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The Spanish of the Northern Peruvian Andes

A Sociohistorical and Dialectological Account


Luis Andrade Ciudad

This book analyses a set of rarely described regional Spanish varieties spoken throughout much of the northern Peruvian Andes (Cajamarca, La Libertad and Ancash) from a sociohistorical and dialectological perspective. What are the main dialectological features of these varieties? Are these features the same ones that shape southern Andean Spanish, a variety formed mainly through contact with Quechua and Aymara? Which of these features are distinctly outcomes of contact with Culle, the main substrate language of the region, which was mentioned in colonial and postcolonial documents but is now extinct? How are these features linked to the postcolonial history of the region, marked by the Catholic evangelization enterprise and an «economy of plundering» based on agriculture, weaving and mining? Thorough consideration of these matters allows the author to critically assess the standard notion in Hispanic linguistics that considers Andean Spanish as a single, homogeneous code. The study sheds new light on how the regional varieties of Spanish in America were shaped over time and proposes ways of delving into language history in postcolonial contexts, where a written European language has been superimposed on a set of native codes previously lacking written traditions.
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Chapter 1: Historical sociolinguistics, dialectology, and the Andean realm


← xviii | 1 →


Historical sociolinguistics, dialectology, and the Andean realm

1.1  Introduction

This study contemplates a series of problems from the field of historical sociolinguistics, especially as they connect to the sociology of language, language contact, and dialectology. For this reason, this chapter reviews some of the basic concepts and perspectives of this subdiscipline, with emphasis on the three aforementioned areas and their possible application to the Andean domain, in order to then address the question of why the history of the languages and varieties spoken in the Andes is of interest for this field of study. The principal objective of this chapter is to show how a combination of approaches, reflections, and debates about language details of the past has been elaborated in the framework of Andean linguistics during the last fifty years; and that these facts can productively dialogue with some of the approaches and methods outlined in the nascent space of historical sociolinguistics. I consider this theoretical review necessary in order to establish a solid base for undertaking the inspection of North Peruvian Andean Spanish in subsequent chapters, and in this way be able to evaluate obtained results within a broader conceptual horizon after the study. ← 1 | 2 →

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