13. On the development of contact varieties

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This article investigates data from the early stages of the development of Andean Spanish, focusing on bilingual documents written between 1595 and 1746. Given that Andean Spanish emerged initially in a context of language contact between the native Spanish community and the indigenous Amerindian bilingual community, it would seem reasonable to assume that early documents would provide evidence of contact-induced change in the developing Spanish of the community. This evidence could be apparent in patterns of variation that such documents would provide. However, after careful analysis, the bilingual documents written between 1595 and 1746 are discounted as evidence of early stages in the formation of the Andean Spanish dialect for various reasons. For such change to occur, extensive face-to-face interaction among communities, not merely select individuals, has to occur, but this in fact did not happen. Thus, a close variationist analysis of bilingual documents contributes to the social history of early Andean Spanish as well as models of language contact and dialect birth. In short, a study of the linguistic features of texts is transformed into social history.


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