyes Tosta, 906 West
Warren 487 Manoogian Detroit, MI 48202, United States.
Mylord Reyes Tosta. International Journal of Educational Excellence (2019) Vol. 5, No. 2, 15-
28. ISSN 2373-5929.
DOI: 10.18562/IJEE.046
the presence of “estar” in structures that were previously limited to “ser”
(Negrón, 2013), as well as many syntactic innovations in complex superlative
constructions in Spanish on the Island (Olivero, 2012). Given the constant
variations that this language experiences, it is necessary to empirically
determine the extent and types of influence that the English of the United
States has had on the Spanish of Puerto Rico for a better understanding of the
communication processes between this country and the rest of the world.
The objective of this study was to determine the lexical influence of
United States English on Spanish in Puerto Rico using various television
programs and YouTube videos. To conduct it, the following question was
used: What anglicisms in Spanish in Puerto Rico can be identified in
television programs and YouTube videos? For the reader to have a better
understanding, the following variables are defined:
Anglicism. La Real Academia Española (2017) defines anglicism as a
word or turn of the English language used in another language. In this study,
this variable implies the adaptation, lending, modification (or combination
thereof), at the lexical level of English found in the rapid-informal Spanish
spoken by Puerto Ricans.
Lexicon. It is a collection of words from a language that belongs to a
specific field, area, or region (Cordero-Monge, 2007). The anglicisms found
in this study are part of the vocabulary (lexicon) of the speakers of Puerto
Phonetics. It is the part of the grammar that studies the mechanisms of
production, transmission, and perception of the sound signals that constitute
speech (Real Academia Española, 2017). Anglicisms appear phonetically in
the rapid-informal speech of Puerto Ricans living on the Island.
2. Theoretical Framework
The sociolinguistic theory of language presented by J. K. Chambers
(2009) was used. Linguistic phenomena and changes influenced by social and
cultural factors are explained. The starting point is that language is a social or
cultural product and should be understood as such. Therefore, this theory
relies on linguistic variation and the social significance. The first aspect is to
recognize the uses of language. Among these are: informational use
(descriptions, propositions, information), expressive use (feelings, attitudes,
emotions), and directive use (orders, requests).
A second component in this theory is to explain linguistic variation.
Every language experiences changes over time. Speakers use different
linguistic elements to express new things or ideas or to express familiar things
or ideas in new ways. Linguistic variation is the substitution of one linguistic
element for another without affecting its referential meaning. That is, altering
two or more expressions of the same element, when there is no alteration or
Mylord Reyes Tosta. International Journal of Educational Excellence (2019) Vol. 5, No. 2, 15-
28. ISSN 2373-5929.
DOI: 10.18562/IJEE.046
change of a semantic nature and the alteration is conditioned by linguistic and
social factors. Four types of variation are presented: syntactic, phonetic-
phonological, lexical, and discursive (Chambers, 2009).
Linguistic inferences fall into five categories: personal, stylistic, social,
and sociocultural. The personal ones are those of the speaker when he/she
communicates; for example, the tone of voice, ceceo, the use of muletillas,
and the fluent or hesitant speech. Stylistic inferences occur depending on
whether the environment is formal or informal (family). In an informal
environment, the discourse is usually fast and casual vocabulary is used. On
the other hand, sex, age, ethnicity, and social class with its sub elements
(education, occupation, income, and type of housing), are social variables that
cause changes in spoken and written language. The higher the profile of these
sub elements, the more formal the writing and the way ideas are expressed.
Among the socio-cultural characteristics that influence language are religion,
traditions, and customs. The norms imposed or voluntarily complied with by
these variables cause changes in the discourse (Chambers, 2009).
An example of the linguistic variation mentioned earlier in this theory is
the Anglicisms of Spanish in Puerto Rico. This phenomenon is a product of
what is called: languages in contact. According to Wheeler (2015), this occurs
when one community interacts with another, with effects of that interaction on
their respective linguistic behaviors. An extreme effect would be the
replacement of language for one or both communities; a moderate effect
would include language adaptations, language loans, and combinations of
Wheeler (2015) presented four dimensions to consider in the language
contact process:
̶ The nature of the communities involved. This involves determining
the quantity and size of communities, social structures, and power.
̶ The nature of the language being studied. It is necessary to study the
traditional sub fields of languages: phonetics, morphology, lexicon,
syntax, semantics, and pragmatics. Also, it is important to know the
homogeneity and similarity among languages.
̶ The way the contact occurs. Knowledge of the geography of places,
the duration of contact, the history of languages, and the intensity of
interactions are very important in the analysis.
̶ The type of study. Case studies are typically descriptive or
In this study, as a product of language contact (Spanish and English),
80 anglicisms that Puerto Ricans currently use were identified. These are
classified into adapted anglicisms, crude, hybrid, and anglicized neologisms.
In addition, the phonetic representation, the original word in English, and the
equivalent in Spanish are presented. This additional information allows the
Mylord Reyes Tosta. International Journal of Educational Excellence (2019) Vol. 5, No. 2, 15-
28. ISSN 2373-5929.
DOI: 10.18562/IJEE.046
reader to have a clearer picture of the phenomenon to draw his/her own
3. Historical Context of English in Puerto Rico
After the war between Americans and Spaniards in 1898, Spain ceded
Puerto Rico to the United States of America. This event allowed Puerto Rico
to be seen as a colony of the American nation. In 1900, Congress passed the
Foraker Law during the presidency of William McKinley. This law allowed
Puerto Rico to recover its civil government, but it continued being a colony.
Later, under the presidency of Woodrow Wilson, the Jones Act was signed in
1917, granting American citizenship to those born on the Island (Regis, 1998).
In 1952, Puerto Rico was established and declared as a regime called
commonwealth, better known in Spanish as estado libre asociado. According
to the definition of this term, both countries voluntarily partner to share
common goals and interests. David Rezvani stated that many believe that
nothing has changed and that Puerto Rico remains a colony under the absolute
power of the United States Congress. However, he explained, that this country
is neither merely a colony nor are its powers formally safeguarded by the pact
created in 1952; rather, it is a conventionally entrenched federation (Rezvani,
From the association of Puerto Rico with the United States, along with
political and economic changes came cultural changes. For more than a
century there have been different laws, opinions, activities, and debates
related to Spanish and English as contact languages in Puerto Rico. In 1902,
the Official Languages Law was created so that both Spanish and English
were used interchangeably on the Island. Although this law provided for both
languages to have the same weight, English was established as the primary
language of instruction in the public educational system of Puerto Rico
(Shenk, 2012). By 1940, arguments in favor of Spanish as a means of
instruction gained importance in opposition to American English. As a
consequence, in 1991, the legislature passed Law No. 4, under which Spanish
was established as the only official language, thus repealing the 1902 law.
However, in 1993, Law No. 1 formalized both languages again.
After the approval of Law No.1, an avalanche of debates and efforts
arose to restore Spanish as the only official language and leave English in a
secondary position. Citizens resisted both the loss of Spanish and the presence
of English (Shenk, 2012). For a long time in the twentieth century, the issue
of Spanish versus English was present in the political and academic discourse
to defend the Spanish language as a symbol of Puerto Rican cultural identity.
However, the reality that Puerto Rico lives is that 95% of its inhabitants speak
Spanish and 85% do not speak English very well (U.S. Census Bureau, 2011).
Mylord Reyes Tosta. International Journal of Educational Excellence (2019) Vol. 5, No. 2, 15-
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DOI: 10.18562/IJEE.046
These data show the preference and importance given to Spanish and keeping
English as a second language.
Regarding the methodology of this study, a qualitative ethnographic
realistic approach was used. This design is ideal for an objective account of
cultural phenomenon, in this case, language (Creswell, 2013). This
methodology began to be used in the 1960s and is widely used in social
anthropology. It is characterized by “participant observation and the use of
reflexivity” (Apud, 2013). This method informs about rules, actions, and
meanings of the subjects studied that are obtained in a realistic environment of
the events that occurred.
The data was obtained from Puerto Rican television and YouTube
videos of the population living on the Island. The summative content analysis
technique was used to analyze the data. According to Hsieh and Shannon
(2005), this "implies the counting and comparisons of the keywords followed
by the interpretation of the underlying context." This process begins with the
identification and quantification of certain words or phrases with the purpose
of understanding contextual use. Next, the interpretation of the content is
made to discover outstanding meanings with the identification of topics,
similarities, and differences in the study material.
Table 1 presents the results at the lexical level of the influence of
American English on Spanish in Puerto Rico after listening to and watching
various television programs on the Island and YouTube videos during the
months of September, October, and November 2017. The television programs
that were selected to obtain the data were informative and entertaining.
YouTube videos in which the speech is Puerto Rican Spanish were randomly
selected. A general description of the analyzed samples is included in Table 2.
The data is organized into four sections: 1) spelling and classification of
anglicisms, 2) the phonetic representation of the corresponding rapid speech,
3) the original words in English and 4) their equivalents in Spanish.
Anglicisms classified as original, adapted, hybrid, and angled neologisms
appear in the first column of the table. The original maintain their original
form in English, but with the phonetic-phonological expression of the
speakers of Puerto Rico. The adapted ones keep the English root with a
Spanish ending or some combination of both. In the hybrids, elements of the
two languages are combined, and the angled neologisms give a new meaning
or new turn to the word.
Spelling and
classification of
representation of rapid
Original in
Equivalent in
adaptado 1)
[ˈsaɾ] to access acceder
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DOI: 10.18562/IJEE.046
adaptado 2)
[ˈ] roof techo
adaptado 3)
̪.ˈtjaɾ] to print imprimir
adaptado 4)
[kaɾ.ˈpe.ta] carpet alfombra
adaptado 5)
[com.pul.ˈso.ɾjo] compulsory obligatorio
adaptado 6)
[ka.ˈʧaɾ] to catch coger, atrapar
adaptado 7)
[swiŋ.ˈgjaɾ] to swing girar
(anglicismo crudo
[ˈda.ta] data datos
adaptado 8)
[ˈɟaɾ.ða] yard patio
(anglicismo crudo
[fon] foam espuma
adaptado 9)
[li.ˈke.o] to leak goteo
adaptado 10)
[di.sɛk.ˈtaɾ] to dissect disecar
(anglicismo crudo
[ˈejɾ.βaɣ] air bag bolsa de aire
adaptado 11)
̪.ˈtaɾ] to indent sangrar
adaptado 12)
[bað.tɾi.ˈpjaw] bad trip experiencia negativa
(anglicismo crudo
[fat.ˈfɾi] fat free libre de grasa
adaptado 13)
[maɣˈsjon] magnification aumento
adaptado 14)
[re.kɾja.sjo.ˈnal] recreational recreativo
similaridad [ɾi.ˈðað] similarity semejanza
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DOI: 10.18562/IJEE.046
adaptado 15)
adaptado 16)
[su.ˈkɾ] sucrose sacarosa
adaptado 17)
[ˈnoɾ.sa] nurse enfermera
adaptado 18)
[pi.ˈʧaɾ] pitch lanzar
(anglicismo crudo
[so] so por lo tanto
(anglicismo crudo
[xam.ˈbɛl.ɣe] hamburger hamburguesa
adaptado 19)
[mo.ˈɾon] moron tonto/a
adaptado 20)
[sɛl] celular teléfono celular
adaptado 21)
g-string tanga
(anglicismo crudo
[ˈpal.kin] parking estacionamiento
(anglicismo crudo
[raj.ˈtɾu] right true verdad, cierto
adaptado 22)
[pi.ˈʧja] pitch ignora
adaptado 23)
[ˈni.ɣa] nigger negro
adaptado 24)
[poɲ.ˈʧaɾ] to punch marcar registro de
(anglicismo crudo
̪.ti] panty braga, pantaleta
drai clinin
(anglicismo crudo
[dɾaj.ˈkli.nin] dry cleaning lavado en seco
(anglicismo crudo
[bɾawn] brown color café
(anglicismo crudo
[ˈklo.sɛt] closet guardarropa
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DOI: 10.18562/IJEE.046
(anglicismo crudo
[ˈbɛj.kon] bacon tocino
(anglicismo crudo
[bɾejk] break descanso
par tain
(anglicismo crudo
[paɾ.ˈtajn] part time tiempo parcial
adaptado 25)
[bɾa.ˈsjɛɾ] bra sostén
adaptado 26)
[di.sɛk.ˈtaɾ] to dissect disecar
(anglicismo crudo
̪.tɛɾ] counter mostrador
taco salad
(anglicismo híbrido
[ˈta.ko.ˈsa.lað] taco salad ensalada de taco
(anglicismo crudo
[ˈlo.βi] lobby vestíbulo
(anglicismo crudo
̪.dɛɾ] folder carpeta
(anglicismo crudo
[paj] pie pastel
ful cover
(anglicismo crudo
[ful.ˈko.βɛɾ] full cover cubierta total
(anglicismo crudo
[sɛt] set conjunto
(anglicismo crudo
[klip] clip presilla, broche
adaptado 27)
[ˈma.tɾes] mattress colchón
adaptado 28)
[ri.ˈβɛɾ.sa] reverse marcha atrás, reverso
jom ron
(anglicismo crudo
[xom.ˈron] home run carrera
guan guei
(anglicismo crudo
[gwaŋ.gwɛj] one way una vía, en sentido
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DOI: 10.18562/IJEE.046
(anglicismo crudo
[a.po.ˈpaj] apple pie pastel de manzana
ful tain
(anglicismo crudo
̪.tajn] full time tiempo completo
(anglicismo crudo
backstage entre bastidores
(anglicismo crudo
[kaɾ.ˈɣwaʧ] car wash lavado de carro
adaptado 29)
[ʧa.ˈtjaɾ] chat platicar, conversar
(anglicismo crudo
[ʧis.ˈkɛj] cheese cake pastel de queso
(anglicismo crudo
[ˈbɾ] brownie pastel de chocolate
(anglicismo crudo
[ˈbiz.nes] business negocios
over di caunter
(anglicismo crudo
[ˈo.bɛɾ.ði. ˈkawn
̪.tɛɾ] over the counter en el mostrador o sin
receta médica
(anglicismo crudo
[kul] cool entretenido, atractivo
(anglicismo crudo
[re.ˈfil] refill volver a llenar
(anglicismo crudo
[gejt] gate puerta
anglicado 1)
to hang out divertirse
los yunais
(anglicismo híbrido
[loz.ɟu.ˈnajs] the United States los Estados Unidos
gringo [ˈgɾiŋ.go] green go estadounidense
pai de cheri
(anglicismo híbrido
[paj.ðe.ˈʧe.ɾi] cherry pie pastel de cereza
(anglicismo crudo
[gwa.ʧi.ˈman] watchman celador
(anglicismo crudo
[ˈpa.ɾi] party fiesta
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DOI: 10.18562/IJEE.046
(anglicismo crudo
[luk] look apariencia
(anglicismo crudo
[ɟim] gym gimnasio
(anglicismo crudo
[ˈ] topping cubierta
(anglicismo crudo
[roʃ] rush apuro, prisa
(anglicismo crudo
[xok.ˈðok] hot dog perro caliente
burrito de bif
(anglicismo híbrido
[bu.ˈðe.βif] beef burrito burrito de carne de
res o vaca
dámelo plein
(anglicismo híbrido
[ˈ] plain sin otros ingredientes
adaptado 30)
[ˈkɾis.pi] crisp crujiente
(anglicismo crudo
[fɾa.ˈpe] frappe bebida refrescante a
base de hielo y fruta
Table 1. Spelling and classification of anglicism, phonetic representation, original in English,
and the equivalent in Spanish.
Quantity Duration General
Description of
the Speakers
Type of Speech
Puerto Rican
10 16 hours Journalists,
office workers,
retirees, and
employees (all
Informational and
reports, and
20 25 hours Journalists,
singers, students,
teachers, and
entrepreneurs (all
ads, personal
experiences, and
Table 2. Samples analyzed: quantity, duration, general description of the speakers and type of
Mylord Reyes Tosta. International Journal of Educational Excellence (2019) Vol. 5, No. 2, 15-
28. ISSN 2373-5929.
DOI: 10.18562/IJEE.046
The anglicisms in the current Spanish of Puerto Rico presented in this
study are not the only ones existing on the Island. However, these anglicisms
are among the most common that are heard in the rapid-informal speech of
this country. As a language varies from one country to another, the Spanish of
Puerto Rico differs from the others in terms of the words of Taíno
(indigenous) origin and mainly because of Anglicisms. The political, cultural,
social, and economic relationship between the United States of America and
Puerto Rico, dating from 1898, has resulted in the inhabitants of the Island
changing the lexicon of informal Spanish spoken as a result of the influence
of English.
Puerto Ricans are also American citizens and, therefore, can freely enter
and leave this northern country. The contact with English that these
individuals have when leaving their country allows them to make
combinations, adaptations, loans, and other changes to Spanish when they are
in informal situations of daily discourse. These changes are generalized and
transferred from one generation to another until they manage to position
themselves and become part of the Spanish that most Puerto Ricans
understand when communicating. Another factor that allows this cultural
phenomenon to occur is the lack of full command of English or Spanish at any
given time. Given the need to speak fluently in a familiar or trustworthy
environment, speakers resort to these tactics to make themselves understood
more freely. Another factor of great influence is the dominance of English as
a second language in Puerto Rico and in most countries of the world.
Spanish as a fundamental element that identifies Puerto Rican culture, is
characterized as a language highly influenced by American English, as can be
seen in the anglicisms presented in this study. Although some of them are also
part of the Spanish lexicon of other Latin countries, most have been originally
created by Puerto Ricans. Examples of these are: rufo, carpeta, suinguiar,
norsa, liqueo, pichar, morón, disectar, badtripeao, pichar, yistro, raitrú,
mátres, janguear, pai de chery, burrito de bif, dámelo plein, and others. It can
also be observed that they do not belong to a single sector but are essentially
scattered in the economic, social, and cultural spheres. As stated by Cortés et
al. (2005), these interventions lexical to Spanish are already extended to other
written media (magazines, newspapers, advertisements, Internet).
Consequently, the citizens of Puerto Rico have, and will continue to have,
influence with their anglicisms, both on the Island and in the Hispanic
population living in the United States of America.
4. Conclusion
According to the results obtained in this study, 80 anglicisms were
found in the speech of Puerto Ricans. Within the category of original
anglicisms there are 43, in the adapted category there are 30, in the category
Mylord Reyes Tosta. International Journal of Educational Excellence (2019) Vol. 5, No. 2, 15-
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DOI: 10.18562/IJEE.046
of hybrids there are five, and only one angled neologism appears in the list.
Most of them are original anglicisms, implying that it is easier for speakers to
maintain their original form of English with a slight change in pronunciation
similar to Spanish. Examples of these are: party, gym, folder, topping,
brownie, lobby, brown, break, frappe, and others. In the case of the adapted
ones, that occupy the second position, this peculiar and funny way is
manifested when one or more segments of the Spanish linguistic structure are
changed or added to the English root. Some examples in this category are:
rufo, carpeta, yarda, norsa, riversa, and mátres. Meanwhile, hybrids occur
much less frequently since they require the combination of words from the
two languages (dámelo plein, taco salad, burrito de bif, pai de chery, los
yunáis). It can be noted that the hybrid anglicisms found are within the food
sector, except los yunáis. Finally, there is only one angled neologism:
janguear, which has its derivative jangueo without an English equivalent.
To continue making an empirical, updated, and broader inventory that
collects all the anglicisms of Puerto Rico, researchers are advised to use other
means to collect the data. In particular, the use of individual interviews and
focus groups can be of great importance, as well as case studies. More
research is needed to collect and analyze the richness of the so-called
Spanglish of which we are all a part in one form or another. Knowing the
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DOI: 10.18562/IJEE.046
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Both lay people and linguists use the concept of ‘languages in contact’ in a broad range of different, albeit related, ways. When William, Duke of Normandy, invades England in 1066, he and his followers come speaking Norman French with a profound impact on English. But when 8-year old Christopher moves from Canada to England, his ‘accent’ changes in response to what he now hears around him. In between these two extremes are situations that can all be called language contact. To make sense of the spectrum of language contact, we outline some major dimensions of that concept, and propose positioning research according to how the descriptions and explanations (if any) in the research treat these dimensions. To do this, we model language contact using the idea that language is the (linguistic) behavior of a community whose members communicate with one another. Then, we consider the different ways that contact between such communities can happen, and so develop a scheme for categorizing language contact. We look at some descriptions of language in contact and consider whether they are wholly descriptive, or include an explanation; if explanatory, how does the explanation relate to our model of language as community behavior.
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The ethnographic method is considered the research method par excellence of social anthropology. It is defined as a qualitative method centered on participant observation and reflexivity. In this paper we propose to think these methodological naturalizations as academic anthropology socio-historical constructions in order to rethink ethnography as a multi technical method that is open to interdisciplinary dialogue, that is reflexive and capable of analyzing the research process as a whole.
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Los anglicismos de frecuencia sintácticos en español consisten en el aumento del uso de ciertas construcciones sintácticas (el gerundio, los adverbios en -mente, la voz pasiva) por influencia de la lengua inglesa, en la que estas estructuras presentan una frecuencia de aparición en el discurso mucho mayor Aunque Lorenzo introdujo este concepto en la lingüística española desde los años sesenta, no se habían llevado a cabo, basta ahora, estudios empíricos exhaustivos que midieran su alcance real en español. En el presente artículo, además de describir el marco teórico en que se inserta el fenómeno, presentamos y comentamos los resultados del análisis de un corpus amplio de casos, basado en una serie de parámetros aplicables a futuros estudios en diversas tipologías textuales.
Language officialization legislation in Puerto Rico inspires significant political and academic debate, and the will of the Puerto Rican people is frequently summoned as supporting either the sole officialization of Spanish or that of both Spanish and English. Applying Bourdieu's legitimate language framework, this article examines perspectives on officialization articulated by members of a community located in the island's central mountain corridor. Using a critical discourse analytical perspective, the study shows how participants legitimate particular language practices and ideologies, and identifies both contrasting points of view and common ground between the participants' discourses and the broader discourses on the island.
Se examina la correlación que existe entre dos variables fonológicas y tres variables estilísticas en el español de Puerto Rico. Las variables estilísticas que se tomaron en consideración son la situación (entrevista individual, conversación en grupo y una presentación oral), el discurso y la relación que existe entre hablante e interlocutor. Se concentra en el habla de 20 jóvenes adultos que residen en Caguas, Puerto Rico. Las variables fonológicas que se seleccionaron para este estudio son la vibrante múltiple (rr) y la vibrante simple (r) en posición de final de sílaba. Los resultados se sometieron al programa estadístico VARBRUL y las conclusiones muestran la importancia que tienen las variables estilísticas en la investigación sociolingüística.
DAVID A. REZVANI examines the controversy surrounding Puerto Rico's constitutional status and rejects both of the traditional views on this issue. Puerto Rico is neither an American colony nor are its powers legally safeguarded by its 1952 "compact" with the United States. Instead, mirroring the historic British dominions, unwritten constitutional rules defend Puerto Rico's constitutional status, making it into a partially sovereign polity known as a "federacy."
English/Spanish contact in Puerto Rico. ONE OUTCOME of language contact is lexical borrowing. Borrowing in Puerto Rico (for political, economic, and social reasons) is evident in the influence English has had on Spanish, especially in lexical terms. This paper explores the impact of American English on the lexicon of Puerto Rican Spanish, specifically on vocabulary relating to food. Data were collected through participant observation in selected fast food restaurants from different regions in P.R. An analysis of the corpus provides the basis for five categories useful in understanding the influence of English on Spanish in this domain. The study indicates that English borrowings have had a tremendous influence on the Puerto Rican lexicon, and predicts that, even though Spanish will continue to be the dominant Puerto Rican language, it will continue to change under the influence of English.