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Saturday, October 12 • 9:45am - 10:10am
Raynor: The nativization of Spanish in the Pacific lowlands of 17th-18th c. New Granada (Colombia): The role of Amerindians in the absence of an Afro-Hispanic creole in Chocó

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The nativization of Spanish in the Pacific lowlands of 17th-18th c. New Granada (Colombia): The role of Amerindians in the absence of an Afro-Hispanic creole in Chocó

This study presents a novel account of the origins of Chocó Spanish, a contact variety spoken by a majority African-descendant population in the Pacific lowlands of Colombia and central to debates surrounding the ‘missing Spanish creoles’ (cf. McWhorter 2000; Sessarego 2018). An outline of three centuries of contact between European settlers, Amerindian communities, and enslaved Africans and African-descendants in Chocó reveals crucial differences between this context and the circumstances which characterize the emergence of creole languages, including mainland South American creoles such as Palenquero, Berbice Dutch, and Saramaccan. Here I present historical and linguistic evidence highlighting two previously undiscussed characteristics of the language contact scenario in Chocó: (i) Spanish bilingualism among the Emberá- and Wounaan-speaking population prior to the introduction of enslaved Africans in the late 17th c., and (ii) extensive contact between the Amerindian and African(-descendant) populations throughout the mining boom along the Pacific littoral in the 18th c.

McWhorter, John. 2000. The missing Spanish creoles: Recovering the birth of plantation contact languages. Berkeley: University of California Press.
Sessarego, Sandro. 2018. Enhancing dialogue in the field: Some remarks on the status of the Spanish creole debate. Journal of Pidgin and Creole Languages 32: 197-202.

Session abstract: Querying the individual and the community: New historical sociolinguistic approaches to contact, variation, and change

The theoretical and methodological problem of relating the behavior of individuals (Milroy 1992, Eckert 2000) to trends of language change in the community (Labov 2001:34) is particularly pressing for Historical Sociolinguistics. The five papers in this session, organized by NARNiHS, explore the socio-historical contexts and parameters of individual language use that have given rise to recorded patterns of linguistic variation in multiple understudied communities. A core concern shared by these studies is the broad application of variationist theory to historical data, by situating notions such as language variation, change, and contact, within a sociohistorical dimension. Overall, this session presents a broad range of datsets and tools to to explore the possibilities and limitations of sociolinguistic theory for the analysis of sociohistorical data from a broad range of periods and contexts. 

Eckert, Penelope. 2000. Linguistic Variation as Social Practice. Oxford: Blackwell.
Labov, William. 2001. Principles of Linguistic Change, Volume 2: Social Factors. Oxford: Blackwell.
Milroy, James. 1992. Linguistic Variation and Change. Oxford: Blackwell.


Eliot Raynor

Lecturer, Princeton University
Ph.D. candidate in Hispanic Linguistics at Indiana University. My dissertation examines variation and change in the Spanish of northwestern Colombia.

Saturday October 12, 2019 9:45am - 10:10am PDT
EMU Gumwood
  S: Querying the individual and the community