University of Western Ontario - Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Doctor of Philosophy


Hispanic Studies


Dr. Joyce Bruhn de Garavito


The purpose of this study is to fill a gap in the sociolinguistic research on language issues faced by temporary migrants. My research involves a compilation and analysis of the sociolinguistic facts relating to the situation of Mexican Temporary Agricultural Workers (MTAW) who come to Ontario and Quebec through the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program (SAWP). Following an ethnographic approach and methodology, I investigated the following research questions: 1). How do the biographic backgrounds –human capital- of MTAW restrict or allow them to renegotiate their identity and to be able to deal with their new social and linguistic environment? 2). What and how are the communicative practices of MTAW? 3). What linguistic barriers do MTAW face and how does it affect their daily lives? 4). How do the receiving communities include or exclude MTAW? Among other results, I have found that MTAW live in conditions where language/dialect and contacts happen. However, MTAW’s communicative practices show a stable language maintenance phenomenon, with transidiomatic[1] practices (Jacquemet, 2005), where sociolinguistics barriers impact their lives in almost every space of their life creating dehumanizing barriers that marks them as vulnerable individuals that suffer from linguistic inequalities and exclusion. On the other hand, these same conditions have promoted social awareness among the community at different levels, where there has been an active participation to help MTAW adapt to the community, while at the same time the community also tries to adapt to MTAW’s seasonal presence and needs.

[1] Transidiomatic practices describe communicative practices of transnational groups with linguistic interactions using different languages and codes (Jacquemet, 2005).