Date of Award


Document Type

Campus Access Thesis


Languages, Literatures and Cultures



First Advisor

D E Holt

Second Advisor

Nina Moreno


In Miami, the massive migratory waves from all over Spanish-speaking America have forever changed the city to conform to the needs of the immigrant. In particular, Cuban exiles have altered the economic, educational and social sphere of Miami that once was populated by only monolingual English speakers and turned it into a bilingual city that flourishes and embraces both languages by code switching between Spanish and English. Lynch (2000) suggests that Miami should be considered a bilingual city because English has remained fundamental in the city, creating close competition between Spanish and English due to the number of speakers, visibility, institutional and commercial support, and economic viability (273). In this study I propose to examine the language attitudes towards Spanish and English within the Cuban-American family of Miami as depicted in ¿Qué Pasa, U.S.A? (1976-1980), the first bilingual situation comedy set in Miami, Florida during the 1970s.

Based on the struggles and misfortunes of a Cuban-American family in exile, ¿Qué pasa U.S.A? embraced the difficulties of assimilating to the norms of the United States, revealing the social, cultural, and linguistic tensions between each member of the Peña family, as well as those who were involved in their adjustment to the Anglo-American lifestyle. This study will include a historic overview of the Cuban migratory waves to Miami, highlighting the sociolinguistic and generational disparities between them as they are represented in the Peña family. This study is intended to answer the question: Are the linguistic differences observed between the generations in the Peña family consistent with the implications of Ethnolinguistic Identity Theory? I will further my research through the textual and linguistic analysis of ¿Qué pasa, U.S.A?, focusing on the interethnic language strategies used within every member of the Peña family. My hypothesis is that although Spanish fluency may diminish, the use of Spanish and English to produce Spanglish proves that the implicit Spanish grammar inherent to the heritage learner will remain in some fashion and the continuous contact with exiles and immigrants from all over Latin America will continue to support the maintenance of Spanish within subsequent generations of Miami bilinguals, especially within the context of intra-family communication.


© 2011, Alejandra Gabriela Madrigal