Trajectories of change in Spanish and Portuguese in the Americas

Gregory Guy

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


    This paper examines ways in which varieties of Spanish and Portuguese spoken in the Americas have diverged significantly from their peninsular sources, and from each other, in the half-millennium since colonization. Some of this divergence is a consequence of spontaneous innovations in the New World varieties (e.g., ‘zheismo’ and ‘sheismo’ in Platense Spanish; emergence of the new 1pl pronoun a gente in Brazilian Portuguese). Historically, a significant driver of change was language contact, with indigenous languages, and especially with African languages. A suite of linguistic characteristics shared by Caribbean Spanish and Brazilian Portuguese indicate that both varieties were affected by the irregular transmission of these languages to the African population transported to these locations in the time of slavery.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Title of host publicationRomance Languages and Linguistic Theory 16. Selected papers from the 47th Linguistic Symposium on Romance Languages (LSRL), Newark, Delaware
    EditorsIrene Vogel
    PublisherJohn Benjamins Publishing Company
    Number of pages22
    ISBN (Electronic)9789027261182
    StatePublished - 2020

    Publication series

    NameRomance Languages and Linguistic Theory
    ISSN (Print)1574-552X


    • African influences
    • Dialects
    • Innovation
    • Language change
    • Language contact

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Language and Linguistics


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