Gradual restructuring in Ecuadorian Quechua

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The notion of gradual restructuring, pioneered by Jacques Arends, offers a way to arrive at a perspective on language genesis responsive to language typology and language history. I would like to contribute to this approach by looking at restructured Ecuadorian varieties of Quechua. The type of gradual restructuring studied here does not involve the gradual expansion of a pidgin into a creole. Rather, we are dealing with the gradual transformation of an expansion language, Incaic imperial Quechua, into a morphologically more simple variety as it spread northward into Ecuador. Documentary evidence is given that there was gradual restructuring of the language as it spread in Ecuador. I conclude by presenting these features in a more general perspective. The main point made is that the relation between syntax and morphology is not the same in all processes of restructuring, as indeed it is not in the languages involved in the contact.


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