Languages of Solidarity: A Comparative Analysis of Cuban Spanish in Miami and Judeo-Spanish of Pre-Holocaust Salonika

Margaret Glide

Western Michigan University


The language shift to Cuban Spanish in Miami-Dade county has been unbelievably understudied while the study of Judeo-Spanish is ample. As both languages are prime examples of solidarity language use, I have done a side-by-side comparative and qualitative analysis of scholarly studies that have been done on both languages in order that we may understand the power of solidarity in language change and what effects it could have on thepreservation of Spanish in the whole of the United States. I also make references to other Spanish-speaking groups within the United States in order to contrast the solidarity of both of these languages.

I will discuss both public and private implementations of language. In reference to institutions, the focus will lie on educational systems such as L’Alliance Isréalite Universelle which taught primarily in French as well as bilingual and monolingual schools which will focus on the different effects of an imposed linguistic policy. Sephardic Jews used the additional language to enrich their identity while In the United States, native speakers of Spanish use it as a tool to avoid the use of their native language and ascertain the dominant use of English which is seen as more lucrative. Further, I will discuss the social contexts of each regarding prestige, diglossia, and external and internal racism. Both themes will present the discussion of language attrition, maintenance, and borrowing due to their respective linguistic politics and how each language’s situation differ in value. Furthermore, the discussion of internal racism on top of external racism in the United States provides a crucial discussion of social solidarity and how it may deteriorate the use of a minority language. Many Spanish-speaking groups often criticize the purity of the Spanish spoken by other groups instead of embracing linguistic solidarity like the Sephardic Jews and the Cuban refugees of Miami. These internal criticisms only encourages native speakers of Spanish to flee their native tongue for English.