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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 2: The concept of Andean Spanish and the language history of the North Peruvian Andes


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The concept of Andean Spanish and the language history of the North Peruvian Andes

2.1  Introduction

This study contemplates a problem that has both dialectological and sociohistorical aspects, given that its first objective is dialectal in nature – specifically, to demonstrate that the Spanish varieties of the predominantly Culle substrate in the northern Andes of Peru constitute a well-articulated group. While this group shares features with the southern and south-central Andean Spanish that is based on Quechua and Aymara, it is also distinct from it due to a series of phenomena contained within the language group’s own logic and historic organization. The second objective is historical – namely, it involves seeking an explanation through a review of the historical context in which this Spanish has developed in order to understand the particular configuration of this variety. In this chapter I will convey how some dialectological and historical sociolinguistic categories and approaches have been applied in Peru through a brief historical review of the study of Peruvian Spanish in the twentieth century. Subsequently, I will outline the state of the matter concerning linguistic investigation in the analyzed region.

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