Andean Spanish and the Spanish of Lima: Linguistic Variation and Change in a Contact Situation

  • Carol A. Klee
  • Rocío Caravedo
Part of the Language and Globalization book series (LAGL)


One of the frequently mentioned results of globalization has been its detrimental effects on the maintenance of minority languages. It has been estimated that of the roughly 6,000 languages spoken across the globe in 2000, between 50 per cent and 90 per cent will not survive the twenty-first century. For the Quechua-speaking masses in Peru, who lived in relative isolation in the Andean region following the Spanish invasion in the sixteenth century, the twentieth century brought increased opportunities for contact with Spanish speakers as a result of the modernization of the economy, the development of communication networks and the initiation of massive migration from the Andean region to the coast. These changes have brought about a rather rapid language shift from Quechua to Spanish, as is apparent in census data. In 1940 over half the population of Peru spoke an indigenous language. However, by the 1980s only one-quarter of the population claimed some proficiency in one of these languages. According to census data, approximately 60 per cent of those who speak an indigenous language in Peru also speak Spanish (Pozzi-Escot, 1990). Thus, there has been fairly rapid language shift in Peru over the past 65 years. Mufwene (2004: 207) has described language shift among Native Americans in ecological terms, as ‘an adaptive response to changing socioeconomic conditions, under which their heritage languages have been undervalued and marginalized’.


Direct Object Social Variable Minority Language Migrant Child Spanish Speaker 
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Copyright information

© Carol A. Klee and Rocío Caravedo 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Carol A. Klee
  • Rocío Caravedo

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