Syncretic speech, linguistic ideology, and intertextuality

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“Syncretism” describes the structural incorporation of indigenous languages like Mexicano (Nahuatl) from Central Mexico with majority languages like Spanish. Building on research of Hill and Hill (1986), and collaborations with local scholars including teacher Ramos Rosales Flores, We analyze a 1999 public linguistic event celebrating the Spanish publication of “Speaking Mexicano” in Tlaxcala. Syncretic Mexicano, so-called “mixed speech,” exists within a local ideological landscape in which legítimo Mexicano – true Mexicano – is an idealized, largely not-spoken form of the native language, free of Spanish. We analyze multiple ideologies and metadiscursive practices at this event. I (Messing) further explore interpretation of syncretism by locals, resident-scholars and outsider-scholars, adding intertextual complexity to the academic and local interpretations of purism.


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