Non-Fiction Books:

The Politics of Language in Puerto Rico


Paperback / softback

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The Politics of Language in Puerto Rico by Amilcar Antonio Barreto
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This is the first book in English to analyze the controversial language policies passed by the Puerto Rican government in the 1990s. It is also the first to explore the connections between language and cultural identity and politics on the Caribbean island.Shortly after the U.S. invasion of Puerto Rico in 1898, both English and Spanish became official languages of the territory. In 1991, the Puerto Rican government abolished bilingualism, claiming that ""Spanish only"" was necessary to protect the culture from North American influences. A few years later bilingualism was restored and English was promoted in public schools, with supporters asserting that the dual languages symbolized the island's commitment to live in harmony with the United States. While the islanders' sense of ethnic pride was growing, economic dependency enticed them to maintain close ties to the United States. This book shows that officials in both San Juan and Washington, along with English-first groups, used the language laws as weapons in the battle over U.S.-Puerto Rican relations and the volatile debate over statehood. It will be of interest to linguists, political scientists, students of contemporary cultural politics, and political activists in discussions of nationalism in multilingual communities.

Author Biography

Am lcar Antonio Barreto is professor of cultures, societies, and global studies at Northeastern University. He is the author of several books, including Nationalism and Its Logical Foundations, and is coeditor of American Identity in the Age of Obama.
Release date NZ
September 30th, 2018
Country of Publication
United States
University Press of Florida
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