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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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Maya and Spanish in Yucatán: An Example of Continuity and Change

Maya and Spanish in Yucatán: An Example of Continuity and Change

(p.205) 8 Maya and Spanish in Yucatán: An Example of Continuity and Change
Iberian Imperialism and Language Evolution in Latin America

Barbara Pfeiler

University of Chicago Press

This chapter addresses the question of language coexistence and change in the Mexican state of Yucatan, where the highest proportion of bilingualism of an indigenous language and Spanish has been registered. The efforts to spread Spanish in Yucatan started only after the 19th century, allowing a continuous use of the Maya language but also mutual borrowings into the structures of both languages. While Maya has contributed to making the local/regional variety of Spanish singular in comparison to other Mexican Spanish varieties, the extent of the influence of Spanish onto the Mayan language can be correlated with the duration and intensity of contact with Spanish. Although Maya has survived the competition of Spanish to date, new socioeconomic ecologies, migration, and linguistic centralism account for the spread of Spanish as a vernacular language across the peninsula of Yucatan, which encourages Mayan parents to transmit Spanish as a mother tongue, instead of Maya.

Keywords:   Maya, Yucatan, bilingualism, borrowing, socioeconomic ecology, migration, linguistic centrism

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