new language dialect Miami English: Due to the cultural mixing between Spanish and English speakers, a new dialect has emerged in certain areas of Miami. The distinctive dialect is a Spanish-influenced dialect of English that arose from decades of immigration to South Florida from Spanish-speaking countries.
Miami is one of the most bilingual cities in the United States, consisting of a Hispanic and Latino majority. In recent decades, the Spanish language has mixed with American English, resulting in a new dialect composed of its phrases and expressions.
Linguists at Florida International University in Miami say that language development is a perfect example of how human languages change shape in the face of historical and social conditions.
Professor Philip M. “All words, dialects, and languages have a history,” Carter, director of the Center for Humanities in an Urban Environment at Florida International University, told IFLScience.
“There are many ways to speak English in Miami. The diversity we have studied over the last 10 years is the main linguistic diversity of people born in South Florida in Latino-majority communities. “This diversity is characterized by some unique but ultimately minor pronunciations, some minor grammatical differences, and word differences that are influenced by the long-term presence of Spanish in South Florida.”
This new dialect takes aspects of Spanish utterances and directly translates them into English while preserving the existing Spanish structure of the phrase. This is what is known as calc.
For example, “bajar del carro” becomes “get out of the car” – not “get out of the car” as you would expect to see in most American English accents.
This new dialect has been adopted not only by bilingual speakers. Linguists have noticed that certain expressions are also accepted by native English speakers.
“These are examples of literal lexical computations—direct translations. What’s remarkable about them is that we found that they not only work in the speech of immigrants—people who rely on their native Spanish when learning English. – is used – but also among their children who have learned English as their first language.
In 2022, Carter and linguist Kristen D’Alessandro Meri conducted a study documenting Spanish-to-English-speaking Calques in South Florida. A national group beyond South Florida was asked to do the same.
The study involved asking 33 people in Miami—including a diverse mix of first-generation Cuban Americans, second-generation Cuban Americans, and non-Cuban Hispanics—what they thought of more than 50 sentences that exemplified the new dialect. They then had to rate the sentences based on “excellent”, “very good”, “awkward” or “terrible”.
Their findings showed that the accent generally sounded “natural” to Miamians, but that people living outside the area found it significantly more foreign. Emphasizing that dialects come with subtle differences until non-speakers of that dialect find it ungrammatical.
Carter emphasized that it’s important for Miami English — and any dialects from marginalized communities — to shed their stigma.
I want Miami English to lose its stigma because Miami English is the main language of the people. It is the language that a person learns from his parents, uses in school, and hears in his society. This diversity is the language in which they developed their identity, formed their friendships, and found love. Why should it be stigmatized? Carter asks.
Carter and D’Alessandro Merritt’s study can be found in English throughout the world.