Afro -Hispanic linguistic remnants in Mexico: The case of the Costa Chica region of Oaxaca

Norma Rosas Mayen, Purdue University


Since Afro-Hispanic linguistics continues to be severely hampered by a scarcity of reliable contemporary research concerning Afro-Hispanic enclaves, several of which may hold the key to a more accurate understanding of the evolution of Afro-American Spanish, the present study contributes to this linguistic arena by analyzing the current speech of two Afro-Mexican communities, Collantes and Santa María de la Luz Chicometepec, locally known as La Boquilla, situated in the Costa Chica region of the state of Oaxaca, one of the largest Afro-Mexican enclaves. ^ Based on data collected on-site during the summers of 2004 and 2005, the present investigation not only accounts for the Afro-Hispanic linguistic remnants of this Spanish variety, but also investigates the current linguistic characteristics and sociolinguistic status of this speech area on the brink of extinction. It also offers significant data that have an impact on the current debate regarding creolized or non-creolized Afro-Spanish varieties in the Americas by proposing a rhizomatic model to interpret data derived from linguistic contact situations. This theoretical discussion attempts to ascertain whether African languages simply reinforced already existing dialect features of Mexican Spanish or whether some of those major innovations in pronunciation, morphology or syntax can be ascribed exclusively to the presence of African speakers in colonial America, features of partial acquisition of Spanish as a second language. ^ In addition, this research advocates on behalf of those Costa Chica Afro-Mexican communities that have been stigmatized and customarily ignored in Mexico’s nation-state politics and linguistic research. ^




Robert M. Hammond, Purdue University.

Subject Area

Language, Linguistics|Black Studies

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