This article presents the results of a comparative study of two Hispanic communities in New York City: Washington Heights and Elmhurst/Corona. Our data on language proficiency, language use, and attitudes were gathered using a sociolinguistic questionnaire. However, the study benefited from the interactive process established between the researchers and the communities which they studied and in which they live and work.
Our data are analyzed along three dimensions. First, we compare data for the two Spanish-speaking communities. We discuss how the social status and the ethnic configuration of the community affect linguistic and attitudinal behaviors. Then, we analyze the data according to national origin. We discuss how the five nationality groups included in our study – Central Americans, Cubans, Dominicans, Puerto Ricans, and South Americans – differ in language proficiency, language use, and language attitudes. Finally, we compare the data for Dominicans in Washington Heights to that of Dominicans in Elmhurst/Corona. We examine how national origin and the language surround of the ethnic community interact in order to determine language use and attitudes. Some of the findings here differ from what may be supposed of such cases.
We suggest socioeducational and language policies for Hispanics in the United States based on the results of this study. (Sociology of language, sociolinguistics, language planning, ethnic studies, sociology, education of language minorities, language education, Central American, Cuban, Dominican, Puerto Rican, South American Spanish in New York City)