Lexical Choice in Radio and Newspaper Ads that Target Spanish Speakers of Mixed Origin

Tamia Manning Ball State University, Mary Freda Ball State University
Faculty Sponsor(s): Colleen Balukas Ball State University
Our research study examines the use of dialect-specific traits in advertisements that target the Spanish-speaking populations of Chicago, Illinois; specifically, MexiRican speakers. Two of Chicago’s largest Spanish-speaking populations are of Mexican and Puerto Rican descent, constituting 74% and 13% of the city’s Latino population respectively (Escobar & Potowski, 2015). Speakers of mixed Mexican and Puerto Rican heritage — MexiRicans — are a growing subset of Chicago’s Latino population (Potowski, 2016). While the MexiRican dialect specifically is not well-documented, the phonological, morpho-syntactic, and lexical traits of the two contributing dialects, Mexican and Puerto Rican Spanish, have been well-studied (Medina-Rivera, 1997 Enrique-Arias, Gutiérrez, Landa & Ocampo, 2014.) Our study focuses on Spanish media advertisements featured in newspapers and radio stations. The news outlets function as data sources to help identify lexical-choice preference made by advertisers to reach Spanish-speaking customers in Chicago. This study allows us to better understand how mass marketers target Mexicans, Puerto Ricans and MexiRicans, and gives us insight into what these speakers see in every-day life. Originally, we anticipated advertisers in Chicago would have preferred using Mexican lexical items, due to the higher proportion of this population living in the city and that niche advertising may utilize more words of Puerto Rican origin to appeal to this audience. However, after analyzing more nearly 20 newspapers and listening to more than 50 radio advertisements, we discovered advertisers do not appear to favor one dialect over another; rather, they focus on using neutral Spanish terms and phrases to appeal to a wider audience.
Modern Languages, Cultures, & Literatures
Oral Presentation

When & Where

01:45 PM
Jordan Hall 242