Andean Spanish

Andean Spanish has been used in Latin American to refer to the cross-national Spanish variety spoken in the Andes Mountains of Argentina, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador and Colombia.

In the colonial era, the Andean region was part of the Viceroyalty of Peru and so was administered from Lima on the Pacific coast. Potosí, Quito or Cuzco were important cities at that time.

Peru is a linguistically and culturally diverse country. More than fifteen language families are spoken there, with their own dialects. The most important ones are Quechua and Aimara, although only Spanish is official.

Language contact between Spanish and indigenous languages (Quechua throughout the region and Aymara only in southern Peru and Bolivia) has been long-lasting and intense. In many areas stable forms of interlanguage Spanish have been in use for centuries and it is likely that the speech of some monolingual speakers - especially in the remoter urban centres, such as Juliaca in southern Peru - represents a crystallization of such hybrid systems.

The term ‘Andean Spanish’ is commonly applied to the spectrum of speech types, from interlanguage to indigenously-influenced monolingual Spanish, which is encountered in the highland Andean area from the equator to the Tropic of Capricorn

Andean Spanish is nowadays still stigmatized; its phonological features have become stereotypes that identify the socio-cultural group that speaks it. The assibilation of [r] (with an 'S-like' quality) and the alternation of vowels (mixing up of mid and high vowels because of the influence of Quechua, that has no mid vowels).

Words derived from Quechua in Andean Spanish are chacra ‘small farm’, choclo ‘corn on the cob’, soroche ‘altitude sickness’, or yanacón ‘tenant farmer’. Aymara provides fewer words like yapa ‘tip’.