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On the tenacity of Andean Spanish

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Abstract

The present study draws on field data from communities of Quechua-dominant late bilinguals in northern Ecuador, a configuration typical of literary and folkloric portrayals of Andean Spanish. A comparison of contemporary data with earlier literary imitations as well as more trustworthy transcriptions reveals a combination of (possibly Quechua-induced) L2 Spanish features and a group of traits that cannot be reasonably analyzed as arising spontaneously and consistently generation after generation. Among the latter are the enclitic particles -<i>ca </i>and <i>-tan, </i>gerunds instead of finite verbs, and some specific lexical variants. Since it has generally been assumed that Quechua-Spanish interlanguage is an idiolectally variable and transitory register used primarily with monolingual interlocutors, the trans-generational survival of a cluster of Andean Spanish traits requires further explanation. This study presents a model for intra-community recycling, using data from ethnographic interviews, sociolinguistic inquiries, and interactive tasks performed by a broad cross-section of Spanish-Quechua bilinguals. The approach is offered as an addition to the toolkit for the analysis of long-standing language contact environments.

References

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