LINGUIST List 32.2010

Thu Jun 10 2021

FYI: Puerto Rican Spanish & Reggaeton: (Socio)linguistic Aspects

Editor for this issue: Everett Green <>

Date: 08-Jun-2021
From: Wilfredo Valentin-Marquez <>
Subject: Puerto Rican Spanish & Reggaeton: (Socio)linguistic Aspects
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This will be a collection of linguistic studies about the peculiarities of Puerto Rican Spanish as related to the popularity of the musical genre known as reggaeton. Of particular interest to sociolinguists and ethnomusicologists, the book will also appeal to Spanish language educators and Latino studies scholars looking at the interplay of music, language use, language attitudes, and linguistic identity. More specifically, the volume will explore topics like the following: (1) the frequency of use of Puerto Rican Spanish dialectal variants in reggaeton compared to other musical genres and the covert prestige of those variants; (2) the linguistic creation of a performative persona by Puerto Rican reggaeton singers; (3) the projection of a performance identity by reggaetoneros from other Latin American countries, based on dialect leveling to that of top Puerto Rican reggaeton artists; (4) the adoption of dialectal features of Puerto Rican Spanish by Latin American reggaeton fans; (5) the attitudes towards Puerto Rican Spanish as directly associated to attitudes towards reggaeton; (6) the lexical repertoire popularized by reggaeton songs as well as the use of lexical borrowings from English and codeswitching instances; (7) the rise in popularity of Colombian singers in a domain once exclusively dominated by Puerto Rican reggaetoneros and its implications associated to the ideology that Colombian Spanish is the most prestigious variety of the language while PR Spanish is a highly-stigmatized variety in Latin America; and (8) the presence of reggaeton in the linguistic landscape of US cities and metropolitan areas. The relevance of this selection of subjects is supported by the growth of the Hispanic population in the US, the increasing presence of elements of Hispanic cultures in the media, the frequent appearance of Latin hits in prestigious music charts like the Billboard Hot 100, and the dominance of Latin music in platforms like Spotify and YouTube.

While a book like Berger & Carroll’s “Global Pop, Local Language” (2003, The University Press of Mississippi) “examines how performers and audiences from a wide range of cultures deal with the issue of language choice and dialect in popular music” (back cover), this volume will focus on one particular musical genre (reggaeton) and a specific language variety (Puerto Rican Spanish). There are two volumes published by Duke University Press, “Reggaeton”, edited by Rivera et al. (2009) and Rivera-Rideau’s “Remixing Reggaetón: The Cultural Politics of Race in Puerto Rico” (2015), analyze the genre’s aesthetics in relation to hip-hop and the debates about broader topics like race, nation, gender, and sexuality. Although these topics will be examined in the book proposed here, it will be through a sociolinguistic lens.

Linguistic Field(s): General Linguistics; Sociolinguistics

Subject Language(s): Spanish (spa)
Language Family(ies): Spanish based

Page Updated: 10-Jun-2021