Language attitudes and the subjective perception of language in San Andrés and Providencia (Colombia)

An integrative approach


  • Héctor Ramírez-Cruz Universidad Nacional de Colombia



language attitudes, matched guise technique, ethnicity, Raizales, Islander Creole, San Andrés and Providencia islands (Colombia)


This paper investigates language attitudes among Raizales from San Andrés and Providencia islands, Colombia. The paper analyzes stereotypical associations to Creole, Spanish, and English and addresses the question of whether or not the perception of linguistic stimuli is a function of the input-language. The study combined a matched-guise (MG) technique and a qualitative approach using a free association task to disclose emic categories to perceive and judge the languages. The results show that the perception of language is very stereotypical and dependent on whether or not the speaker is perceived as a member of the Raizal ethnic group. The MG results showed that speech is perceived differently as a function of the input-language. Spanish stimuli received the lowest scores as compared to Creole and English, suggesting a negative attitude toward Spanish in San Andrés. The paper provides empirical evidence of the perception of language as a response of ethnicity.

Author Biography

Héctor Ramírez-Cruz, Universidad Nacional de Colombia

Héctor Ramírez-Cruz is an Associate Professor and chair of the Department of Linguistics at the Universidad Nacional de Colombia, where he also earned a MA in Linguistics (Summa cum Laude) and a BA in Philology and Languages (Award of Honor and Summa cum Laude). He earned his PhD in Hispanic Linguistics at the University of Pittsburgh, United States. His areas of research are language contact, sociolinguistics, syntax, and pragmatics. His most important publications are: (2009) Interferencia y contacto de lenguas: español en fronteras bilingües de Colombia; (2016) ‘¡Uy!, ¿quién pidió pollo?’ A qualitative analysis of the piropo practice by construction workers in Bogotá, Colombia; (2017) ¡No manches güey! Service encounters in a Hispanic American Intercultural communication setting; (2018) ‘Yo no le conocí a mi abuela’: The use of clitics le, lo, and la in Amazonian Colombian Spanish; and (2020) Expressing uncontrolledness in narratives of accidental events: A comparison between native and non-native speakers of Spanish.


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How to Cite

Ramírez-Cruz, H. . (2021). Language attitudes and the subjective perception of language in San Andrés and Providencia (Colombia): An integrative approach. Sociolinguistic Studies, 15(2-4), 271–298.