Academic journal article Bulletin of Hispanic Studies

Mexican Spanish of the Colonial Period: Evidence from the Audiencia of New Galicia

Academic journal article Bulletin of Hispanic Studies

Mexican Spanish of the Colonial Period: Evidence from the Audiencia of New Galicia

Article excerpt

SONIA KANIA, Mexican Spanish of the Colonial Period: Evidence from the Audiencia of New Galicia. New York: Hispanic Seminary of Medieval Studies. 2010. 244 pp. ISBN 978- 1-56954-135-7.

This book represents a detailed corpus-based study of fifteenth- and sixteenth-century administrative and legal documents from the colonial Audiencia de Nueva Galicia, whose capital was Guadalajara in what is now Mexico. The corpus in question is composed of 247 folios (arranged in 22 legajos) drawn from the Archivo de la Real Audiencia de Guadalajara (Ramo Civil) housed at the Biblioteca Pública del Estado de Jalisco. The study presents detailed descriptions of the phonology, the morphosyntax and the lexis of the local Spanish of the period, concluding with a consideration of how the findings relate to ongoing debates such as the tension between Andalusian and Castilian phonetism or the extent to which grammatical structure distinguishes between Latin American and Peninsular dialects.

Overall the author's intention is to cast further light on the history of Latin American Spanish, and in particular that of Mexico. In this I feel that she has succeeded. Not in the sense of bringing to light a paradigm-shifting discovery - something that would scarcely be possible in a field that has already been so fruitfully ploughed - but rather by making available a large quantity of empirical data which strengthen, deepen and fine-tune our understanding of variation and change in the period in question.

The material has been assembled meticu- lously - almost with loving care - and its presentation in the present volume is logical and couched in a refreshingly transparent prose. …

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