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Iberian Imperialism and Language Evolution in Latin America$
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Salikoko S. Mufwene

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780226126173

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2014

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226125671.001.0001

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Latin America: A Linguistic Curiosity from the Point of View of Colonization and the Ensuing Language Contacts

Latin America: A Linguistic Curiosity from the Point of View of Colonization and the Ensuing Language Contacts

Chapter:
(p.1) 1 Latin America: A Linguistic Curiosity from the Point of View of Colonization and the Ensuing Language Contacts
Source:
Iberian Imperialism and Language Evolution in Latin America
Author(s):

Salikoko S. Mufwene

Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226125671.003.0001

Portugal and Spain engaged in the effective colonization of the New World at least 100 years before England, France, and Holland did. The Portuguese started producing sugar on the industrial scale in Brazil also way before the English, the French, and their Dutch did in their tropical colonies. Brazil imported more slaves than all the other colonies combined; and, along with Cuba and the Dominican Republic, it abolished slavery only in the late 19th century. Yet, Iberian Latin America has produced no creole other than the Spanish-based Palenquero, which emerged indisputably among Maroon slaves, and the largely Portuguese-based Papiamentu, which is associated with the Netherlands Antilles. What can Latin America teach us, even if only negatively, about the ecological conditions that produce creoles? What can it also teach us about the survival of indigenous languages after the colonists contributed to the attrition of Native Americans both by miscegenation and by the genocides committed especially by the Spaniards during the early stages of colonization? From a language evolution perspective, what are the critical differences between the colonization of the New World by the Iberians and by the other European nations?

Keywords:   Colonization, slaves, sugar, gold, creoles, pidgins, language endangerment, language evolution, speciation, autonomization

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