Newswise — This study analyzes discourse in and about Spanish by presidential hopefuls and their prospective running mates leading up to the 2016 United States presidential election. I utilize Irvine and Gal’s (2000) framework of semiotic processes to reveal how Democratic and Republican politicians implement iconization, fractal recursivity, and erasure in order to appeal to their respective bases. Further, I demonstrate how discourse in and about Spanish may be considered marked to one party and unmarked to another. Analysis is based on a 70-item corpus consisting of broadcasted and printed media, as well as content promulgated over social media during this election cycle. In analyzing key discursive moments that focus on “language”, I address national ideologies as well as latinidad and its appropriation. As such, this study contributes to an understanding of the role of Spanish and the Latino electorate within the United States.
The study was authored by Bryan Kirschen, who holds a joint title in the Department of Romance Languages and the Linguistics Program at Binghamton University, State University of New York; he is affiliated faculty of the Translation Research and Instruction Program and the Department of Judaic Studies.