Document Type

Working Paper

Publication Date



Although several typologies of the linguistic varieties of language varieties heard in the speech of Chicanos have been proposed, many disagreements about the assumptions underlying such typologies remain, in particular, concerning the nature of Chicano English. These disagreements have a direct, detrimental effect on the assessment and education of Chicano children, and by extension, all language minority children. Critical commentary on certain of these disagreements is presented in this paper. A unitary model of the language varieties used by Chicanos which goes beyond recent typologies is proposed, made on the basis of explicit assumptions about the sociolinguistic nature of language setting of Chicanos. Four examples of this Chicano language setting model are presented, utilizing recent nationwide and three statewide demographic figures. On the basis of these assumptions, Chicano English is characterized as the autonomous vernacular dialect of native English speaking Chicanos.


Southwest Hispanic Research Institute and Center for Regional Studies.


SW Hispanic Research Institute