© 2009

Spanish and English in U.S. Service Encounters

  • Authors

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xiv
  2. Laura Callahan
    Pages 1-10
  3. Laura Callahan
    Pages 11-29
  4. Laura Callahan
    Pages 31-44
  5. Laura Callahan
    Pages 45-58
  6. Laura Callahan
    Pages 69-77
  7. Back Matter
    Pages 79-290

About this book


Service encounters involve communication between strangers. Communication - or, at times, miscommunication - between strangers who come from different groups can foster the formation of stereotypes. This is therefore an area of particular relevance for investigation. Using service encounters as a vehicle, Callahan examines Spanish as social capital in the United States, focusing on who may use this language and under what circumstances. This book contributes to an examination of Spanish in the United States as a language of selected uses and selected users, along with the factors that can influence United States Latinos acceptance of its use by other Latinos and by non-Latinos.


capital communication counter English formation knowledge language service social capital Spanish state Switching types USA vehicle

About the authors

Laura Callahan is Associate Professor of Hispanic Linguistics in the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures at The City College of The City University of New York (CUNY).

Bibliographic information


"This book provides a fascinating exploration of language choice in the workplace; it uses service encounters as a lens for examining how speakers position themselves in relation to others through language accommodation (or non-accommodation). Using recent theoretical frameworks based on the social construction of identity, Callahan offers us an insightful analysis of the roles of language choice and code-switching in signaling ingroup or outgroup status and in publicly negotiating identity." - Carmen Fought, Professor of Linguistics, Pitzer College; Author of Chicano English in Context (Palgrave Macmillan, 2003)

"The comprehensive topic of this study - an examination of service encounters as a way to better understand the sociolinguistic and identitary complexity surrounding use and non-use of Spanish in the US - is a very timely one that deserves attention. Dr. Callahan offers a reader-friendly, theoretically-informed and data-rich perspective." - Robert Train, Assistant Professor of Spanish; Director, Language & Culture Learning Center, Sonoma State University