Convergence and Divergence in Bozal Spanish
A Comparative Study
Afro-Hispanic language is attested from the 15th century to the early 20th century in Spain, Africa, and Latin America. The speech of bozales (slaves born in Africa and speaking Spanish only imperfectly) has frequently been used as evidence for monogenetic theories of Hispanic Creole formation, based on structural parallels and possibly Afro-Portuguese roots. The present study reviews the principal Afro-Hispanic manifestations over a period of more than 300 years, and traces those structures most frequently cited in monogenetic Afro-Iberian theories. The overall conclusion is that, while such cases as Papiamentu, Colombian Palenquero, and 19th century Cuban/Puerto Rican bozal language point to common origins or mutually shared influences, most other Afro-Hispanic language forms suggest merely imperfect learning and incipient pidginiza-tion which arose spontaneously each time Spanish and African languages came into contact.
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