A Bridge to Portugal: Language and Identity in Bridgeport, CT

  • Fabio Scetti Université Paul Valéry Montpellier 3
Keywords: Portuguese, migration, diaspora, language contact, language ideologies


Here I present the results of BridgePORT, an ethnographic study I carried out in 2018 within the Portuguese community of Bridgeport, CT (USA). I describe language use and representation among Portuguese speakers within the community, and I investigate the integration of these speakers into the dominant American English speech community. Through my fieldwork, I observe mixing practices in day-to-day interaction, while I also consider the evolution of the Portuguese language in light of language contact and speakers’ discourse as this relates to ideologies about the status of Portuguese within the community. My findings rely on questionnaires, participant observation of verbal interaction, and semi-structured interviews. My aim is to show how verbal practice shapes the process of identity construction and how ideas of linguistic “purity” mediate the maintenance of a link to Portugal and Portuguese identity.