The language of Quechua rural teachers in Bolivia: a study of bilingualism - interlingualism among rural Quechua native speakers
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This is a study of the linguistic situation of contemporary Bolivia carried out between 1990 and 1993. It attempts to delimit a particular speech community (that of bilingual rural school teachers in the Quechua speaking region). It started as a study for delimiting the Spanish dialects spoken in Bolivia, seeking explanations for possible deviations from standard Spanish in the influence and actions of the mother tongue, Quechua. However, as the analysis progressed, I found increasingly a certain systematicity in the characteristics of the presumed Spanish dialect. Although there existed a determined structural transference, this did not reflect merely a direct transcription from the mother tongue Quechua, since it was not always possible to determine whether it was the result of transference from this language, or if it could be explained in terms of the non-native language. Finding some analogy with the conclusions of Labov concerning the English spoken by blacks in New York, I considered that the best explaination would be to interpret the speech in question as the expression of a distinct code. In summary, this thesis comes down specifically to the demonstration, by means of the analysis of the characteristic structures of the Spanish spoken by rural school teachers in the Quechua speaking areas of Bolivia, that the code they use as their habitual medium of communication is an interlanguage in the process of forming itself into a new code of the creole type, what we call a semilanguage. The existence of the semilanguage could also be proved in the observation of a series of social and psycological factors which affect its speakers. We could see that the teachers form an intermediate group, which is the product of a process of adaptation, and in which the confluence of certain values and attitudes has provoked the rise of hybrid values and behaviour, tending to create a new order which involves a new culture and thus a new code of expression.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
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