Kirsten Silva Gruesz
- Associate Professor
- University of California, Santa Cruz
This study retraces changing perceptions of the Spanish language—and of Spanish speakers as an ethnoracial community—alongside the development of a distinctively Latino social presence and cultural expression in the US Although most Americans see the conflict between English and Spanish as a contemporary issue, its history extends from the colonial and early national periods. Using material evidence such as grammars, phrasebooks, anthologies, newspapers and diaries dating from those periods through the mid-twentieth century, I describe a complex attitude of Anglophone attraction and repulsion toward Spanish, and argue that the social conditions of the two languages have evolved together in a climate of mutual influence.