Peruvian Amazonian Spanish
Uncovering variation and deconstructing stereotypes
Some linguistic structures found in Amazonian Spanish tend to be associated by and large with a rural variety spoken by people frequently depicted as indigenous. However, direct observations indicate that most of these features are pervasive among speakers across the social spectrum. What, then, are the parameters of linguistic variation in Peruvian Amazonian Spanish? Is there any social and/or linguistic meaning associated with the attested variation? This paper looks at data from ten monolingual speakers, five born and raised in Iquitos, and five born and raised in Kokama indigenous villages. The linguistic variables examined are: (i) permutation j/f, (ii) possessor/noun number agreement, (iii) double possession, and (iv) genitive fronting. This study concentrates on one social variable, place, which is found to significantly impact language use. City-speakers emphasize or downplay their category membership through the quantitative manipulation of markers; village-speakers show less variability in their language use. In addition, certain possessive constructions seem to be undertaking specialized functions.
Keywords: Amazonian Spanish, variation, Peruvian Spanish
Published online: 08 December 2014
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Emlen, Nicholas Q.
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