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PhD Research School in Linguistics and Philology

Silje Drevdal

Perceptions of language correctness among native speakers of Spanish

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My project is a study of current perceptions of correctness in spoken language among native speakers of Spanish. It is part of the LIAS-project, which aims to study linguistic attitudes and identities in Latin America more generally.

My data consists of survey answers from 8 000 respon­dents, regarding which variety of Spanish they consider to be the most correct, and which they consider most incorrect. Respondents were also asked to specify their reasons for the choice of standard.

Through an analysis of the types of argument used to justify the different choices of standard, I will explore the ideas about language and linguistic norm that underlie Latin American Spanish speakers’ attitudes towards different varieties of Spanish. I will compare respondents who choose the traditional norm, i.e. European Spanish, with those who choose their own variety, or another Latin American variety, to see whether they use different types of arguments. I will also use information about the respondents’ socio-economic background to look for possible differences between groups that could contribute to a better understanding of the social aspects of the attitudes.

Finally, I will attempt to compare these folk comments about language correctness with the linguistic ideologies which have been prevalent among professionals in the history of Spanish language planning and policy development.

Drevdal works at the Department of Foreign Languages.