Stereotypes, language, and race: Spaniards’ perception of Latin American immigrants




Chappell, Whitney
Barnes, Sonia

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Cambridge University Press


The present study explores how two symbolic boundaries—linguistic variety and race—intersect, influencing how Latin American immigrants are perceived in Spain. To this end, 217 Spaniards participated in an experiment in which they evaluated three men along a series of social properties, but they were presented with different combinations of linguistic variety (Argentinian, Colombian, or Spanish) and race (a White or Mestizo photograph). The results of mixed-effects regression models found that linguistic variety conditioned participants’ evaluations of status, occupational prestige, solidarity, and trustworthiness, and both variety and race conditioned evaluations of religiousness. We contend that linguistic features become associated with a specific group of people through rhematization (Gal, 2005; Irvine & Gal, 2000) and, by extension, ideologies link those people with stereotypical characteristics. We conclude that the “ideological twinning” (Rosa & Flores, 2017) of race and linguistic variety can enhance stereotypes toward immigrants and impact their experiences in the receiving country.



sociolinguistic perception, raciolinguistics, language and race, dialect perception


Chappell, W., & Barnes, S. (2023). Stereotypes, language, and race: Spaniards’ perception of Latin American immigrants. Journal of Linguistic Geography, 11(2), 104–118. doi:10.1017/jlg.2023.5


Modern Languages and Literatures