Is A New Dialect Of English Emerging In South Florida?
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Phillip M. Carter, Associate Professor of Linguistics at Florida International University, says that a new, Spanish-influenced dialect of English is emerging in South Florida. 

From Carter’s June 12, 2023, UPI article on the topic: Linguists have identified new English dialect emerging in South Florida.:

”We got down from the car and went inside.”

”I made the line to pay for groceries.”

”He made a party to celebrate his son’s birthday.”

These phrases might sound off to the ears of most English-speaking Americans.

In Miami, however, they’ve become part of the local parlance.

According to my recently published research, these expressions—along with a host of others—form part of a new dialect taking shape in South Florida.

This language variety came about through sustained contact between Spanish and English speakers, particularly when speakers translated directly from Spanish.

This is more complex than just borrowing a word from Spanish, such as ”fiesta” or ”amigo.”  In these examples, the actual English verbs used are based on the way the verbs are used in Spanish.  

In Spanish you say ”bajar del carro” which means go down from the car, not get out of the car as in English.  So what they’ve done is literally translate the Spanish verb into English.  

Another example is ”make a party,” from Spanish ”hacer una fiesta,” rather than ”have a party” or ”throw a party.” Or ”married with” rather than ”married to.” 

Another article on the topic says that English pronunciation in Miami has been influenced by Spanish:  

In 2013, FIU sociolinguist Phillip Carter set out on an ambitious project to spearhead the first-ever study of the Miami dialect. He’d previously conducted research on Latino-English dialects in Texas and North Carolina. What he was hearing in Miami, though, was unique. He came to call it Miami English—and defined it as a variety of English with subtle structural influence from Spanish, mostly spoken by native English speakers who are second-, third- or fourth-generation Latinos.

One of the reasons he can call Miami English its own dialect is because of the vowel system. Vowels are one of the first places linguists look—or rather listen—to understand whether one language has influenced another. Since Miami is such a diverse, multilingual city, Carter wanted to determine if Spanish vowel sounds had worked their way into English words—helping create the sound of Miami English.

Finding proof the vowel sounds were different involves more than just comparing speech samples. It also takes a little science. Physics, to be exact.

All speech is a soundwave. Soundwaves come from vocal cords, but those waves are shaped into specific sounds by movements of the tongue. Speakers of different languages move their tongues differently. Carter and his team wanted to pinpoint the “shape” of the vowels or what movement the tongue made to produce different vowel sounds.

The team interviewed 20 Miami-born participants from Latino or Hispanic descent, along with five Anglo white residents, for nearly an hour. Recordings of those conversations were then analyzed using a special phonetics software, which pulled thousands of data points on the vowel sounds. This allowed the group to not only measure the vowel sounds, but use the data to map tongue movements. 

“With this study, we were able to say ‘For this group of people, the sound is produced with tongue down and forward,’” Carter said.

Spanish has five vowel sounds. Most dialects of English have about 11. Carter found that the Spanish vowels influence the pronunciation of English words in Miami, primarily among the Latino speakers [Miami English—yes, it’s real, by Angela Nicoletti, Florida International University News, July 2, 2020].



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