The Aymara Language in Its Social and Cultural Context: A Collection Essays on Aspects of Aymara Language and Culture

By M. J. Hardman | Go to book overview

14. Some Cases of Aymara Influence on La Paz Spanish

Richard A. Laprade

Centuries before La Paz was founded by the Spaniards in 1548, Aymara- speaking people inhabited the Choqueyapu valley where the present city is located. During the constant language contact of Spanish and Aymara over four centuries, elements of each language have been introduced into the other. The influence of Spanish--the dominant language1--on Aymara has been greater than that of Aymara on Spanish, as is to be expected considering the conqueror/conquered relationship of the two.

The interinfluence of Aymara and Spanish over the years of contact was not by any means a process of pidginization and subsequent creolization in either direction. La Paz Spanish does not show characteristics associated with such processes. It is mutually intelligible with other dialects of Spanish and has not undergone morphological simplification. Nor has Aymara. The two languages, despite some interinfluence, have maintained their language identities.

Since the conquerors did not generally bring Spanish women with them, mestizaje became an unavoidable fact from the very beginning of the Spanish presence in La Paz ( Otero 1942; Finot 1952; Arguedas 1959). And with the new mestizo segment of La Paz society came bilingualism: Aymara with the mother's milk and Spanish, if the offspring was recognized by the father.

An examination of the influence a major Amerindian language such as Aymara has had on the Spanish language gains special importance when one considers that in the case of La Paz the population of the city for a

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Laprade originally wrote "Influences of Aymara on the Spanish of La Paz" for an introductory linguistics course in the fall of 1974. He revised it for inclusion in this volume. In this paper we get a glimpse of some of the more subtle and pervasive influences as seen in such areas as syntax and the distribution of Spanish items. By the time Laprade rewrote his paper, many more Bolivian Span

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