10. Phonological variation in a Peruvian Quechua speech community

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Previous work on Quechua language variation and change has focused on what changes had occurred to the syntactic system (cf. Sanchez 2003) or the phonological system (cf. Pasquale 2000, 2001, 2005; Guion 2003). This article will explore the motivations for linguistic change in Quechua, particularly in the vowel system of Quechua speakers in a speech community in contact with Spanish. Two examples of phonological change will be reviewed. First, the phonological change in Quechua which raises the high vowels /I/ and /~/ to the level of [i] and [u] will be explained as a change in progress. Second, an allophonic rule in Quechua which backs /i/ to [e] and /~/ to [o] when in the vicinity of a uvular consonant (e.g., [q], [q’], [qh]) is compared among monolingual and bilingual speakers of Quechua. Linguistic and social factors are both at work in these examples to explain the motivation for phonological change in Quechua.


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