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The Accent on Modern Family: Listening to Representations of the Latina Vocal Body

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This essay reviews eight seasons of the television series Modern Family, with a close examination of the scripted dialogue used in the first season, when Colombian actor Sofía Vergara crafts the sitcom's popular character of Gloria Delgado-Pritchett. Specifically, we pay overdue attention to the use of Gloria's accent and her grammatically incorrect English as a technique to racialize her as a Latina character. A textual analysis of the show's first season (2009–10), consisting of twenty-four episodes, found ten episodes that featured scenes in which Gloria's Spanish-accented English or her use of English words was mocked on the show. Gloria's interaction with the show's white characters often used her accent or word choice for comedic effect and for structuring racial and gendered hierarchies. Ultimately, Sofía Vergara's personification of Gloria provides an interstitial space in which the character's visual aesthetics (color, hair, curves) and language (accent, speech) function as signifiers of Latinidad and in this way racialize both her visual and vocal body.

Document Type: Short Communication

Publication date: March 1, 2018

More about this publication?
  • Aztlán presents original research that is relevant to or informed by the Chicano experience. An interdisciplinary, refereed journal, Aztlán focuses on scholarly essays in the humanities, social sciences, and arts, supplemented by thematic pieces in the dossier section, an artist's communiqué, a review section, and a commentary by the editor, Charlene Villaseñor Black. Aztlán seeks ways to bring Chicano studies into critical dialogue with Latino, ethnic, American, and global studies.
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