Glenn Martínez, Mexican Americans and language/Del dicho al hecho! Tucson, AZ: University of Arizona Press, 2006. ix, 128 pp. Pb. $15.95.
This slender volume is offered as an introductory text on this topic, presumably to university undergraduates. In the Introduction, Martínez states: “Mexican Americans and language offers a linguistic overview of some of the central issues in the Mexican American language experience [emphasis in original], giving students the background needed to respond to the multiple social problems that interface with the language differences that exist in the Mexican American minority population” (p. ix). The goals of the book thus explained, in the final paragraph of the Introduction the author reveals the conversational style that he will take for the rest of the chapters, using second person for the reader and first person for the author: “After reading this book I hope you will be able to bridge the gap between el dicho (saying) and el hecho (doing) and will be able to look at the Mexican American language experience in a way that will encourage you to seek out change and improvement for the Mexican American communities that exist throughout the United States” (xi). On the face of it, this style may intend to make the academic content to follow less intimidating to students unused to reading challenging texts and academic jargon. However, it also makes for a very personalized approach to the issues that he addresses, a type of “critical discourse” in effect, in which his interpretation of the research presented appears not to be open to dissension or debate.