The Mexican Migration Project: Oral Histories

Bibliographic information: The Mexican Migration Project: Oral Histories. http://mmp.opr.princeton.edu/expressions/stories-en.aspx

Brief description: This site shares the findings of a research project to better understand the migration process of people from Mexico to the United States. It contains oral histories in both English and Spanish, which are grouped into the following categories: boarder crossing and working, everyday life and return and those who stay. This seems like it would be a great resource for a Spanish, History or Language Arts class to hear the voices of the immigrants first hand, as they tell their own stories. Text structure and language used is moderately complex. There is also data about migrant workers’ employment, family, earnings, etc. This project is headed by professors at the University of Guadalajara and Princeton University, both of which are well know Universities.

Qualitative Analysis: The vocabulary adheres to the readers linguistic base. Register is familiar and casual. There is distance between the readers experience and those of the text. Unless readers are immigrants, their experiences will not closely relate to the text. The stories are all told in first person and are limited to the perspectives and viewpoints of the narrator, as they tell their own stories of coming to the North. There are a few instances where Spanish words are used mixed in with the English, but the meaning can be found from context. Since the stories are told by native Spanish speakers, some of whom had to quit school at the elementary level, vocabulary is sometimes limited in English. Also, the sentence structure is mostly simple or run on. Some mistakes are found in translations, such as ‘medium class’ instead of ‘middle class’ and other minor vocabulary usage issues. The grammatical and vocabulary mistakes may cause some readers to slow down and read more carefully to fully understand.

Subject area: History, Spanish, English

Personal thoughts: I like this website because it has primary sources and you can read the stories of the immigrants in their own words and find out about their lives directly from the source, both in Spanish and English.

Subjects/themes: immigration, history, migrant farm workers, Spanish

Character names/descriptions: Migrants Hector Liñán, Victor Villa, Miguel Gutiérrez and Baudelio Rosas among others, share their stories of going from Mexico to ‘El Nord’

High interest annotation: Hear migrants’ stories collected here in their own words, both in Spanish and English.

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