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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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Brazilian Portuguese and the Ecology of (Post-)Colonial Brazil

Brazilian Portuguese and the Ecology of (Post-)Colonial Brazil

(p.186) 7 Brazilian Portuguese and the Ecology of (Post-)Colonial Brazil
Iberian Imperialism and Language Evolution in Latin America

J. Clancy Clements

University of Chicago Press

Vernacular Brazilian Portuguese (VBP) can be characterized by a variety of phonological and morpho-syntactic traits (13 are identified) that are rare to non-existent in Vernacular European Portuguese, or are only found in certain dialects in Portugal. This study accounts for the innovations in VBP by invoking the distribution of African and European populations in Brazil. From the 16th to the end of the 18th century, a vast number of slaves were transported to Brazil. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Blacks and Pardos made up well over half of the total population, and the Norte, Nordeste, and Leste regions had an especially dominant presence of Blacks and Pardos. Consequently, African-language features were arguably more strongly represented and there were additional innovations triggered by large-scale second language learning. Although the restructuring processes undergone by VBP have been admittedly complex, one key aspect of the propagation of the innovations in VBP has arguably been the presence of a diverse and heterogeneous linguistic feature pool, which is due to the strong presence in Brazil of Africans and their descendants over the last three and a half centuries.

Keywords:   Vernacular Brazilian Portuguese (VBP), VBP traits, Brazilian population distribution, sugar plantations, Africans in Brazil, homesteads, slaves, mining census data

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