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Gloria Anzaldúa theorized that the Chicano English, which she felt best depicted her identity, is seen by educators and American society as an "illegitimate, bastard language" (1987). The stereotypical view on various language variations and vernaculars has contributed to this idea that non-standard English is "illegitimate" or wrong. A Chicano's first language is essentially both English and Spanish. They typically begin speaking Spanish at the beginning of their lives and shortly after they begin to learn English at school. However, this new language is introduced before they can learn the first—which produces a mix of both languages and is commonly referred to as code-switching, a communication style that combines both English and Spanish words in a single conversation. This language is not accepted as a proper form of communication despite being the language that best expresses Chicano culture. Chicano English is typically something that will be corrected by educators, as they offer a Standard English form of expressing the same words. This limits Chicanos' abilities to accurately express themselves in their spoken and written work. Speech and language are the very essence of community and culture. Correcting Chicano English induces erasure of cultural identity. In this sense, negotiating language can become detrimental to identity and self-expression. This article reports research from an IRB approved study (#12787), in which Chicano participants were interviewed about their experience with their Chicano English, codeswitching, and their ability to express culture.

Publication Date



Logan, UT


Chicano, cultural expression, language, stereotyping


Arts and Humanities

Chicanos' Negotiation of Language and Culture With Standard English in Cache Valley, UT