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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 3: Language contact in the North Peruvian Andes and its sociohistorical basis


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Language contact in the North Peruvian Andes and its sociohistorical basis

3.1  Introduction

In this chapter I will outline a history of language contact in the northern Peruvian Andes, specifically in the area of former Culle language use, directing special attention to the sociohistorical basis of the contact. For this purpose, I will focus on three aspects. First of all, I will consider available information about the indigenous language at hand, as well as its interactions and competition with Quechua initially and later with Spanish. Secondly, I will look at the discourse produced by the colonial system – the Catholic Church in particular – about the questione della lingua from the sixteeenth through the early nineteenth centuries. Finally, I will observe some crucial economic spaces of production in this region during the same period, under the interpretation that a necessary though not sufficient condition for the emergence of language varieties, subvarieties, and languages – in this case, for the emergence of a particular subvariety of Spanish – involves the existence of communicative circuits that are associated with such spaces. In addition to consulting published sources about the history of the North Peruvian Andes to arrive at this chapter’s results, I have reviewed a group of civil and ecclesiastic archives with the purpose of increasing available documentary evidence. The details about this survey are presented in Appendix 1.

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