The Enchantment of Language Resistance in Puerto Rico

Kevin Alejandrez, Ana S.Q. Liberato

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


This chapter presents an overview of past and present arguments and issues within the literature on linguistic struggles in Puerto Rico. The chapter highlights ideological and policy dimensions of American linguistic domination and the island’s resistance, particularly in the field of education. The chapter presents historical background and general statements about educators, political parties, working and business class people’s stances within the language debate. The scholarship points to the fact that the U.S. government systematically used Anglo-centric and ethnocentric language ideologies and policies during the first half of the twentieth century as a method of maintaining control of the colonial frontier. However, it also indicates that the island thwarted Americanization efforts that pushed for English-language acquisition through the preservation of its Spanish-speaking identity. While the chapter emphasizes the resistance efforts arguments, it also concurs with scholars who call for critical explorations of the role language plays in the production and reproduction of socioeconomic inequalities on the island and the Puerto Rican diasporic sphere. The review reveals that there is much nuance in the perspectives and positions of different groups of Puerto Ricans concerning English language acquisition and the meaning of language practices.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Spanish Language in the United States
Subtitle of host publicationRootedness, Racialization, and Resistance
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9781000530995
StatePublished - Jan 1 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Taylor & Francis.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences
  • General Arts and Humanities


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