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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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The Many Facets of Spanish Dialect Diversification in Latin America

The Many Facets of Spanish Dialect Diversification in Latin America

(p.38) 2 The Many Facets of Spanish Dialect Diversification in Latin America
Iberian Imperialism and Language Evolution in Latin America

John M. Lipski

University of Chicago Press

This study examines the factors that are primarily responsible for Spanish American dialect diversification over the past five centuries. Three main forces shaped the evolution of Latin American Spanish: regional Peninsular dialect traits brought by Spanish settlers, contact with other languages (indigenous as well as voluntary and involuntary immigrant languages), and emergent dialect features catalyzed by the rise of urban nuclei in colonial Spanish America. The role of Spanish Peninsular dialects is weighed in terms of the “founder principle” that attributes to the first settlers a long-lasting influence on subsequent linguistic evolution. A chronological comparison of changes occurring in Spain and Spanish America effectively brackets possible founder effects, while an examination of the demographic growth of colonial cities is correlated with the emergence of uniquely Latin American Spanish features. Language contact and the persistence of interlanguage varieties produced such phenomena as double possessives, object clitic doubling, cryto-evidential marking through the use of Spanish verb tenses, and unique intonational configurations.

Keywords:   Spanish dialectology, language contact, urban sociolinguistics

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