Variation and change in Latin American Spanish and Portuguese

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Western hemisphere varieties of Spanish and Portuguese show substantial similarity in the patterning of sociolinguistic variation and change. Caribbean and coastal dialects of Latin American Spanish share several variables with Brazilian Portuguese (e.g., deletion of coda –s, –r). These variables also show similar social distribution in Hispanic and Lusophone communities: formal styles and high status speakers are consonantally conservative, while higher deletion is associated with working class speakers and informal styles. The regions that show these sociolinguistic parallels also share common historical demographic characteristics, notably a significant population of African ancestry and the associated history of extensive contact with African languages into the 19th C. But contemporary changes in progress are also active, further differentiating Latin American language varieties.


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