Despite what many may think, the United States does not have—nor has ever had—an official language. English is but the de facto lingua franca used throughout a nation that is becoming ever more diverse. In this study I will investigate Spanglish, an ever-more relevant form of communication among bilinguals in the United States, as it relates to literature in Killer Crónicas a completely bilingual memory from the author Susana Chávez-Silverman. I argue that her use of multilingualism like Spanglish in the novel reflects a multi-cultural aspect of the “New World” that is the United States. This text can be seen as an autoethnography in that it rewrites the dominant culture to include marginalized voices from within that currently remain overshadowed. I argue that in a self-reflective way, the text constitutes a political move that opens the doors for other language mixing—something that has been historically stigmatized in the United States. In the second part of this analysis, I look at her multilingual Spanglish from the lens of translanguaging and what can be achieved semantically through the mixing of these two languages. I finish by showing how multilingual literature like this disrupts the cultural hierarchies that are in place and opens doors for other languages to do the same in the “New World” of America.


Balam, Osmer

Second Advisor

Hayward, Jennifer


English; Spanish


American Literature | Applied Linguistics | Latina/o Studies | Modern Languages | Semantics and Pragmatics


Spanglish, Multilingualism, Autoethnography, Translanguaging, Spanish, English

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



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