Modern Languages and Literatures, Department of


Date of this Version



Published in Critical Discourse Studies, 2013; doi: 10.1080/17405904.2013.789975


Copyright © 2013 Taylor & Francis. Used by permission.


This paper reports the results of an analysis of the use of metaphors, metonyms, referential strategies, and expressions of deixis used by a group of middle-class bilinguals in the border city of El Paso, Texas, when speaking about use of Spanish and English in their city and in their home. A total of 234 metaphors referencing processes, institutions, and ethnic groups related to Spanish/English use were included. The goal of this study was to analyze how speakers conceptualized language use and language users in their community, and to examine if and how individual discourses map onto larger linguistic ideologies. The study of language ideologies and individual discourse as related to language maintenance and shift in El Paso illustrates the tensions between ideologies of language pride and language panic that are central to the Mexican American language experience. Examples of internalization of linguistic prejudice prevalent in public discourse about Latinos were found together with examples of the contestation of language panic discourse through the positioning of bilingualism as the key to economic mobility and local identity.