Title Page
 Table of Contents
 Morphology and syntax
 The La Paz Spanish dialet in light...
 Appendix A. Phonetic transcriptions...
 Appendix B. Phonemic alphabet of...
 Appendix C. Phonemic transcription...
 Biographical sketch

Title: Some salient dialectal features of La Paz Spanish
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00020191/00001
 Material Information
Title: Some salient dialectal features of La Paz Spanish
Physical Description: vi, 140 leaves : map ; 28 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Laprade, Richard Arthur, 1951-
Publication Date: 1976
Copyright Date: 1976
Subject: Spanish language -- Dialects -- Bolivia -- La Paz   ( lcsh )
Spanish language -- Provincialisms -- Bolivia -- La Paz   ( lcsh )
Latin American Studies thesis M.A
Dissertations, Academic -- Latin American Studies -- UF
Genre: bibliography   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
Thesis: Thesis (M. A.)--University of Florida.
Bibliography: Bibliography: leaves 131-139.
Statement of Responsibility: by Richard A. Laprade.
General Note: Typescript.
General Note: Vita.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00020191
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: ltqf - AAB2352
notis - AAU0914
alephbibnum - 000174451
oclc - 03007711

Table of Contents
    Title Page
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        Page ii
    Table of Contents
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    Morphology and syntax
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    The La Paz Spanish dialet in light of socio-linguistic circumstances
        Page 101
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    Appendix A. Phonetic transcriptions taken from tapes recorded in La Paz
        Page 125
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    Appendix B. Phonemic alphabet of Aymara
        Page 129
    Appendix C. Phonemic transcription of Aymara text
        Page 130
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    Biographical sketch
        Page 140
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Full Text



Richard A. Laprade

A Thesis Presented to the Graduate Council of
The UJniversity of Florida
In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the
Degree of Master of Arts

University of Florida



I would especially like to acknowledge the kind assistance given

in the preparation of this thesis by Mabel Velasco Tejada. Her patience

and cooperation with me and my daily questions during the ,period of

more than a year are greatly appreciated.

I offer my thanks to Dr. M. J. Hardman-de-Bautista for suggesting

the need for this study. As my advisor and mentor during my graduate

education, she has been a source of encouragement and enthusiasm. I

also appreciate the time and guidance of the other members of my

examining committee, Dr. Bohdan Saciuk, who was especially helpful

with phonology and Spanish dialectology, and Dr. William E. Carter.

Many friends have played integral parts in the preparation of this

thesis. I would like to express my gratitude to Juana Vasquez, Juan de

Dios Yapita and Justino Llanque Chana for guidance in Aymara, and Emilio

Velasco Tejada, Alicia Quintanilla de Crespo, Herndn RomAn Romero,

Etelvina Velasco Camacho, Jorge Velasco Camacho, Graciela Tejada de

Velasco, Jorge Velasco Tejada and Rosa Velasco Tejada for their

assistance through tapes from La Paz. For stimulating discussions,

as well as for valuable reference information, I am grateful to Laura

R. L. Martin, Philip T. Parkerson and Alicia Crespo de Parkerson.





Historical Background I

Purpose 6

Corpus and Informants 6

Methods, Sources and Definitions 8


Inventory and Description of the Spanish of La Paz 15

Allophonic Chart of La Paz Spanish 16

Deletion and Devoicing of Vowels 24

Consonants 31

Conclusion 40


Tense: Time and Aspect 42

Pronouns 62

Personal Pronouns and Possessive Adjectives
in La Paz Spanish 63

Suffixes 77

Isolated features 90


Nature of Socio-Linguistic Contact 101

Relation Between the contact situation and the
Process of Borrowing

Effects of Interference on the Structure of
the La Paz Spanish Dialect

APPENDIX A Phonetic Transcriptions Taken from
Tapes Recorded in La Paz

APPENDIX B Phonemic Alphabet of Aymara

APPENDIX C Phonemic Transcription of Aymara Text









Abstract of Thesis Presented to the Graduate Council
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements
for the Degree of Master of Arts



Richard A. Laprade

June, 1976

Chairperson: II. J. Hardman-de-Bautista
Major Department: Latin American Studies

This study brings out some of the more outstanding variations from

"standard" Spanish that are characteristic of one stratum of La Paz

speech, namely that of the mestizo sector whose native language is Spanish.

Salient features are examined with regard to other dialects of Spanish

and/or possible influences from the Aymara substratum. A brief sketch

of the history of contact between Aymara and Spanish-speaking people in

the city of La Paz, Bolivia, is given. It is pointed out that at least

as recently as the last century, Aymara was a language of the majority

of pacehos; it was the native language of the indigenous population, a

native language (along with Spanish) of the majority of the mestizo

inhabitants, and was spoken as a second language by the Hispanic upper

class as well. Lexical borrowings from Aymara are numerous, but are not

the focus of this study. Emphasis is on phonological and grammatical

peculiarities. Findings point to no influence at the phonological level

other than selective reinforcement of characteristics of the Spanish of

the Conquest and of evolutionary tendencies within Spanish phonetics.

Several grammatical categories are found which parallel Aymara categories.

These include: the redistribution of the pluperfect tense, which takes

on a surprisal aspect; change in usage of certain pronouns; and redis-

tribution of certain particles which take on the function of suffixes.

These are presented as evidence of likely Aymara substratum influence.

The socio-linguistic situation in La Paz is briefly discussed with the

suggestion that La Paz Spanish be considered a linguistic continuum.

Chair son



Todas las ciudades del mundo
os las podeis imaginar, menos
una: la ciudad de La Paz ....
--Alberto Ostria

Historical Background

La Paz is the largest city in Bolivia, with a population of more
than half a million. It is the hub of communications and economic and

political activity for the country. At 3,577 meters above sea level it
is the world's highest capital city, located in a huge bowl divided by

the Choqueyapu River at the edge of the Altiplano. Centuries before

Nuestra Seffora de La Paz was founded by the Spaniards in 1548 Aymara-

speaking people inhabited the Choqueyapu valley. In fact, the name

Choqueyapu comes from the Aymara ch'uqi yapu meaning 'potato field'.

The Instituto Nacional de Estadistica de Bolivia places the
population of La Paz in 1972 at 552,000 (Bolivia en Cifras 1972:8).
The Organization of American States estimates 525,000 inhabitants for
1969. (America en Cifras 1974:33).

Constitutionally Sucre is the capital of Bolivia, however, the
seat of national government is La Paz.

This is a less auspicious name than that interpreted by Diego
Cabeza de Vaca in a letter to the corregidor de La Paz who claimed it
meant heredad de oro 'inheritance of gold' (Crespo 1972:21).

Aymara is spoken by around two million people who are concentrated

in the regions to the North, West and South of Lake Titicaca on both

sides of the artificial political border between Peru and Bolivia, and
down to the Pacific coast through Chile. La Paz could be considered

the capital of the Aymara region not only because of its central loca-

tion within the Aymara speaking area but because it is'the largest

urban center where the majority of the indigenous inhabitants are Aymara

(See map, p. 3).

During the Colonial Era La Paz was an important place of rest and

trade for travellers between Lima and silver-rich Potosi (Carter 1971:

117). It was also located at about the mid-point on the route between

Cuzco and La Plata (today Sucre) and served as residence for area enco-

menderos (Crespo 1972:16).

But the Spanish population of the settlement of La Paz remained

low in the early years. In 1570, more than twenty years after its

founding, La Paz counted only two-hundred thirty (230) male Spanish
inhabitants. By 1586 the Spanish population had grown very slightly

to two-hundred sixty (260) inhabitants.

Significantly the indigenous population was many times greater,

There are also large numbers of Aymara immigrants who have gone
to distant urban areas. The 1972 census of Lima, Peru, places the num-
ber of Aymara speakers at 13,693 (Censos Nacionales VII de Poblaciones
II de Vivienda. 1972. Lima: Oficina Nacional de Estadisticas y
Censos). Also, there is a large Aymara colony in Buenos Aires, Argen-

This information comes from a report from Juan Salinas Loyola,
cited by Crespo (1972:17).

N IZIAreav

.-.-,. \-.
Jor aru T p ) 't

'~ / OAyacucho 0Nj
3! OCuzco'
8 E\


brma /rm \ i
jo' '

Z' 4dva PazLBJ
I. ...oc chabornb

-.51 J


take ~ P00 %0Sucrc
C~d u I q u ti...


!00 200 300 .400 500 600:, TA

c.,.,AR GE NT~

Here JAQI Languages Are Spoken
(Aymara, Jaqaru, Kawki)


(4 ,




0 Santa Cruz


I _

CR U *
C R U Z 'p

i I J A
jia PARAG:






Source: IIardian-de-Bautista, Vasquez and Yapita. 1975. Aymar ar yatiqaTiataki.


I~~----- I- -I- ----- ~' -- -


~-~------ CP------YII~YI~C^I I~ Ihl--lm~a~UBI~IUPU~IY-I

LU ~~;~ --IL I IIII~L~-PYY-- ---


set in the same year at 5,820. By 1675 the total Spanish, criollo and
indigenous population was estimated at 12,600.

In the annals of La Paz history little record seems to have been

kept about the indigenous population. Indeed, their presence, evi-

dently the majority for many years, is scarcely mentioned. It is

recorded that the native language of the city of La Paz was Aymara,

though many could speak or understand Quechua, the Incan language of

expansion (Crespo 1972:161). Information about interaction between the

Aymaras and the Spaniards is spotty. It is known that the Aymaras were

the farmers that the Spaniards relied on for crops (Paredes 1955:123).

The indigenous population was forced to pay tribute.and, of course,

many had to work as encomendados. Often, too, indigenous children

were sent to Hispanic homes as servants (Crespo 1975).

The most important point for this study, however, is that from the

very beginning of the Conquest mestizaje became a natural, unavoidable

fact since, for the most part, the conquerors did not bring Spanish

women with them. According to reports, the settlers of La Paz were no

exception (Finot 1954; Arguedas 1959; Otero 1940). It can be assumed

that mestizos in La Paz received the Aymara language along with the

These census data (Paredes 1955:32) must be regarded cautiously
as Paredes (1955:35) points out:
"Es necesario tener en cuenta que todos estos censos se levanta-
ron siempre con innumerables faltas e irregularidades. La manifiesta
repugnancia de los mestizos e indios a ser empadronados concurre en
gran parte a la realizaci6n de censos defectuosos; sin embargo por
las distintas cifras enunciadas se puede apreciar con algdn fundanento
el movimiento de la poblaci6n de La Paz."

mother's milk. It should not be surprising, then, to read the findings

of the French explorer D'Orbigny during his early XIX century visit to
La Paz:

Everyone speaks Aymara. The indigenous people know no
'other and the mestizos struggle with their Spanish
which is barely comprehensible and mixed with Aymara;
and everywhere, in social life and intimacy, the
inhabitants speak it among themselves, using Spanish
only with foreigners and at formal meetings (Crespo
1975:191-192). (My translation)

It would seem that perhaps only in this century has bilingualism

begun to wane. Among my informants it is significant to note that of

the three generations represented, only the members of the oldest can

speak and understand Aymara. Possible reasons for this will be discussed

in the last chapter of this thesis. For the moment it is important to

note that the population of La Paz for a great part of its history was

preponderantly indigenous. Aymara was the native language of the

indigenous population, and of the mestizo majority (sometimes along

with Spanish) and, the native Spanish speakers until recent years were

bilingual in Aymara and Spanish. This is an essential consideration

in studying the individual dialectal features of La Paz Spanish,

in that interference may occur "in the speech of bilinguals as a result

of their familiarity with more than one language" (Weinreich 1966:1).

Mestizos soon grew in number to become'the large popular class of
the urban area. Their treatment of the indigenous population was
notorious. They did all possible to try to lose themselves among the
white population. These would have been native Aymara speakers who saw
Spanish as a way up in the society (Finot 1955; Crespo 1975), or possibly
bilinguals who identified mostly with their fathers.

"Todo el mundo habla el aimara. Los indigenas no conocen otra y
los mestizos agregan a duras penas el espaniol poco comprensible y mez-
clado de aimara; y en todas parties, en la vida social y en la intimidad,
los habitantes lo hablan entire si, no sirvidndose del espaiol rms que
con los extrarnjros y en reunions de etiqueta" (Crespo 1975:191-192).


The purpose of this study is: 1) to describe some of the salient

dialectal features of the speech of native speakers of La Paz Spanish

2) to examine the findings as they compare with other dialects of

American Spanish and 3) to investigate the extent and nature of the

variation of this dialect of Spanish as a result of influence from the

Aymara substratum. This will be limited to the linguistic levels
phonology, morphology and syntax. The final chapter will be devoted

to an examination of some of the complexities of the socio-linguistic

reality of La Paz with special regard to possible suggestions for

explaining the findings reported from my data. It is hoped that the

data, analyses and tentative conclusions of this study of La Paz Spanish

will contribute material for comparison to the fields of Hispanic

dialectology and language contact.

Corpus and Informants

In this dialect study I explore various characteristic features of

the speech of members of one socio-economic sector of the La Paz popula-

tion. I do not pretend to present here all the peculiarities of all the

Spanish spoken in the city. Such a generalization is impossible consid-

ering the variation within the Spanish spoken there. Certain aspects

of pronunciation vary according to location'in the social stratification,

The study of suprasegmentals is of great importance and should be
an integral part of the study of any dialect. As Resnick (1975:11)
points out:
. intonation is perhaps the phonological feature most generally
used by Latin Americans in characterizing and imitating the speech
of other Latin American regions.
A cursory, impressionistic observation of the intonation of La Paz Spanish
leads me to suspect some correspondence between the Aymara and La Paz
Spanish systems. However, my lack of training in this area, the dearth
of material on intonation in general, and the lack of an in-depth study
of Aymara intonation prevent me from making even a tentative statement here.


stages on the spectrum of bilingualism and level of education, all of

which are closely related. For this reason, and for geographic reasons,

I have limited myself to observation of the speech of several members

of the middle mestizo sector of La Paz.

All of my informants were born or have spent most of their lives

in the city of La Paz and speak Spanish as their native language.

The data for this thesis were gathered from various's'ources in

various manners during a period of approximately one year. The most

obvious handicap of this study is that I was not personally able to

observe the speech of my informants within the local La Paz context.

Rather, because of my location in Gainesville, Florida, I had to rely

on the cooperation of friends and relatives in La Paz who sent me tape

recordings. Moreover, I was fortunate to have the assistance of my

two principal informants, Mabel Velasco Tejada and Emilio Velasco Tejada,

who were in this country and therefore able to assist me with the tran-

scription and analysis of the tapes.

The corpus consists of four tape recordings of Spanish which include

conversations, personal messages, narration, autobiography and an inter-
view. They were recorded for me in La Paz by:

Jorge Velasco Tejada, 9, Spanish monolingual

Rosa Velasco Tejada, 17, speaks Spanish and English

I should like to enter a caveat here. The microphone in field
methods always carries with it the disadvantage of possibly skewing data
by creating an artificial atmosphere. The reaction may be more stilted
or formal speech, hyper-correction or single unusual phenomena due to
nervousness. My principal informants were helpful in pointing out
several such cases to me. However, the possibility that others might
have slipped by unnoticed must not be discounted.

Herndn Roman Romero, 24, Spanish monolingual

Graciela Tejada de Velasco, cc. 42, Spanish monolingual

Jorge Velasco Camacho, 76, speaks Spanish and Aymara

Etelvina Velasco Camacho, cc. 85, speaks Spanish and Aymara

For help in Gainesville with transcription and analysis of the

tapes and with the phonological questionnaires devised by Navarro Tomas

(1945:23-61) and Resnick (1975:455-460) I am grateful to:,

Emilio Velasco Tejada, 22, speaks Spanish and English

Mabel Velasco Tejada, 24, speaks Spanish and English

Most of my informant work was done with Ms. Velasco, from whom I also

obtained notes during daily conversation and material elicited during

analysis of the tape recordings.

All of the Aymara cited in this paper was obtained through the

generous assistance of three native Aymara speakers who have been my

Aymara professors at different times during the past two years:

Juana Vasquez, 40, Tiwanaku, Bolivia, speaks Spanish and English

Juan de Dios Yapita Moya, 45, Qumpi, Bolivia, speaks Spanish

and English

Justino Llanque Ghana, 27, Suqa, Peru, speaks Spanish and English

This thesis can only be as complete a description of some of the

outstanding peculiarities of the phonology, morphology and syntax of

La Paz Spanish as the data allows. I alone claim full responsibility

for any misinterpretations that there may be in this thesis.

Methods, Sources and Definitions

When I began investigation for this thesis, the principal under-

lying questions were: What are the peculiar characteristics that mark

the speech of a paceio? and to what extent do these characteristics

result from influence of the Aymara substratum?

Through the reading of critiques of past studies of substratum

influence in Hispanic dialectology I soon became aware of the need for

in-depth investigation of all features that are suspected of being

particular to a specific dialect before accounting for .their occurrence

through substratum explanations.

Linguistic preparation in both dominant and substratum languages

is, of course, essential for a study of substratum influence. This

training should include historical linguistic perspective as well as

familiarity with variation phenomena in other dialects of the language


It is also important to find out the provenience of the early settlers

of the area under discussion at the time of initial language and culture

contact. In the present study this would be effective for tracing ele-

ments in question back to similar occurrences in certain Iberian penin-

sular dialects at the time of the conquest and early part of the colonial

period. Findings may shed light on the evolution or development of cer-

tain features. Such information has not been available to me but may
be retrievable from the Bolivian Archives.

In the history of Hispanic dialectology, there have been hypotheses

of substratum influence which have been of poor quality. Isolated

analogies have been presented as proof of substratum influence while

internal factors of the linguistic system in question which could explain

11Boyd-Brwman (1964) has gathered much information regarding the
peninsular areas of origin of many of the early colonial groups, but La
Paz does not figure among the destinations that are specified.

tendencies toward certain variations have been neglected (Alonso 1940,

1950, 1967; Cassano 1973; Lope Blanch 1967; Martin 1976).

Several investigators of the past have fallen prey to the critics

for having made claims about substratum influence that were later

refuted. Unfortunately they had failed to investigate two points

essential to substratum theory: a) presence of the element in the

substratum language and b) absence of the element in other areas of

the Spanish-speaking world. Two notable cases were those of Lenz in

Chile and Malmberg in Mexico. They both claimed the assibilated /r/

as attributable to substratum influence--Mapuche and Nahuatl respec-

tively. The pitfall was that in neither case was the assibilated /r/

present in the substratum phonology. And, the same sound is found in

Costa Rica, much of the Andean region and parts of Northern Spain, areas

where neither Nahuatl nor Mapuche has ever been present (Cardenas 1958:


To avoid such pitfalls I have utilized the Hardman, Vdsquez and

Yapita (1975) grammar of Aymara for constant reference. I have also

consulted with my Aymara teachers, all of whom are native speakers. One

of them, Juan de Dios Yapita, is trained linguist who devised the first

accurate phonemic alphabet of Aymara. The alphabet is included in this

thesis as Appendix B. For comparative aspects of Hispanic dialectology

I relied mainly upon the data compilations of Kany 1945b (syntax) and

1960 (semantics) and Resnick 1975 (phonology). Several other specific
dialect descriptions were also at my disposal for comparative purposes.

Boyd-Bowman 1953 (Ecuador) and 1960 (Guanajuato, Mexico); Boynton
1975 (Bolivia); Florez 1951 (Bogota); Kreidler 1958 (Puerto Ricans in
Jersey City); Pozzi Escot 1972. (highland Peru); Toscano Maceus 1953 (Ecua-
dor); Suarez 1945 (Yucatan); Tsuzaki 1963 (Mexicans in Detroit).

As for sources specific to Bolivian Spanish, there is an unfortu-

nate dearth. In part, this thesis is a response to the scarcity of

material on language in Bolivia. Lexical studies such as those of Fer-

nindez Naianjo (1964), Paredes Candia (1963) and Valde de Jaimes Freyre

(1964) constitute the majority of the sources on the Spanish language
in Bolivia. Van Wijk's (1961) phonological study of a Bolivian novel

deals mainly with the Spanish of Aymara miners. The article on Bolivian

popular speech by Kany (1947) is the best treatment of Bolivian Spanish

dialectal features other than phonological and lexical. However, the

author does not specify the place of origin of his informants, nor their

language background. It seems to me crucial that this information be

included. There are vast differences between the Spanish spoken in La

Paz and that spoken in Santa Cruz, for example. And the speech of native

Spanish speakers cannot be grouped together with the Spanish speech of

native Quechua or Aymara speakers. Only one other important article on

Bolivian Spanish has come to my attention, and it parallels the subject

of the present paper, in that its author, Herrero (1969), looks at the

possible influences of Quechua on Bolivian Spanish.

Based on information about other Spanish dialects and about Aymara

gleaned from these and other sources, I have classified the salient

characteristic features from my data as to:.

a) no Aymara influence

b) reinforcement from Aymara

c) likely Aymara influence

See Sold (1970) and Nichols (1941) for the few other Bolivian
sources available.

Each category is determined as follows:

a) if it can be shown that a particular element (construction

or sound) in question does not, or apparently did not, exist

iii the substratum language, then substratum influence is out

of the question. i

After specifying the precise patterns of occurrence of-the parallel

elements in both languages, and comparing their functions,

b) if the element under examination is paralleled in the sub-

stratum and recorded for other areas of the Hispanic world

where the substratum language has not ever exerted influence,

it can be assumed that it is a result of internal factors in

Spanish with possible reinforcement from the substratum.

c) if there is a parallel element in the substratum language,

and a similar phenomenon is not recorded for another region

of the Spanish-speaking world where the substratum language
has not ever exerted influence, substratum influence is


The above-mentioned have been the main criteria for classifying my data.

Throughout this paper note will be made as to the classification of each

feature mentioned. Those features which show likely Aymara influence

will be treated in greater detail in the final chapter.

It is necessary to specify: "where the substratum language has
not ever exerted influence" with reference to ether regions of the
Spanish-speaking world, because of the possibilities of diffusion. In
the case of the Andes, for example, the Jaqi family of languages (which
includes Aymara and its sister languages Jaqaru and Kawki) had been
dominant on and off with Quechua and Puquina before the Conquest and
there has been Aymara/Quechua interinfluence through trade and conquest
in the Andes for centuries.

An essential area for careful consideration is the social situation

of the area under study. Historical perspective as to the interaction

between the dominant (Spanish) and substratum (Aymara) languages, plus

a description of the current socio-linguistic reality may point to rea-

sons for the absence or presence of Ayrara substratum influence at the

various levels of the linguistic hierarchy of La Paz Spanish. This sub-

ject is also dealt with in the final chapter, followed by speculation as

to the socio-linguistic future of La Paz.

In this paper when reference is made to the "standard" Spanish

usage it is not to be assumed that I am referring to the language spoken

by the prominent, educated members of the La Paz speech community. I

balk at ingratiating, elitist terms plaguing much of the literature on

Hispanic dialectology. Terms such as vulgar, rustic, and incorrect as

opposed to cult, refined, and correct mark qualitative judgments of

prescriptive grammarians or biased investigators, and therefore will be

avoided in this study. The "standard" will be mentioned, for lack of a

better term, as a point of departure from which dialectal features can

be distinguished. Garvin (1964:522) has defined standard language as a

"codified form of a language accepted by and serving as a model to a

larger speech community." Surely the Real Academia rulings and Bello

and Cuervo (1941) have codified Spanish, and in the purist tradition

their prescriptions have been set up as models for the Spanish-speaking

world. Though I consider such attempts at purity and uniformity of

language futile, because of the very nature of language, it cannot be

ignored that authority is extended to them, and that throughout the

Hispanic world castellano is taught according to the Bello and Cuervo,


Real Academia rodel. Nevertheless, I do not subscribe to their judgments

of correct and incorrect.

The Spanish of every region in America has acquired certain special

meanings and uses that differ from the usage on the peninsula. These

reflect the new social, economic and cultural values of the particular

region (Kany 1960:5). And yet in a great number of the schools through-

out Latin America the richness of such regional variations seems to be

ignored. Every student must study castellano, which in many cases is an

imposition of the prescriptive grammars of the Real Academia and Bello

and Cuervo. For my purposes I will refer to "standard" as that language

described by the Real Academia and Bello and Cuervo, which is used as a

point of reference throughout the Spanish-speaking world. It should not

be misconstrued as a value judgment.

When the term "dialect" is used in this paper I refer to a body of

speech which does not contain differences that are considered differences

by its users (Sturtevant 1917:146). In accordance with this definition,

dialect boundaries are subjectively determined by the speakers themselves,

who perceive what to them are in-group/out-group marking differences.

My informants all consider themselves to be speakers of the same dialect.

They are quite conscious of interregional differences. For example,

speakers from the Eastern regions of Bolivia are immediately distinguish-

able by their speech. On the other hand, differences in the speech of

the highland cities of Potosi and Oruro are said to be noticeable, but

very slight. Within the city of La Paz itself, however, my principal

informant distinguishes only two dialects of Spanish, that spoken by

native La Paz Spanish speakers and that spoken by non-native speakers.



I do not pretend to present here all the phonetic peculiarities of

the La Paz dialect of Spanish. Such a generalization is impossible

considering the variation within the Spanish of the Bolivian capital.

Certain aspects of pronunciation vary according to location in the social

stratification, stages on the spectrum of bilingualism and level of

education, all of which are closely related. For this reason, and of

course, because of my present geographic location, I have limited myself

to observation of the pronunciation of several members of the middle

'mestizo' sector of La Paz, all native Spanish speakers who have lived

most or all of their lives in the capital city.

My transcriptions of one long text and two shorter ones have been

appended (Appendix A) as well as a portion of the transcription of an

Aymara text (Martin 1975:70) (Appendix C) for comparison as to the

devoicing and deletion of final vowels.

Inventory and Description of the Sounds in the
Spanish of La Paz

There are 33 consonant sounds and 8 vowel sounds in my data. They

are presented in tabular form below. I will present an articulatory

description of each allophone, as well as a statement of distribution

for those phonemes which have more than one allophonic realization. A

few examples of occurrence in different environments will be given in

phonemic transcription, in translation and in phonetic transcription.










vl. p

vd. b






Allophonic Chart of La Paz Spanish

*See H. A. Gleason 1955. Descriptive Linguistics, page 21.
New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston.

0 'd0
.-4 4

- >-4
0) C

m n



e E

a A

o 0

f y

Phonemes Allophonas

/p/ [p] voiceless bilabial stop
/pdlta/ 'avocado' [pdltA]

/pIAta/ 'money' [plAtA]

/espera/ 'wait' [esper.]

/sApo/ 'frog' [sapO']

/t/ [t] voiceless dental stop

/temporAda/ 'period of time' [tempori4a]

/futdro/ 'future' [futrro]

/6tra/ 'another' [6tra]

/k/ [k] voiceless palatal stop

before high front vowel

/kfnwa/ 'quinoa' [tfnwa]

/kisydra/ 'I would like' [kisydra]

/adkirido/ 'acquired' [aR4irfio]

[k] voiceless velar stop


/kaf4/ 'coffee' [kafd]

/p6rke/ 'because' (p6rke]

/maraketa/ 'loaf of bread' [maraketA]

/b/ [b] voiced bilabial fricative
after a vowel within a phonemic phrase

/.4-be/ 'key' -[+be]

/labaka/ 'the cow' [la1hkA]







voiced bilabial stop


/kAlbo/ 'bald' [kAlbo]

/kdrba/ 'curve' [kdrba]

voiced dental fricative

after a vowel within a phonemic phrase

/ladaga/ 'the dagger' [ladA4a]

voiced dental stop


/kaldo/ 'broth' [kdldc]

/mandaste/ 'you sent' [mandastE]

after a vowel within a phonemic phrase

before high front vowel

/la gitAra/ 'the guitar' [la itd-a]

voiced velar fricative

after a vowel within a phonemic phrase

/ladaga/ 'the dagger' [ladAga]

/agwa/ 'water' [-gwA]

voiced palatal stop

before high front vowel

/lasgindash 'the cherries' [lasgindas]

voiced velar stop


/gdma/ 'eraser' [g6rmA]

/tdngas/ 'may you have' [t&9gas]

Phonemes Allophones

// ?] voiceless palatoalveolar affricate

/Eanto/ 'pig' [IEaO]

/6~o/ 'eight' [60]

/f/ [f] voiceless labiodental fricative

/f6ko/ 'light bulb" [f6dkO]

/esfdra/ 'sphere' [esfdra]

/xdfe/ 'boss' [xIfE]

/s/ [z] voiced apico-alveolar grooved fricative
before voiced consonant

/ECsme/ 'piece of gossip' [tEzme]

[s] voiceless apico-alveolar grooved fricative


/sAlga/ 'leave' [salga]

/kAsa/ 'home' [kAsA]

/polftikos/ 'politicians' [politikOs]

/r/ [R] voiceless palatoalveolar retroflex

assibilated fricative

/pero/ 'dog' [p6RO]

[r] voiced palatoalveolar retroflex
assibilated fricative

/i sa/ 'race' [~rsA]

/ser~do/ 'closed' [serFio]

Phonemes Allophones

/x/ [x] voiceless palatal fricative

before high front vowel

/xirAfa/ 'giraffe' [*irAfA]

/axf/ 'hot pepper' [aff]

[x] voiceless velar fricative

/xab6n/ 'soap to wash clothes' [xab6n]

/exdmplo/ 'example' [ex6mplo]

/sdnxa/ 'ditch' [stxzA]

m [m] labio-dental nasal

before labio-dental consonant

/emfdrmo/ 'sick' [emf4rmo]

[m] bilabial nasal


/muxdr/ 'woman' [mux4r]

/y4ma/ 'eggyolk' [y6mA]

/n/ [n] dental nasal

before dental consonant

/d6nde/ 'where' [ddnde]

[n] palatoalveolar nasal

before palatoalveolar consonant

l/nEa/ fans(s' [IMA]

-In La Paz Spanish distinction is made between [xab6n] 'soap to wash
clothes' and [xabonsflo] 'bar of soap for bathing.



palatoalveolar retroflex nasal

before palatoalveolar retroflex consonant

/unr6ble/ 'an oak tree' [uir6ble]

velar nasal

before velar consonant

/sfnko/ 'five' [sifk0]

alveolar nasal


/n6Se/ 'night' [n6dE]

/kinas/ 'grey hairs' [kanas]

/pensar/ 'to think' [pensar]

/koras6n/ 'heart' [koras6n]

palatal nasal

/fita/ 'small-nosed' [iatA]

/puinte/ 'fist' [pupntE]

/uixitAno/ 'a gypsy' [ufiitdno]

dental lateral

before dental consonant

/soltero/ 'bachelor' [solte4ro]

/soldado/ 'soldier' [soldado]

alveolar lateral


/1'ee/ 'milk' [145E]
/xala/ 'pull' [xald]


Phonemes Allophones

/-/ [1] palatal lateral
/4.,ma/ 'llama' [.-mA]

/amar-io/ 'yellow' [amarf-o]

/w/ [w] labial median resonant
/wdwa/ 'baby' [wAwA]

/fwdrte/ 'strong' [fw4rte]

/xdwla/ 'cage' [xawIlA]

/y/ [y] palatal median resonant

/y6lo/ 'ice' [ydlO]

/bydrnes/ 'Friday' [bydrnes]

/r4yna/ 'queen' [rdynA]

/r/ [r] alveolar flap

/trfste/ 'sad' [trfste]

/koras6n/ 'heart' [koras6n]

/muxer/ 'woman' [muxdr]

ii/ [i] high front vowel

/fnca/ 'fan(s)' [iA]J

/dfas/ 'days' [dfas]

/beni/ 'come' [benf]

/e/2 [E] voiceless mid front vowel

unstressed final position following

voiceless consonant

2The phoneme /e/ includes various non-discreetly scattered phones
between higher, tenser [e] and lower, more lax [~1 Their distribution
cannot be specified. However, the lax [r] seems to predominate.

Phonemes Alluphones

/l66e/ 'milk' [1l6E]

/katdrse/ 'fourteen' [kat6rsE]

[e] mid front vowel


/ex4mplo/ 'example' [exmp lo]

/kaf6/ 'coffee' [kaf4]

/a/ [A] voiceless low central vowel

unstressed final position following

voiceless consonant

/p6ka/ 'little (fer.)' [p6kA]

/pdpa/ 'potato' [pdpA]

[a] low central vowel

/aka/ 'here' [akA]

/papA/ 'father' [papa]

/u/ [u] high back vowel

/ustddes/ 'you (pl.)' [ust6des]

/futdro/ 'future' [futdro]

/nandd/ 'ostrich' [Eandd]

lo/ [0] voiceless mid back vowel

unstressed final position following

voiceless consonant

/Alto/ 'tall' [altO]

/mIco/ 'a lot' [mdGO]

Phonemes Allophones

[o] mid back vowel


/olbidArse/ 'to forget' [olbi+ArsE]

/k6n/ 'with' [k6n]

/yd/ 'I' [y6]

Deletion and Devoicing of Vowels

Vowels in the La Paz dialect are most interesting for the quality

changes they frequently undergo. The deletion or devoicing of mid and

low vowels commonly occurs in unstressed syllables. This same phenome-
non has been recorded for other areas of the Spanish-speaking world.

In La Paz Spanish as well as in the other cases, the environment that

most favors deletion or devoicing is that of preceding voiceless con-

sonant and following Is/ (i.e., /vl. C- s). In the environment of a

voiced consonant the occurrence is infrequent but has been recorded.

These vowel quality changes are occasionally found in word-medial posi-
tion, however, they generally occur in the word-final syllable.

Deletion and devoicing seem to occur more frequently in rapid speech,

though are not limited to it. Devoicing, for example, is heard in some

3 P
The dropping and devoicing of vowels have been recorded in areas
of Argentina, Colombia, Ecuador, El Salvador, Mexico and Peru. See Lope
Blanch 1963; Canellada and Zamora 1960; Boyd-Bowman 1953 and 1960; Res-
nick 1975.

Lope Blanch (1963), Canellada and Zamora (1960).and Henriquez Ureia
(1921) offer [pots] 'Potosf' as an example of deletion in Bolivian
Spanish. My principal informant devoices the second /o/ of 'Potosi' in
rapid speech but does not delete it.

forms elicited in isolation. In slow, deliberate speech, fewer vowels

are reduced. There is also a tendency for vowels in the emphasized

word of a statement not to be deleted or devoiced. For example:

[los dikOs estdn xdntos]
'The boys are together.'

[6sOs sapdts kestdn xdnts me gdstan]
'I like those shoes that are together.'

The devoicing and deletion phenomena are not consistent in the

speech of my informants, as will be seen in the various examples through-

out this paper and in the appended texts. Some tend to delete or devoice

vowels regularly and others do so only occasionally. This difference

in my informants is evidently not attributable to level of education or

age or 'rusticidad'. Findings of Mexican studies (Canellada and Zamora

1960; Lope Blanch 1963) show that these phenomena are found in every

social class. Further investigation of the speech of all strata of La

Paz society is needed to determine whether the same is true there.

However, from the wide range of frequency of deletion and devoicing

among my informants who all consider themselves more or less of the same

class, it appears that this vowel quality phenomenon does not divide

along class lines.

The two grades of vowel quality change discussed here will be
represented as follows:

a) devoicing of the vowel will be marked by the upper case letter

as in:

[IleE] milkt

Lope Blanch (1963:5) divides the phenomenon into four degrees of
devoicing, ranging from simple relaxation to apparent complete disap-
pearance of the vowel. His categories are not clearly enough defined
nor is my transcription consistent enough for me to make such fine-
line distinctions.

b) for deletion, the vowel will be omitted entirely as in:

[estams] 'we are'

According to my data the large majority, though not all, of the

deletions occur before /s/. When /s/ does not follow, vowel devoicing

tends to take place rather than complete disappearance of the vocalic

element. Examples of devoicing will now be presented, followed by

examples of deletion.

[e] -. E









[o] 0





[a] -> A This reduction does not occur as

devoicing of /e/ and /o/.

[ kAsA]





'a lot'



frequently as does the



'palm tree'

'little' (fern.)

According to the study of vowel dropping in Mexico done by Lope
Blanch (1963:17), the most frequent quality change is undergone by the
mid vowels /e/ and /o/.

/i/ and /u/ seldom occur in word-final position in Spanish.


[bastA~ts] 'a lot'

[kam6ts] 'infatuated'

[I ts] 'before'

Io] -A

[dsts] 'these' (masc.)

[kwdnts] 'how many' (masc.)

[xdnts] 'together' (masc.)

[a] -

[6sts] 'these' (fern.)

[kwAnts] 'how many' (fern.)

[xdnts] 'together' (fer.)

The deletion or devoicing of vowels in La Paz Spanish is a common

occurrence. We have seen that the same or a very similar phenomenon is

found in other regions of Spanish-speaking America, far from the area

where Aymara is spoken. Therefore, we cannot point to the Aymara sub-

stratum as the principal factor influencing vowel quality change in La

,Paz Spanish. Nonetheless, it is likely that the Aymara substratum may

have a reinforcing effect, considering that one of the characteristics

In one such occurrence in my data, the final /i/ did devoice.
[ -dsl] 'Rosie'
Van Wijk (1961:54) refers to the phenomena of /e/ and /o/ realized as
/i/ and /u/ respectively in Bolivian speech. In my data for native
Spanish speakers I find no such realizations. It must be pointed out
that Van Wijk's study refers to the Spanish of bilingual speakers, spe-
cifically that of native Aymara speakers taken from a novel about miners
by Guillen Pint6, called Utama. It seems reasonable to assume that such
speech will show interference from the phonology of the native language,
especially in this case, where Aymara distinguishes only three vowel pho-
nemes, in contrast with the five vowel phonemes of Spanish. This is per-
haps the feature that most marks the non-native Spanish speaker in La Paz.

of the Aymara vowel is that it may be easily dropped or devoiced. I

cite Martin (1975:40) on the subject of Aymara vowels:

[regularly] sentence-final vowels are devoiced after
voiceless consonants. Word-final vowels which are
retained in sentence-medial position because of morpho-
phonemic reasons will also devoice if occurring between
two voiceless consonants.

This description seems to closely parallel my observations of the Spanish

vowels. Clustering of consonants in Aymara is also very common. In

fact, one type of consonant clustering in Aymara results from morpho-

phonemic vowel dropping which is a result of suffixation. Considering

the parallel in La Paz Spanish it appears that this may be an example

of selective reinforcement from the substratum. A portion of an Aymara

text has been included in an appendix for comparison. It will be noted

that while of the three vowels that devoice or drop in La Paz Spanish,

the /a/ is the most resistant, the /a/ is the vowel that most undergoes

such quality changes in Aymara. This is probably due to the fact that

it is by far the most common phoneme in Aymara (Martin 1975:45). It

would appear that if the substratum language reinforces the deletion

and devoicing of vowels in La Paz Spanish, it does so as regards the

process itself, rather than the identity of the vowels in question.

Vowel Clusters

Certain vowel clusters in the La Paz dialect tend to undergo break-

age of the hiatus and become an accented vowel followed by a glide.

Syllabic reduction results. When the vowels of a cluster are identical,

the tendency is to reduce to a single vowel, except in verb forms where

the hiatus is maintained when the second vowel is accented. Navarro

Tomas (1945) considers all the following voel cluster phenomena as within

the realm of Spanish phonology and Zamora Vicente (1960:312) claims that

switch in accent from the second vowel to the first is found in Spain as

well. Nevertheless in terms of reinforcement it is interesting to note

that in Aymara no two different vowels may occur in succession.


The hiatus between the vowels of this cluster is maintained in noun


[mais] 'corn'

[pals] 'country'

[parafsO] 'paradise'

In the case of past participle forms the hiatus is broken.

[kaydo] 'fallen'

[trdydo] 'brought'

[kAydas de gobydrno] 'falls of government'

The hiatus between the vowels of the cluster /e/ is maintained in

infinitive forms such as:

[refr] 'to laugh'

however, in the past participle form, the hiatus is broken.

[engrdydo] 'conceited'

[ly4do] 'read'

[r6ydo] 'laughed'


This cluster does not maintain the hiatus between the vowels in any

case in my data.

[dwra] 'now'

[sanAwrya] 'carrot'

Two adjacent identical vowels reduce to one in most cases.

[alk61] 'alcohol'

[asrr] 'orange blossom'
(This is a homophone
with 'fate')

[koperati~a] 'cooperative'

[kre] 'he/she believes'

When a geminate vowel cluster occurs in a verbal form, wire the second

of the two vowels is accented, the hiatus remains.

[ledr] 'to read'

[kredmos] 'we believe'

Then again in verbal forms where the vowel pair /ee/ is not accented on

either vowel the process [ee] -- [ey] takes place.

[kesekreyrA] 'who does he think
he is?'


The group /yi/ becomes [i] in medial position creating hiatus

between the /i/ and the preceding vowel.

[arofto] 'little stream'


The La Paz dialect is one of consonantismo firm. While vowels may

devoice or drop completely, consonants nearly always retain their

strength. In some respects the consonantal system is very conservative.

This is consistent with Canfield (1962 and 1964) where it is shown that

some dialectal features of American Spanish are determined by the accessi-

bility to influences from the Mother Country. The theory holds that late

16th century features of Andalusian Spanish are retained in areas of

least commerce: Guatemala, Mexico, Costa Rica, Chile and the interior

areas of Colombia, Ecuador, Bolivia, and Peru. Seventeenth century

traits of Andalusian, which are:

a) loss of intervocalic /4/

b) loss or aspiration of syllable final /s/

c) /1/ /r/ confusion

d) velsmo

are exhibited in the rest of Spanish America. In the La Paz dialect,

lleismo is maintained, as is the syllable final /s/. There is no /1/

/r/ confusion. The intervocalic /4/ is often weakened in rapid speech,

but is never lost. There always seems to be some audible friction


The following are the major consonantal peculiarities of pronuncia-

tion that I observed. All of these, nevertheless, have been observed

in other areas of the Hispanic world, though not all together in this

same configuration.


The allophonic distribution of /b/, /d/ and /g/ is the same. The

fricative allophones [6], [.&], [(], occur after a vowel within a pho-

nemic phrase. The stops [b], [d], and [g] occur elsewhere. It should

be pointed out that in these fricatives of the La Paz dialect there is

a greater degree of constriction than in other dialects of Spanish, to

the extent that they often sound like stops. But, sonogram tests have

shown that there is, indeed, slight friction.

As is general in the Spanish-speaking world, the stops occur in

phrase-initial and post-nasal positions. Canfield (1962:68) observes

that in Central America, Colombia and parts of Bolivia the stops [b],

[d] and [g] also occur after /s/ /r/ and /1/, giving a staccato effect.

This is verified in my data for La Paz. In many other regions the stops

fricativize after these three consonants.

Examples of the allophonic variations follow:

[4] [alrelbs] 'backwards'

[laberda] 'the truth'

[b] [lazbdkAs] 'the cows'

[kIlbo] 'bald'

[kdrba] 'curve'

[.] [dd4o]


[d] [ddzde]



In absolute final position the alveolar stop is

in more rapid speech.

[d-] [s6sped"]








'left-handed woman'

unreleased or dropped









With one exception, the bilabial stops of
cultos do not disappear. The voiced bilabial

the voiceless bilabial stop /p/ is maintained.

seems to be pronounced with definite occlusion












the so-called grupos

stop /b/ devoices and

Even intervocalic /p/

as in [sopipo] 'slap'.

'to observe'







'I accept'

The voiceless dental stop /t/ remains voiceless when it occurs

before /1/, /m/, /n/.


[ ritmo]


The consonant group [ks] is nearly always

of my primary informants seem to take pride in




maintained. In fact both

their retention of the

There is one exception. As in much of the Spanish-speaking world,
there is no /b/ in [oskdro] 'dark' or its derivatives.

velar stop. However, in very rapid speech [eks] may occasionally

become [es], as in many other dialects (Zamora Vicente 1960:310).

[leksy6n] 'lesson'

l[eksAxtO] 'exact'

[eksplikar] 'explain'


The phoneme /x/ has two realizations, the most common of which is

velar. The other allophone is palatal [f and is conditioned by a fol-

lowing high front vowel. Resnick (1975:2) has divided American Spanish

according to pharyngeal and velar varieties of this phoneme. Bolivia,

most of Mexico and all of southern South America are included in the

latter variety. It is found initially, finally and intervocalically as

well as before a nasal and before a voiceless stop. The pharyngeal

aspirate, found in the Caribbean area, does not occur in the La Paz


[xavier] 'Javier'

[rel6x] 'watch'

[kdxA] 'box'

[ixnordntE] 'ignorant'

[maxnifikO] 'magnificent'

[indixnO] ''unworthy'

[perf4xt0] 'perfect'

[kardxter] 'character'

[kordxt0] 'correct'

Resnick (1975:283) notes the Western and Southwestern Bolivian [s]

as "apicodental redondeada". The [s] of my principal informants appears

to be more of an apicoalveolar grooved fricative. In rapid conversation

it tends to voice when followed by a voiced consonant.

The /s/ is one of the most noticeable characteristics of the speech

of La Paz.' I have encountered no cases of its aspiration and only one

case of its deletion:

[t6do_ los dfas] 'everyday'

Otherwise, the /s/ is maintained in all positions. It is rather strongly

whistled, especially in final position, where it is often prolonged.

This prolongation may be due in part to the above-mentioned vowel dele-

tion which frequently occurs in the environment of /s/. For example:

[mdGs k6ss] 'many things'

[beyntsiiksinkwentsdys] '25.56'

This process has been recorded for highland Spanish in Ecuador and Peru

by Boyd-Bowman (1953:226) and described by the same author (1960:35) for

the Mexican Altiplanicie as follows:

The Mexican s, always long and high pitched, (and even more
so at the end of a word) brings about the devoicing of the
already reduced vowel and in certain cases assimilates it
completely. It seems that all vowels may be assimilated
except the a which is more resistant. Although voiceless
stops favor the absorption of the vowel by the s (which
then frequently undergoes a compensatory lengthening),
the phenomenon also occurs between s and another voice-
less consonant, and even between s and a nasal or an 1.
Between two s the deleted vowel seems to remain only as
a light and very short relaxation of the sibilation with- 9
out stopping or devoicing that sibilation. (My translation)

9La s mexicana, siempre larga y de timbre agudo, (y mis todavia en
final de palabra), provoca el ensordecimiento de la ya abreviada vocal
y en ciertos casos la asimila por complete. Parece que todas las voca-
les se dejan similar menos la a que se muestra mas resistente. Aunque
las oclusivas sordas favorecen mas la absorci6n de la vocal por la s (la
cual sufre con frecuencia un alargamiento compensador) el fen6meno se da
tambidn entire s y otra consonants sorda, y hasta entire s y nasal o 1. En-
tre dos s la vocal perdida queda al parecer como un ligero y brevisimo
relajamiento de la sibilaci6n, sin que .sta deja de ser continue y sorda.

As was previously noted in the vowels section, in the rapid speech of La

Paz this process may extend even further, to vowels which follow any con-

sonant, as seen in the following examples. Note that in La Paz, as opposed

to what Boyd-Bowman claims for Mexico, the /a/ also deletes.

After voiced stops:

[tusabs] 'you know'

[ust64s] 'y'all'

after fricatives:

[kdss] 'things'

after nasals:

[estdms] 'we are'

Except for one case which occurred during very rapid speech (Appendix A,

Text 1, line 3), it seems that if a liquid precedes a vowel, then the

vowel devoices but does not delete.

[nos6trOs] 'we'

[bdrlOs] 'see you'

Devoicing or deletion of the final unaccented vowel is characteristic

of the La Paz dialect. Since /s/ occurs so frequently in final position

in Spanish, and the preceding vowel regularly drops or devoices, the

resultant post-consonantal whistled /s/ is a predominant dialectal feature.

Canonical forms and rhythm unusual for Spanish result from this process.

Mention should be made of the often heard fps) which has also been

recorded in Ecuador (Boyd-Bowman 1953:232) and Mexico (Lope Blanch 1963:

17; Canellada and Zamora 1960:233).

[pwes] 'well, then, so'


These forms are both commonly employed in La Paz speech, depending on

the degree and type of emphasis desired.10

/r/ An assibilated apicoalveolar fricative has been recorded for Guate-

mala, Mexico, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia and Chile, and the prov-
inces of Alava, Navarra and Aragon in Spain. In most of the sources

that mentioned this sound, it was compared to the palatoalveolar sibilant

[*] of English and French. However, this is not the precise sound I hear
from my informants or tapes. The assibilated /r/ of La Paz is retroflex.

Boyd-Bowman (1953:226) describes the assibilated [r] of highland Ecuador

as "formada entire el Apice y los alvdolos y bastante parecida a la s

apicoalveolar castellana." Reference to the Castilian /// with regard

to the assibilated [r] hints at retroflexion. However, this is not

definitely stated.

Resnick (1975:34) describes the sound as "very similar to the normal

American English retroflex r," when not assibilated. He lists Bogota;

Valle Central de Costa Rica; Valle de Mnxico; Azuay, Ecuador and several

places in the Dominican Republic as having this prepalatal r (1975:193).

It is important to note that among my informants it is always assibilated.

There are no occurrences of the standard trill [I]. Rather, in my data,

the voiced and voiceless assibilatad forms [r] and [R] occur in free var-

iation, though the voiced form seems to be more common especially in
initial position.

See the section on suffixes in Chapter II.

lFor further detail see Canfield 1962:87-89; Map VII, Resnick 1975:
34-35; 193-199, and Zamora Vicente 1960:330.

12The same phenomenon has been recorded in Mexico (Lope Blanch 1967).
Canfield (1962:13) describes the fluctuation of this sound in general
where it occurs in the Americas as follows: "Por su part la rr asibilada,
no tenida tampoco en la misma consideracidn que la vibrant y variable
entire modalidades de asibilaci6n y des-sonorizaci6n mas o menos acusadas,
carece igualmente de uniformidad y estabilidad en sus propias zonas."

In my data the assibilated /r/ seldom occurs in word final position

or in consonant clusters, The unassibilated single flap generally

occurs in these positions, including the [tr] cluster, which is often

assibilated in other areas of Spanish America that have the assibilated
v 13

[muxer ]





'to receive'

[s~ygre] 'blood'

[pondre] 'I'll put'

[trds tristes tires] 'three sad tigers'

The assibilated form will occur following a consonant, but only in

syllable-initial position.

[6ISRA] 'honor'

[el rrdo] 'the tail'

It is interesting to note that in Mexico, the use of the assibilated

/r/ is not consistent. That is, it is a case of some do and some don't;

and those who do, don't always (Lope Blanch 1967:7). It has also been

suggested that the assibilation is limited only to women (Canfield 1962:

88). In my data for La Paz, the retroflex assibilated /r/ is used by

all informants, male and female. Variation occurs between voiced and

voiceless forms, but there is no variation with the multiple vibrant /*/,

which is simply not present.

/--/ The La Paz dialect is eminently ilefsta as evidenced by the follow-
ing distinctions:

See Resnick 1975:30, Index 14 and Canfield 1962: Map VII. Note
that my data differ from Canfield's map as to the assibilation of [tr].




'he/she shut up'
'he/she fell'
'bathing suit'


The phoneme /4-/ occurs in Aymara also, as distinct from /y/ and /1/.

According to Van Wijk (1961:68) in the Hispanic world the /+/ is almost

exclusively conserved in the bilingual regions of Quechua, Aymara, Gua-

rani and Mapuche influence. /+/ is part of the phonemic systems of all

except Guarani where it does not occur. It seems reasonable to assume

that the maintenance of /+/ in the La Paz dialect of Spanish points to

reinforcement by the Aymara substrate.

There is no [ly] vs. /+/ confusion, just as [ny] and /i/ are clearly

distinguished from each other:

familyy] 'family'

[si-a] 'chair'

[kinydntOs] '500'
[anexO] 'vintage'

/m/ and /n/ The La Paz dialect is conservative with regard to nasal

consonants. As seen in the following examples,

assimilation in nasal clusters occurs:




Final nasals before pause retain their alveolar



See Yapita alphabet, Appendix B.

little deletion or


'to get'





However, the nasal group /nm/, where the first segment is part of a

prefix, becomes [im] as in:

[koymlgo] 'with me'

[igmortal] 'immortal'


All phonetic variation of the La Paz dialect from the "standard"

can be explained as examples of maintenance of archaic Spanish forms

or of processes that parallel tendencies in other areas of the Spanish

speaking world. "Consonantismo firee" final vowel deletion or devoicing,

the reduction of vowel clusters and the maintenance of /4/ all appear

to be related to a greater or lesser extent to Aymara, the indigenous

language spoken by a large percentage of the population of La Paz. These

processes or sounds occur in Aymara. To explain these phenomena as

results of substratum influence alone, however, is telling half the story,

since the phenomena are also found in areas of the Hispanic world where
Aymara has never been spoken. It would be more reasonable to assume

that the substratum has reinforced specific parallel characteristics

For example, retroflex assibilated /r/ has been recorded in other
areas of the Hispanic world. Malmberg attempted to explain the Mexican
assibilated /r/ as a case of Nahua substratum influence, but this was
easily refuted since /r/ does not exist in Nahua phonology (Lope Blanch
1967:19). Likewise, such an explanation for the /r/ in La Paz Spanish
is out of the question since no retroflex sound or assibilated /r/ exist
in Aymara Martin 1975:25, 35).
The /V/ may be part of an evolutionary process described by Cardenas
(1958). The theory is that the /r/ (found in New Mexico, Jalisco, Gua-
temala, Costa Rica, Bogota, highland Ecuador, Paraguay, Chile, Western
Argentina, Arag6n, Navarra and Rioja [Cardenas 1958:409-4121) is a prob-
lem of the internal pattern of Spanish in the development of Latin
geminate clusters into palatal sounds. Whereas 11 has become /-f/ and
nn has become /h/, rr has retained its multiple quality. The /r/, then,
is a resultant stage of present Spanish tendency toward symmetry.


of the Spanish introduced into the region during the Conquest or that
it has reinforced evolutionary tendencies within Spanish phonetics,

resulting in the specific phonetic configuration described in this


For phonological studies, the importance of historical investiga-
tion into the social and political conditions over the centuries and
into the peninsular origin of the settlers of a particular area of
Spanish America is stated by Canfield (1962:61): "hay indicios de que
las zonas linguisticas correspondent en muchos casos al origen peninsu-
lar de los numerosos contingentes de sus primitives pobladores espa-
foles, tanto como a condiciones pollticas y sociales a raiz del esta-
blecimiento de los virreinatos coloniales, pero sobre todo a etapas
histdricas de la evoluci6n f6nica."



In dealing with salient morphological and syntactical features of

La Paz Spanish, I have divided my discussion into four main sections:

Tense: Time and Aspect; Pronouns; Suffixes; and Isolated Features.

The last category encompasses some of the miscellaneous individual

characteristics found in La Paz speech and, in most cases, in certain

other dialects of American Spanish.

For the benefit of the reader, I have eliminated the phonological

transcription of the evidence in these sections and have substituted it

with standard orthographical script.

Tense: Time and Aspect

In this section, I shall attempt to delimit the tense usage of La

Paz Spanish with relation to time and aspect. For classification and

terminology I have relied a great deal upon the Rallides (1971) study

of the tense/aspect system of verbs in the Spanish of Bogota, Colombia.

Though there are some major differences in the past tenses, the Bogota

dialect offers similarities of usage for comparison with the usage of

verb tenses in La Paz.

Rallides (1971:11-13) divides time into past (i.e., the speaker's

recollection of events); future (i.e., the speaker's anticipation of

events) or present (i.e., the period between the past and the future

which includes the moment of utterance).

I accept Rallides' division with one basic exception. I suggest

that a more fitting interpretation of time in Spanish would show a

primary division into past and non-past. Non-past could then be divided

into present and future subdivisions. The major division on the Spanish

time line falls at the point in time of the act of speech. The time

categorization of an action or an event depends on whether it has

occurred or not at the moment of speech. The statement that time in

Spanish can initially be divided into three basic categories encounters

its undoing in the simplest of sentences, where time specific markers

are not found. If, for example, the following three simple tense forms

are compared:

Te llamd.

Te llamo.

Te llamard.

it becomes clear that the principal distinction between them is that the

first indicates that an action has already occurred, and the second and

third indicate that an action is yet to occur. With regard to time,

a clear-cut difference between the meanings of the present and future

tenses is not evident at this level; whereas the distinction in meaning

between non-past and past time is immediately clear. The basic classi-

fication of non-past can only now be subdivided into present and future.

Aspect concerns the speaker's point of view. This implies whether

the speaker conceives of the event being discussed as part of an open

or closed context; whether there is an extended or an indefinite period

of time, etc. It will be seen that subjectivity plays an important role

here. Use of a specific tense cannot be rigidly defined nor consistently

predicted. Much depends on the speaker's attitude toward the event under

discussion and on the relative time position--in the eyes of the speaker--

to the events mentioned in the same context.

Future Time

There are four forms in common use in La Paz Spanish which indicate

that an event will become reality after the moment of speech, or the

intention that such should take place.

As in other dialects of Spanish, the simple present tense can be

used to imply futurity:

Nos vemos manana.

'See you tomorrow.'

Te llamo por la tarde.

'I'll call you in the afternoon.'

In certain cases it seems to be necessary to specify time to avoid

confusion with the immediate present, however.

Me voy manana.

'I'm leaving tomorrow.'

Me voy.

'I'm (in the process of) leaving.'

The present tense form also implies the future when it occurs as an

interrogative of consultation, as in the following examples;

LNos vanmos?

'Shall we go?'

This example would more likely be used with a sense of immediacy,
as the act is about to take place. Ambiguity seems to be avoided by
the use of the present progressive for the immediate moment of speech,
as in:
Me estoy yendo.
'I'm leaving (this very minute).'

gLe llamo?

'Shall I call her?'

LLos esperamos?

'Shall we wait for them?'

Future time can occasionally be expressed by the form haber de +

infinitive, though this use is not as commonly employed to express future

time as are the other forms mentioned in this section. The haber de +

infinitive form is found in interrogatives of consultation, as in:

LQud me he de poner?

'What shall I wear?'

ZQud nos han de decir?

'What will they say to us?'

Both the simple future tense form (-Vrd, -Vrds, -Vrd, etc.) and the

ir a + infinitive form may simply indicate an event that occurs following

the act of speech, with little apparent aspectual significance. But more

often than not, the former implies uncertainty, the latter certainty.

In the sentence that follows, for example, the indication is one of

certainty of writing a letter, but uncertainty as to whether the often

untrustworthy mails will deliver it.

Quisiera decirte muchas cosas pero las voy a contar por
carta que recibirds juntamente con el cassette.

'I want to tell you many things but I'll tell you in a
letter that you should receive along with the cassette.'

Another commonly heard example of the aspectual distinction is:

'I'll probably go but I can't be sure.'

Voy a ir.

'I'll definitely go.'

A similar case can be seen in:

Va a hacer sus tareas.

'He is going to do his homework.'

Hard sus tareas.

'He'll probably do his homework.'

In the second example, the implication is that the speaker is not quite

sure that the action will take place.

The ir a + infinitive construction is employed when the message is

to show certainty or confidence. For example:

Cualquier idea que tengas va a ser buena.

'Any idea you have will be good.'

Te prometo a vos tambidn que voy a seguir estudiando.

"I promise you, too, that I will keep on studying.'

The uncertainty that accompanies the simple future tense form can

be seen in the following comments on plans for a trip projected nearly

a year into the future, the real possibilities of which seem unlikely:

Estard allA para Navidad ... no te defraudard ... ya me
tendrAn al lado de Uds. por una larga temporada.

'I'll be there for Christmas (probably) . I'll not
(try not to) disappoint you . you'll (probably)
have me at your side for a long time.'

That uncertainty is implied with the use of the simple future form is

further exemplified by the expression of uncertainty in the commonly


gQud horas serdn?

'i wonder what time it is?'

Serdn las ocho?

'It must be about 8.'

According to Hardman-de-Bautista, Vdsquez and Yapita (1975:191),

the Spanish future tense form is perceived as a dubitative by Aymara

bilinguals. They employ it when they would use the Aymara inferential

or suppositional forms. However, the aspectual distinctions discussed

above are not peculiar to the Spanish of La Paz, but rather are general

throughout the Spanish-speaking world. Any correlation with the sub-

stratum could only be considered in terms of reinforcement.

Present Time

I had anticipated a heavy usage of the estar + gerund form to express

present time. Its unusually frequent usage was noted by Kany (1945b:238)

for Ecuador, Peru and parts of Chile, and was suggested as a possible

example of indigenous substratum influence. In my data there are few

occurrences of the gerund forms. It must not be overlooked that much of

my data is taken from tapes. Sense of immediacy, which would be expressed

by the gerund form, does not perhaps arise under taping circumstances

as it might within the local context. Statements on the usage of the

present progressive estar + gerund form will therefore have to await

further study.

Past Time

The boundaries of the past tense forms are not easily defined,

because usage appears to be more dependent on the subjective view of

time of the speaker.

In general, the preterite form (-d, -Vste, -6, etc.) applies to

events that occurred previous to the act of speech and are now consid-

ered history. The present perfect form (he + -Vdo, has + -Vdo, etc.)

is also used in expressing an event that occurred previous to the act

of speech, but its usage does not relegate the event to history; rather

it gives it present relevance. The principal difference between the

two tenses is context, whether closed or open (Rallides 1971:28-29).

With the present perfect, the speaker links the event in question to

the present context; therefore the context remains open.

Forms that I elicited during analysis, with the time-specific marker

ayer, were almost consistently compound present perfect forms such as:

He tenido much que hacer ayer.

'I had a lot to do yesterday.'

Ha hecho sus tareas ayer.

'He did his homework yesterday.'

Se ha puesto sus nuevos lentes ayer.

'She wore her new glasses yesterday.'

Though English does not permit the application of the present perfect

tense to definite past time, it is quite possible in Spanish, as out-

lined by Rallides:

What happens subjectively is that when stating an event in
the recent past or in the past where the larger context of
time is not enclosed within a clear historical period . .
the speaker does not wish to enclose the event within the
past, even though he may state the definite occasion of the
event. He thus neutralizes the closed nature of the event
by using the 'open context' morpheme of the verb (Rallides

To illustrate, I will present the following portion of a narrative in

which the events, even those that happened in a short matter of time,

are finished. The present perfect tense is employed showing that,

from the point of view of the speaker, the context is still open.

Immediacy is emphasized.

Aquf verano es un asco. Esta lloviendo todo el tiempo.
Ha habido inundaciones. La Mazamorra se ha llevado dos
niios quienes se han muerto dice. Es un lio.

'Summer is a mess here. It's raining all the time. There
have been floods. The Mazamorra River carried away two
children that have died they say. It's a mess.'

The events referred to in the above example have finished, yet the tense

forms employed appear to indicate that the speaker does not yet consider

them part of history. The events are still of present relevance.

The preterite forms do not appear at all among forms that I elicited.

However, there are many occurrences of the preterite in texts.

When relating events that occurred previous to the act of speech,

and when a time marker is specified, the preterite tense form is

employed. For example:

El viernes encontr6 su primer laurel.

'On Friday he got his first award.'

El otro dia fui a la piscina.

'The other day I went to the swimming pool.'

Ayer salieron en el peri6dico.

'They were in the newspaper yesterday.'

El viernes nos fuimos toditos al cine.

'On Friday we all went to the movies.'

Yet, the deciding factor is clearly not the presence of a time-specific

marker, for the same markers found in the examples above also occur with

the present perfect forms as in the following examples:

For discussion of dice see the section on the non-personal
knowledge usage of dice and the pluperfect tense in this chapter.

ZSabes que me han hecho hacer ayer?

'Do you know what they had me do yesterday?'

El otro dia he recibido el poster que me has mandado.

'The other day I received the poster you sent me.'

Yo y Marcelo nos hemos arreglado el otro dia.

'Marcelo and I got back together the other day.'

In his study on Bolivian speech, Kany (1947) notes that there is

a definite preference for the present perfect tense where the standardly

preferred preterite would be used. He continues:

Its constant use here is so striking to the visitor that more
emphasis might be placed on it and more examples given (Kany

The complexity of the problem of distinguishing the parameters of the

usage of the two past tenses increases as examples from conversation show

occurrence of both tenses in seemingly the same time context. It becomes

clear that the speaker's point of view (i.e., aspect) regarding time is

a determining factor in the choice between preterite and present perfect

forms. The speaker may regard one event within the context of speech

as earlier in time than another, or, perhaps later in time than another,

but of greater relevance to the present as far as he/she is concerned.

A portion of a text will now be considered in order to clarify this point:

El otro dia he recibido el poster que me has mandado. Me lo
han entregado despuds de un mes. Kiko lo recibi6 hace mAs
de un mes pero lleg6 con much retraso. No he visto los otros
pero el que me ha tocado me gusta bastante.

'The other day I received the poster you sent me. They delivered
it to me after a month. Kiko received it more than a month ago,
but it arrived late. I haven't seen the others, but I like the
one I got very much.'
This passage refers to several posters which were sent to La Paz months

prior to the act of speech. One was delivered to the speaker via the

mentioned Kiko, who received them after a long delay in the mails. In

reference to the poster as it relates to the speaker directly, the

present perfect tense is employed. Even though the poster was sent

months earlier, because it is now in her possession, the event of send-

ing the poster has present relevance. Thus it is relegated greater

proximity to the present and the present perfect form is used. The

phrase No he visto los otros implies that the context is still open,

because the speaker might see them yet.

The preterite tense occurs when the speaker is relating events that

took place previous to her receiving the poster. And, these events

happened to another person, not to the speaker. They are relegated to

history and that context is considered closed.

Another example of the use of the preterite for indicating closed

context and the present perfect for indicating open context is the fol-

lowing sentence:

Se casd en Cochabamba y creo que ha sido tambidn a la fuerza.

'He got married in Cochabamba and I think he had to.'

The first event already took place and is no longer of present relevance

to the speaker, whereas the second implies an open context, since it is

still awaiting verification.

La Paz Spanish speakers are not unique in the Hispanic world for

their inclination toward the usage of the present perfect tense for

expressing the recent past. The form is very widely used in much of

the Peninsula (Rallides 1971:29). Yet, as pointed out in the Kany quote

cited earlier, the frequency of its use in the Spanish of La Paz is note-


On an autobiographical tape of one of my elder informants, a curious

question arose with regard to usage of the preterite and present perfect

tenses. The speaker employed the present perfect forms throughout the

tape, with few exceptions. My inference is that either the present

perfect forms are considered to be better rhetorical style, or that

this informant's subjective view of time includes all of the past, from

his birth to the present, as open context and of present relevance. My

speculation is motivated by the following examples of use of the present

perfect tense:

He nacido en el 1900 ... desde la edad de 3 o 4 anos he
comenzado con el Aymara.

'I was born in 1900. Since the age of 3 or 4 I began
with Aymara.'

Mi padre fue perseguido politico ... le han hecho perder
lo poco que ha tenido ...

'My father was a political fugitive . they made him
lose the little that he had . '

El gobierno de Arze le ha clausurado el colegio y no se
sabe que es lo que han hecho con el colegio porque no
le han entregado ni un solo centavo a mi padre.

'The Arze government closed the school on him and it is
not known what was done with the school, because they did
not turn over a cent to my father.'

In the preceding section I presented the hypothesis that the distinc-

tion between the preterite and present perfect tenses is aspectual,

dependent upon the speaker's view of the context, whether open or closed.

The above examples may open a discussion of the speaker's world-view

or the possibility of a particular rhetorical style. I stress that only

in the speech of this one informant are present perfect forms applied

to such remote past cases. He speaks of events related to his father

(who passed away long ago), employing the present perfect tense.

According to the hypothesis of aspectual distinction, the implication

is that he still considers the subject as part of an open context, that

is, of present relevance. His birth and the act of beginning to learn

Aymara, both seemingly events of definite time and non-extended dura-

tion are also discussed in the present perfect. With respect to this

question, it is important to consider the Aymara world-view--especially

their concept of time--and to speculate as to possible influence on the

speech of this informant, as opposed to the others who do not know Aymara.

The Aymara divide time into future and non-future. The future is

perceived as behind one, unseen (Hardman-de-Bautista, Vasquez and Yapita

1975:16). The past and present are at once visible, before one's eyes

as a unit. In the apparent over-use of the present perfect in the text

from this elderly informant, it could be that his nearly consistent use

of the present perfect tense reflects the Aymara concept of time. That

is, all of the past is still considered as part of an open context which

continues to the present. If age is the deciding factor in the use of

only present perfect, the way is open for conjecture as to the amount

of Aymara influence that is to be found in the Spanish of bilingual

speakers or in the speech of native Spanish speakers from the times when

the Hispanic sector of La Paz was bilingual. Conjecture is all that is

possible here. The case demands more sfudy and more examples for com-

parison. The tendency to employ present perfect forms may reflect only

a particular rhetorical style.

'Dice' and the Pluperfect Tense

Dice que or dizque is a common construction throughout the Spanish-
speaking world. La Paz.Spanish shows frequent use of the construction

3Evidently digue, dicer. que and se dice que were quite frequent in
old Spanish and even in the classical period. Today they are still used
in parts of America and Spain (Kany 1945b:246). However, all of these
precede what is going to be said. In La Paz Spanish, dice often follows,
as an addendum marking indirect knowledge.

dice que, as well as the alternate forms dice and dicen in sentence-

final position. These constructions imply a meaning similar to the

English 'they say.' The Spanish usage may well be reinforced and extended

in distribution by influence from the Aymara substratum in which data

source, i.e., personal vs. non-personal knowledge, is specified (Hardman-

de-Bautista, Vasquez and Yapita 1975; Hardman-de-Bautista in press).

The personal/non-personal knowledge distinction is a very important Aymara

concept, which indicates whether or not the information given is first-

hand or heard through others. Siw, the third person aorist form of the

verb saiia 'to say' is used in the reportive construction in Aymara.

It is a non-personal knowledge form.

Lorensox usutaw siw.

Dice que Lorenzo estA enfermo.
Lorenzo estA enfermo dice.

'They say Lorenzo is sick.'

The occurrence of dice in final position apparently marks the pre-

ceding information as non-personal knowledge. The speaker imparts

information, and then qualifies the remark with the final dice, as if

to say no me consta, which is another common expression of La Paz speech

that means more or less 'I haven't seen.' Several examples are pre-

sented below to clarify its usage:

Estaba enojada en la clase dice.

'(They say) she was mad in class.'

Se puso a renegar dice.

'(They say) she started spouting off.'

Le han dado tres becas dice.

'(They say) they gave him three scholarships.'

A more quantitative analysis of the frequency of dice in final position

will have to await observation on the local scene. Nevertheless, it

appears that there may be a correlation between the distribution of

dice, i.e.', commonly in sentence final position, and the common Aymara
reportive form siw 'she/he/they say.'

The common occurrence of dice que, dice or dicen in La Paz speech

appears to reflect the data source postulate of Aymara, which is such

an integral part of the language. Arguments in this direction are sup-

ported by one usage of the pluperfect tense in La Paz Spanish which will

presently be the focus of this thesis. Linguistic postulates are defined

by Hardman-de-Bautista as:

Recurrent categorizations in the language which are most
directly and most tightly tied to the perceptions of the
speakers, those elements which, while language imposed,
are so well imposed that speakers consider them just
naturally part of the universe (Hardman-de-Bautista in

Hardman-de-Bautista goes on to say that postulates are so close to native

speakers that they are not easily perceived, and may remain important

in the adoption of another language. Such appears to be the case with

the Aymara data source postulate which manifests itself in La Paz

Spanish. Its importance is felt in the pluperfect tense which will now

be considered.

The standard pluperfect tense (habia + -Vdo) occurs in the speech

of La Paz with the meaning that an event occurred before another event;

that is, past with respect to the past (Rallides 1971:13).

4Kany (1947:200) notes the common tacking on of diciendo to the end
of a quoted phrase in Bolivian Spanish. I have heard this usage in the
speech of Aymara/Spanish bilinguals. It apparently parallels the Aymara
forms sasaw or sasin 'saying' from the verb sana 'to say,' which occur in
the same contexts as diciendo. However, I have not recorded this occur-
rence in the speech of native Spanishl speakers who know no Aymara.

Lo botaron de Bolivia cuando yo no habia nacido.

'They threw him out of Bolivia when I still had not been born.'

LComo ibamos a seguir politicos cuando ya habiamos visto
el ejemplo?

'How were we going to be politicians when we had seen the

The above meaning is expressed by the pluperfect tense in sequential past

time constructions where the habia + -Vdo marks the more remote of the

past events.

In La Paz Spanish the pluperfect form (habia + -Vdo) is also employed

in non-sequential constructions as the only verb form of the utterance.

It expresses the aspect of surprise and non-personal knowledge upon

encountering an unknown, or something seen for the first time, or some-

thing that occurred without one realizing it. The meaning of this usage

is that the event occurred in the past with respect to the present, or

in the past with respect to the moment when the speaker becomes or became

aware of the event. The speaker had no personal awareness of the event

until after it occurred. The following examples will be translated to

the closest English equivalent in order to clarify the usage of this

pluperfect form:

A ... un pals civilizado habia sido asi.

'So . a civilized country is like this, is it?'

Habias estado trabajando fuerte.

'You have been working hard! '

iTe habias casado!

'You got married! (and I hadn't heard)

Habfa sabido hablar Aymara muy bier..

'It turned out he dijd knew how to speak Aymara very well.'

Tu lo habias hecho.

'So you did it.'

Habfan sabido fumar.

'They do smoke.' (I just found out.)

Kany makes mention of a similar surprisal aspect, but only with the

pluperfect tense form of the verb ser:

Interesting is the popular use of the pluperfect habfa sido ...
in the sense of a present or imperfect indicative to express
surprise or admiration: habia sido usted! 'So it's you!'
(Kany 1945b:166).

Kany very unclearly relates the form to the construction ha de ser. He

suggests that since ha de ser expresses a future idea, habia de ser could

express the feeling of a present. The usage is cited for Argentina

where it is supposedly most prevalent, and also Uruguay, Bolivia, Peru

and Ecuador. But this construction is referred to only in relation to

the verb ser.

After a subsequent visit to Bolivia, Kany (1947:197) extends his

description of the pluperfect surprisal form for this country to other

verbs, not only ser. As can be seen in the above examples, the plu-

perfect construction of surprisal aspect is not limited to the verb ser

in La Paz Spanish. It is used with any verb when the sense of surprise

or non-personal knowledge is expressed.

Through use of the pluperfect tense form (habia+ -Vdo), distinc-

tion is also made between conscious action and accidental or unintentional

action, and between something witnessed personally and indirect knowl-

edge. Examples of these distirltions are given below for consideration

in contrast with present perfect forms that imply awareness of the event

at the time it occurred. Non-personal knowledge at the time of the

occurrence of the event and subsequent surprise are reflected in the

pluperfect form.

Me habia cortado mi dedo.

'Oh, I cut my finger!' (I hadn't realized.)

Me he cortado mi dedo.

''I cut my finger.'

Me habia dormido.

'I accidentally fell asleep.'

Me he dormido.

'I took a siesta.'

Me habia traido esta puntabola.

'Oh, I accidentally brought this ballpoint pen with me.'

Me he traido esta puntabola.

'I intentionally brought this ballpoint pen with me.'

Se habia puesto a renegar.

'She got mad.' (So they say; I didn't see it.)

Se ha puesto a renegar.

'She got mad.'

An interesting example to further clarify the usage of the pluperfect

can be taken from the speech of children. When they know they have

done something wrong, but want their parents to think they were unaware

of their actions, they will employ habia + -Vdo. One anecdote recounted

to me was of a young girl who was instructed not to go downstairs to

play with the other children until her father returned home. Unable

to resist temptation, however, she did go down, only to be confronted by

her father shortly thereafter. In all innocence she offered the excuse:

"Me habia bajado." In this way she washed her hands of personal respon-

sibility for her actions much like in the English expression: 'The devil

made me do it.'

It appears that the aspectual use of the pluperfect in La Paz

Spanish outlined above is a case of Aymara substratum influence on the

distribution of usage of habia + -Vdo in the dialect. In Aymara, the

near and far remote tenses are used to express events long-gone-by. The

pluperfect tense in La Paz Spanish and standard Spanish is also used in

sequential constructions to indicate a farther removed past. In standard

Spanish its usage ends there. In La Paz Spanish the distribution of the

pluperfect has been extended to non-sequential constructions where its

meaning corresponds to that of another function of the near and far remote

non-personal knowledge tenses of Aymara, namely the surprisal, indirect

knowledge notion (Hardman-de-Bautista, Vasquez and Yapita 1975:188).

These tenses are marked by the suffix -tayna, as in the following examples:


Aqui habfa estado.

'So here it is!'

Illiman q'ipaxfn ikjatayna.

Se habia dormido detrds del Illimani.

'He fell asleep behind Mt. Illimani (they say).'

Aymar parlan wal yatitayna.

Habia sabido hablar el Aymara muy bien.

'He does speak Aymara very well.' (I just found out.)

In the Aymara grammar, Hardman-de-Bautista, Vasquez and Yapita (1975:189)

point out that virtually all bilinguals (Aymara/Spanish) believe that

the Spanish pluperfect tense form reflects non-personal knowledge. It

seems that even in the speech of monolingual La Paz Spanish speakers,

the distribution of the pluperfect tense is quite parallel to the Aymara

remote non-personal knowledge tenses.

Sequence of Tenses

Perhaps the first feature of La Paz Spanish which called my atten-

tion as different from the "standard," was the lack of agreement in

some sequences of tenses. The prescriptive grammars of standard Spanish

state the following tense correspondence (Seco 1954:211):

In the main clause In the subordinate clause

present or present perfect present or present perfect

preterite (imperfect subjunctive
(pluperfect subjunctive

future present or present perfect

According to these guidelines, the imperfect or pluperfect subjunctive

must be employed in the subordinate clause if a preterite form is found

in the main clause. Despite its name, however, the imperfect subjunctive

may express a sense of past, present or future (Seco 1954:70). The


Te dije que vinieras.

may mean:

Te dije que vinieras aver.

Te dije que vinieras hoy.

Te dije que vinieras manana.

It is the tense of the main clause, rather than the sense of time which

determines the tense of the subordinate clause according to prescriptive

grammar. However, it is noted by Seco (1954:211), that in actual usage

there is greater freedom by which the sense of the sentence rather than

the tense of the verb in the main clause, determines the tense of the

verb in the subordinate clause.

In La Paz Spanish the pattern of present perfect in the main clause

and present subjunctive in the subordinate clause holds true to the

sequence pattern specified above:

Me ha dicho que no vaya.

'He told me not to go.'

Nos han pedido que vayamos.

'They asked us to go.'

However, when the preterite tense form occurs in the main clause, the

present subjunctive is employed in the subordinate clause as follows

when referring to a non-past event:

Le dije que venga.

'I told him to come.'

Me dijo que le llame.

'He told me to call him.'

This is a deviation from the standard pattern where the imperfect sub-

junctive would be used after a preterite tense in the main clause.

A similar example in which the standard would prescribe the imper-

fect subjunctive, but where the La Paz Spanish speaker chose the present

subjunctive form, is the following:

5Seco (1954:211) points out that adherence to rules of sequence of
tenses is not rigid in coimnon usage: "No es precise tomar muy al pie de
la letra la correspondencia de tiempos. La sefalada en los dos esquemas
anteriores es la normal en el idioma; pero no significa que en la prac-
tica no haya libertad para otros usos, exigidos por las necesidades de
la expresi6n en cada caso."

Yo creo que seria riquisimo que Uds. tambidn nos hablen
por cinta.

'I think it would be great if you spoke to us by tape too.'

What is involved here, in these deviations from the standard, is

that more concern is given to the concept of time than to the adherence

to grammatical rules of tense. The imperfect subjunctive is considered

to be of past time meaning, and therefore not appropriate to an event

that is not yet relegated to history. What is essential to note for

the La Paz dialect is that after a preterite tense form in the main clause,

the verb form employed in the subordinate clause is preponderantly the

present subjunctive.

The imperfect subjunctive forms occur in subordinate clauses when

referring to a past event, and in contrary-to-fact constructions in this

dialect. In these forms the -ara, -iera endings are employed rather than

the -ase, -iese forms.


Subject pronouns are rarely heard in La Paz Spanish. They are

employed for reasons of emphasis or clarity when there is no doubt as

to the identity of the subject. Person 'is marked in the verb endings.

This is the general case in the Spanish language.

El pronombre sujeto no se emplea en espaiol mas que en
casos especiales de enfasis, a causa de la claridad con
que se han conservado las desinencias del verbo. (Gili
y Gaya 1946:117).

In my data the nominative pronoun of most common occurrence is

ustedes which is apparently marked out of courtesy to the addressees,

as opposed to persons who are not present and therefore not marked by

the pronoun. Ustedes is also specified in cases where there might be

ambiguity as to whether the subject is ustedes, ellos, or ellas.

Personal Pronouns and Possessive Adjectives
in La Paz Spanish



Second familiar

Second formal

Third masculine

Third feminine


First inclusive

First exclusive


Third masculine

Third feminine













mi, mfo -a

tu, tuyo -a
tu (de vos)

su, de usted

su, de 41 (suyo -a)

su, de ella (suyo -a)

de nosotros, nuestro -a

de nosotros, nuestro -a (mi)

su, de ustedes (suyo)

su, de ellos

su, de ellas

*Parentheses indicate that the form is of infrequent or limited use.

Nosotros as nominative sometimes implies a first person plural exclusive,

i.e., speaker (+ family or group) and not addressee. If inclusion

of the addressee is implied or if inclusion or exclusion is clearly

implied through the context, the nominative form is usually omitted and

only the verb form marks first person plural. The voseo occurs infre-

quently in the contexts available in my data. With vos the standard

second person singular verb forms are used. The imperatives, however,

regularly correspond to the voseo form which is a reduction of the second

person plural imperative.

The possessive adjective system is characterized by an apparent

preference for the (de + pronoun) form in most persons. Also, there is

a tendency to specify the possessor of body parts by use of possessive

adjectives where in most other dialects definite articles are used.

The most outstanding characteristics of the pronoun system in La

Paz Spanish will now be presented in greater detail with specific examples

from my data.


Usage of the voseo and its corresponding verb forms is an effective

measure for discriminating dialect zones (Resnick 1975:8, 40-41). There

is wide variation of the second person singular familiar in American

Spanish, ranging from exclusive use of the voseo and its verb forms, as

in Buenos Aires, to use solely of the tuteo and its corresponding forms,

as in Lima. This difference is thought to correspond to lesser and

greater intensity of contact with the mother country (Montes 1967:22)

much like the correlation of phonological variation in American Spanish

to 17th century change in Andalusian Spanish. The voseo spread especially

in outlying regions, away from the Viceregal centers of the Colonial Era.


Today it is the familiar form of address in more than half of Spanish

America (Canfield 1964).

In the dialect of La Paz Spanish under examination here, the situa-

tion of the intra-group usage of second person singular familiar is part

of what has been called the "lucha entire voseo y tuteo"; the conflict

between the voseo and the tuteo. The voseo in Bolivia has been described

as follows by Kany:

We may say that Bolivia presents a mixture of tx_ and
vos forms but that the following predominate: vos +
singular verb in urban speech and voss plural verb in
rural regions. However, the forms are comparatively
infrequent; and when they do occur they are not nearly
so consistent as they are in most of Argentina and Chile
(Kany 1945b:73).

This description, as far as it refers to urban speech, is quite

applicable to the speech of the speakers I have been observing. The

following examples give evidence of the mixture of td and vos when addres-

sing the same person:

Tid hablas frances ... quisiera que vos le digas a tu mama ...

'You speak French . I'd like you to tell your mother .. .'

Todos se acuerdan much de vos. Siempre hablan de ti.

'Everyone remembers you. They always talk about you.'

However, the two second person singular familiar forms do not occur in

complementary distribution or free variation. Rather, vos could be

considered a subset of td.

It is important to note the difference between intra-group and
inter-group usage. My data refers only to inter-personal speech within
the same social sector. The vos may carry quite different implications
when used by my informants when addressing members of other sectors,
if vos occurs at all between members of different sectors. Statements
as to the overall occurrences of vos in La Paz must await investigation
within the local context.

The expression "amigos de td y vos" offers an insight into the

usage of the two forms in La Paz. Reference is made to persons of

confidence and intimacy with whom both address forms td and vos may be

employed. The limiting factor which indicates greater intimacy is the

vos. The distribution of the formal usted and familiar td forms is quite

rigidly governed by cultural dictates, whereas the use of vos is a sub-

jective matter used to show special esteem or affection toward the person

being addressed. It would appear that the occasional, sparing use of

vos gives added emphasis to the marking of the addressee as a member of

the group considered "close" by the speaker.

I have heard vos employed in the following personal interaction:

sibling <-4 sibling
close friend<-->close friend
parent --> child
wife -->husband
grandparent<--) grandchild

Evidently, usage of vos is not limited to peer group, but rather by a

certain degree of intimacy with members of the same social sector.

There are three major types of verb form that accompany the voseo
in America:
a) The standard second person singular verb form (e.g., La Paz):


Stress is marked here for purposes of comparison.
Variations extend to other tenses and moods in other regions. For
the purposes of this section, these are not included, since the verb
forms employed with the voseo and with the standard tuteo are identical
in La Paz. Kany (1945b:55-92) offers paradigms and further description
of usage in the various countries where the voseo is found.
Kany (1947:194) states that in Bolivia the present indicative form
of ser is often sois. The region is not specified, but he must be
referring to the speech of Eastern Bolivians.

b) The archaic second person plural verb form (e.g., rural



c) Reduction of the archaic second person plural verb form (e.g.,

Rio de la Plata, Central America):


In this dialect of La Paz Spanish all conjugated verb forms of the

second person singular familiar correspond to the tuteo verb form.

Therefore forms ending in -dis, -dis, -is, or -as, -ds, -is do not occur.

On the other hand, the second person singular familiar imperative

corresponds to the archaic second person plural imperative form, with

loss of the final /-d/ (e.g., hablad -4 habla).

-ar verbs

habla ps 'go ahead and talk'
sentdte 'sit down'
cerrd la ventana 'shut the window'
contame 'tell me'
queddte quieto 'sit still'

-er verbs

com6telo 'eat it up'
vendeme 'sell it to me'
convenceme 'convince me'
cred~e 'believe me'
ol01o 'smell it'

-ir verbs

peddle 'ask him/her'
of 'listen'
sentilo 'feel it'
dormite 'get some sleep'
seguf nomas 'go ahead'

The imperative forms of several irregular core vocabulary verbs do

not adhere to the pattern just described. Their short imperative forms

correspond to forms found in exclusively tuteo dialects.

hAzlo 'do it'

dime 'tell me'

p6ntelo 'put it on'

sal 'leave'

ven 'come'

One reason this dialect is considered to be in conflict between

voseo and tuteo is exemplified by the alternative familiar imperative

forms of the verbs salir and venir, which occur in free variation:

ven~ veni 'come'

sal-- sali 'leave'

It will be interesting to watch the speech of La Paz for possible ten-

dencies toward wider use of the voseo and the voseo verbal forms, as a

result of the recent influx of Cambas (eastern Bolivians) into the high-

land capital. The usage of voseo in Santa Cruz is similar to that of


As pointed out earlier, rarely do td or vos occur as subjects. When

they are found as such, they are apparently used for emphasis:

Td, entiendes francs, nosotros no.

'You understand French, we don't.'

Ahora estoy de jefa, lo que eras rd cuando estabas aqui.

'Now I'm the leader, like you were when you were here.'

Vos haces siempre esas cosas.

'You always do those things.'

Vos will more commonly occur as a vocative or following a preposition:

Y vos, iqud estis hacienda por ahi? ZPor qud no te
pones a trabajar?

'And you, what are you doing over there? Why don't
you get.to work?

Y vos, Lquieres mas caf6?

'And you, do you want more coffee?'

iYa pues, habla voss

'Come on now, talk.'

Se acuerdan much de vos.

'They remember you often.'

Como te gusta a vos.

'Just as you like it.'

The vocative che is not considered proper speech and its use is

discouraged by parents. Nonetheless, it occurs on occasion with

imperatives. Its function seems to be to call the attention of,

or demonstrate irritation with the addressee, similar to the English


iHabld ps, che, habla!

'Hey, come on, talk!'

iChe, no hagas eso!

'Hey, don't do that!'

It has been shown that for intra-group communication in the La Paz

dialect under examination, the voseo is used as an alternate form of

td for purposes of especially familiar address to an intimate person of

confidence. Vos replaces the subject form t6 and the prepositional

form ti. The object form remains te, and the possessives tu, tuyo or

de vos. The standard second person singular familiar verbal forms

remain unchanged. The imperative, however, consists of a reduced form

of the second person plural imperative.


There seems to be an occasional differentiation between inclusive

and exclusive first person plural in La Paz Spanish, that has not, to

my knowledge, been described.

In the Spanish of the middle ages, the distinction was made between

nos inclusive (speaker others + addressee) and nosotros exclusive

(speaker+ others addressee) (Gili y Gaya 1946:116). Gradually noso-

tros overtook the nos form and became the only subjective form. It

remains to be determined whether the inclusive/exclusive distinction was

still maintained in the Spanish of the first settlers of La Paz.

Currently in the La Paz dialect being examined here, nosotros may

function as a marker of exclusion of the addressee. This can be seen by

comparing the meanings of the following utterances:

Cuando ustedes lleguen, nos vamos.

'When you arrive, we'll go (together).'

Cuando ustedes lleguen, nosotros nos vamos.

'When you arrive, we'll go (and you'll stay).'

Yet, in other cases, exclusion and inclusion are not marked by the

presence or absence of nosotros. Whether or not the addressee is

included is clear from the context. Out of context, however, there is

often ambiguity as to whom nosotros and/or the first person plural verb

form refer to. The utterances from my data which follow, for example,

are ambiguous out of context.

Ustedes saben que siempre juntos dramos la plaga.

'You know that together we were always unbeatable.'

Nosotros tenemos que hacerlo.

'We have to do it.'

Ya somos buenos amigos.

'We're good friends.'

It is also interesting to note that the possessive adjective mi can

be employed in reference to the first person (plural) exclusive, as in:

En mi casa hablamos ast.

'In our house (not yours) we speak that way.'

In fact, whenever mi is used with the first person plural verb form, it

implies exclusion of the addressee, not singularity. This is true of

other dialects of Spanish as well. The form nuestro -a, on the other

hand, is ambiguous. However, in La Paz Spanish, the usage of mi is not

consistent. Nuestro or de nosotros may also be used in the case cited


The occasional usage of nosotros and mi as markers of exclusiveness

in the La Paz dialect may result from substratum reinforcement. The

inclusive/exclusive distinction is an essential feature of the Aymara

person system. In Aymara there are four persons, which are not number


naya (na) speaker included, addressee excluded

juma addressee included, speaker excluded

jupa both addressee and speaker excluded

jiwasa both addressee and speaker included

The suffix &nakaj may occur on substantive roots to indicate plurality,

but its absence does not indicate singularity (Hardman-de-Bautista,

Visquez and Yapita 1975:15). In Aymara, then, the inclusive fourth

person is jiwasa; its corresponding possessive suffix is [-sa The

exclusive first person marked for plural is nanaka; its corresponding

possessive suffix is fxa .

jiwasan utasa 'our house (yours and mine)'

nanakan utaxa 'our house (not yours)'

It does not seem unreasonable to suggest that the occasional use of

nosotros and mi as markers of exclusion may correspond to the exclusive

naya (nanaka) and (-xaj in Aymara.


As in the rest of American Spanish, the second person plural voso-

tros does not occur in La Paz speech, except when mocking Spaniards for

humorous effect, or during verb conjugation in castellano classes in

school. The corresponding second person plural verb form has also dis-

appeared as have os and vuestro. Ustedes is the only plural of td, vos

and usted in use in La Paz and all of American Spanish.

Possessive Adjectives

An interesting characteristic of the possessive adjectives is their

interchangeability with the possessive construction de + pronoun. The

latter is apparently a frequent alternate usage in all persons except

first and second person singular where the possessive forms de mi and

de ti occur, but are rarely used. The form suyo almost never occurs.

For example:

Son amigos de nosotros.
Son nuestros amigos.

'They're our friends.'

Soy amigo de l1.
Soy su amigo.
'I am his friend.'

are alternate forms, and are all acceptable. However, the sentence:

Soy amigo suyo, sounds very unnatural. The frequent usage of de + pro-

noun for possessive constructions is common throughout Spanish America

(Zamora Vicente 1960:343; Kany 1945b:47-48; Marrocco 1973:172).

There are two possible alternatives for possessive constructions

referring to human body parts in La Paz Spanish, as opposed to one pos-

sible manner described in prescriptive Spanish grammars. For example,

in La Paz Spanish the sentence 'I wash my hands' has the following two


Me lavo las manos.

Me lavo mis manos.

Only the first form is found in standard Spanish, which prefers the
definite article when referring to parts of the body. Both forms are

heard among La Paz speakers, though the second is preferred. Similar

preference has been recorded for Mexico and Corpus Christi (Texas)

dialects (Marrocco 1973:171, 254), and in Quechua-speaking regions of

Bolivia (Herrero 1969:38). Due to the occurrence of this phenomenon in

other dialects of Spanish in America, speculation as to direct influence

from the Aymara substratum with regard to preference for possessive

adjectives in La Paz is not in order. Yet, because of the nature of pos-

sessive constructions in Aymara, it might be considered that the para-

llel substratum constructions have served as reinforcement.

In Aymara there are four personal possessive suffixes:

I-xaj first person

-ma} second person

9Gili y Gaya points out that while sentences with possessives like in
English (i.e., marking the thing possessed) are not incorrect, "se sien-
ten como pesadas por su redundancia" (Gill y Gaya 1951:214).


f-pa third person

-sa fourth person
These suffixes occur on the possessed substantive, marking it as pos-

sessed (Hardman-de-Bautista, VAsquez and Yapita 1975:248). An optional

suffix (-naJ may occur in conjunction with the personal possessive

suffixes. It occurs on the possessor substantive, marking it as posses-

sor. The four personal possessive suffixes, however, make up the
integral element of the possessive phrase. Two forms may result:

nayan amparaxa 'my hand'
(naya.na ampara.xa ('I-of hand-my')

amparaxa 'my hand'

(ampara.xa) ('hand-my')

The latter form is more frequently found, as the specified possessor

is usually omitted.

Comparing the most common usage, the possessive is found to mark:

the possessor in standard Spanish

the possessor and the thing possessed in La Paz Spanish

the thing possessed in Aymara

One could conjecture that merging of the possessive marking patterns

from both the dominant and substratum languages has taken place, as the

Aymara possessive form, which marks the thing possessed, has reinforced

the usage of a similar marking in La Paz Spanish.

Object Pronouns

Occasionally the object pronoun lo occurs in La Paz Spanish in such

a way that its function is not clear. It is found in sentences in which

Periods within a word denote morpheme boundaries.

there is a specified object. The lo would seem redundant, except

that there is apparently no gender agreement. Either lo or la sometimes

occurs with reference to a feminine object. When an inanimate object

is involved, lo may be employed, regardless of the grammatical gender

of the object, as in:

Me lo llevas esta carta.

'Take this letter for me, will you?'

HAzmelo esto.

'Do this for me.'

Me lo cierras la puerta, por favor.

'Please close the door for me.'

Me lo mueves el chocolate.

'Stir the chocolate for me, will you?'

When the object form is human, according to my data, there is always

gender agreement, as in:

ZMe la vas a llamar a Alicia?

'Are you going to call Alicia for me?'

Me lo saludas al Papi.

'Say hello to Dad for me.'

Kany points out that standard Spanish often uses a redundant indirect

object pronoun, as in Le doy el libro a Juan, and also, though less often,

a redundant object pronoun, as in Lo veo a Juan. This is accounted for

as follows:

"It is interesting to note that in my data the lo phenomenon occurs
in interrogative/imperative constructions. This may be due to the limited
contexts of my data. The frequent use of the prepositive beneficiary
indirect object me instead of 4ara mi is also of note in these constructions.


. a compensative striving for clarity in a language
in which exceedingly free word order and frequent sup-
pression of subject pronouns might tend toward obscurity
(Kany 1945b:116).

When the object is direct, the "redundant' usage of lo is said to be more

common in American Spanish than in Peninsular (Zamora Vicente 1960:344).

At the other extreme I have observed examples of the complete lack

of the object pronoun where standard Spanish would make reference to

an antecedent. Kany (1945b:115-117; 1947:195) also makes note of this

in his study of Bolivian Spanish. Several of his examples follow:

Yo he hecho.

'I did (it).'

--Aqui estAn los medicamentos.

--Y 4C6mo has traido?

'--Here is the medication.

--How did you bring (it)?'

In my data there are similar examples which might sound incomplete to

Spanish speakers from other areas:

Debido a mi trabajo he tenido que dejar durante estos
cuatro meses.

'Because of my work I've had to give (it) up during
the past four months.

--No tienen oregano.
--4No usan?

'--They don't have oregano.
--Don't they use (it)?'

&Has leido?

'Did you read (it)?'

In my data, the omission of object pronouns is limited only to direct

objects of the third person, and such usage is apparently preferred but

not consistent. Toscano Mateus (1953:203) notes that object pronouns

are sometimes omitted in some dialects of Ecuadorian Spanish. I have
found no mention of the phenomenon in other areas.


The particles pues, nomas, siempre and pero occur with great fre-

quency in La Paz Spanish. They are found in phrase-final position or

following the word they refer to. I have chosen to term them "suffixes"

because of their function in a sentence when they occur in postpositive

position. They have meanings which are difficult to define as individual

segments and are therefore better described as bound units which modify

the meaning of the word or phrase to which they are suffixed. As suf-

fixes, they usually occur unstressed, and do not occur in isolation. It

appears that in this area Aymara substratum influence has taken place

in La Paz Spanish. Suffixation is of utmost importance to the morphology

With relation to the anomalous use of the object pronoun lo and
the occasional omission of the direct object pronoun in La Paz Spanish,
it may be relevant to consider that Aymara verb inflections are inter-
actional, i.e., they imply both subject and object. The paradigm for
the aorist tense of the verb irpaia 'to bring,' for example, includes
nine different endings which correspond to different subject/object
combinations (Hardman-de-Bautista, Vasquez and Yapita 1975:186). Aymara
has four simple persons which combine as follows:
irpsma Ip to 2p
irpt"a Ip to 3p
irpista 2p to Ip
irpta 2p to 3p
irpitu 3p to Ip
irptam 3p to 2p
irpi 3p to 3p
irpistu 3p to 4p
irptan 4p to 3p
This differs from Spanish in which only the subject is implicit in the
verb ending. How and if there is any relation between the Aymara and
La Paz Spanish constructions in this case, however, remains to be

of Aymara and other Andean languages. I will attempt to show that it

is through the form and, more significantly, through the function of

the elements presented in this section, that suffixation, which is a

core feature of the substratum language, receives expression in the
dominant language.


Kany (1945b:392) claims that the conjunction pues occurs very fre-

quently in the familiar speech of Latin America. According to his

description, it is found both before and after the word or phrase with

which it belongs, though prepositive pues is more frequently the case

in standard Spanish. In La Paz speech, it appears that pues occurs only
in postposition. For example, in familiar conversation it is very

common to hear the following statement with pues:

Veni pues.

'Come on.'

Asi es pues.

'Well that's the way it is.'

Ya ps.


It is curious that Bertonio, a Jesuit priest who wrote the first
grammar of Aymara in 1603, entitled Arte y GramAtica muy Copiosa de la
Lengua Aymara, should have perceived the Aymara suffixes as particles.
He stated that the same particle could have different meanings depending
on the root with which it was joined (Briggs 1971:2).

Other regions where postpositive pues predominates are Guadalajara,
Mexico; Antioquia, Colombia; and Panama (Kany 1945b:393).

I have no case of the reverse order in my data.

Spanish pues has yielded several variant forms, two or more of which

may occur in the speech of the same individual (Kany 1945b:393). In

La Paz Spanish there are two forms in common use: pues and ps. The

latter reduced form has a strongly sibilant character and is recognized

as a distinctive dialectal feature by La Paz Spanish speakers themselves.

The precise meanings of the two forms are difficult to state, for the

semantic weight depends a great deal on the accompanying intonation.

It seems that at times both pues and ps serve the stylistic function

of softening a response, and the use of one or the other of the forms

is determined by the speed or emphasis with which the answer is spoken:

St ps. or St pues. 'Yes'

No ps. or No pues. 'No'

Rude, curt answers are avoided in this manner.

And yet, if extra stress is given to the forms si pues and no pues,

the afirmation or negation becomes more emphatic and conveys the meaning

of 'well, of course' or 'well, of course not,' often implying that the

speaker already had taken the aforesaid for granted.

Both pues and ps are found in imperative constructions also. Here

their function is avoidance of brusqueness. Again, the two alternative

forms seem to carry slightly different implications, Note the differ-

ence in the following series:

Andd! 'GoV'

Anda ps! 'Well, go on!' (slightly irritated)

AndA pues! 'Why don't you go on, please.'


Veni ps!

Veni pues!

'Get over here!'

'Well, come on.'

'Come on, won't you.'

The examples given above point to an apparent semantic distinction

between pues and ps. However, usage is not consistent, and the meaning

seems to be much more dependent upon intonation. As Kany (1945b:393)

says of p3ues:

It has various meanings of cause, result and other
relationships difficult to define, and in many regions
its frequent repetition has deprived it of all
significance, save that of its rhythmic and stylistic

In La Paz Spanish pues and ps are not easily defined. Their occurrence

may indicate a polite softening of the preceding word or phrase, or it

may reflect the speaker's attitude or mood.

Politive suffixes with functions similar to those of La Paz Spanish

pues are found in other indigenous languages of the Andes (Hardman 1966;

Parker 1969). A close parallel construction in Aymara can be seen in

the positive sentence suffix \-yal which is described as follows:

-ya marks a sentence as positive. It may soften a
command, call the attention of an addressee or request
attention for what one is saying (Hardman-de-Bautista,
Vdsquez and Yapita 1975:369).

I have no examples from La Paz Spanish of a request for attention. How-

ever, the other functions of pues are much the same as those described

for the Aymara -yaj ya} and pes occur frequently in imperative

sentences which present interesting parallels:

saram andd 'Go.'
saramay andA pues 'Why don't you go on,

Kany goes on to point out that it has been suggested that the exces-
sive use of pues is characteristic of familiar speech especially in the
Basque provinces, Navarra and Rioja in Spain, and in many Spanish-American
Vowel dropping is very common in Aymara. The most common allomorph
of {-yaJ is /-y/ (Hardman-de-Bautista, Vdsquez and Yapita 1975:371).

Janiy kulirasimtixa, Maruja.

No te enojes pues, Maruja.

'Come on, don't get mad, Marge.'

Of course by its very nature as a suffix (-ya| is postponed just as is

the La Paz Spanish pues.

The parallel between pues and -yal is further supported by the fol-

lowing description of the Aymara sentence suffixes:

They are extremely hard to translate, there being
no comparable category in Indo-European languages.
More often than not, where a translation is possible
it will be via intonation rather than with some
segmental form (Hardman-de-Bautista, Vdsquez and
Yapita 1975:365).

The Aymara sentence suffix may not be reflected in an English transla-

tion. However, I should like to postulate that the (-ya3 positive sentence

suffix of Aymara is reflected in La Paz Spanish by intonation and seg-

mental pues. The Aymara -yal suffix may occur on nouns, verbs or par-

ticles. Likewise, the La Paz Spanish suffixes pues or ps are found post-

posed to nearly all parts of speech. ps is even found suffixed to the

exclamatory particle iA! as in the negative exclamation IAps!

Briggs (1971:5) mentions that certain commonly used particles in

the Spanish of the Aymara substratum region appear to correspond to the

independent suffixes of Aymara. These occur very frequently and con-

stitute one of the salient characteristics of Aymara. The parallel

usage of the Aymara Independent suffixes t-ki, Epuni (raki and the

La Paz "suffixes" nomds, siempre, pero will now be examined. It should

be kept in mind that the function rather than the identity of these suf-

fixes is analogous. The particular elements compared here are fre-

quently, but not always, parallel.


Kany (1945a) has devoted an entire article to the anomalous nomds,

which he states is characteristic of American Spanish. The Real Acade-

mia's definitions of no mds as 'solamente' or bastaa de' are contrasted

with the "manifold connotations" of the locution in Latin America. Cit-

ings of nomds for Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guatemala,

New Mexico, Mexico, Peru and Venezuela attest to its wide use. Examples

are listed by Kany (1945a:73-76; 1945b:313-316) according to several
different functions, including the following:

a) as solamente

b) as a reinforcing suffix added to adjectives, adverbs

and other parts of speech used adverbially

c) as an emphatic suffixed to verb forms, especially


d) to round out a phrase

The first two categories (a, b) are said to be common to all of Latin

America. The emphatic function (c) is most frequently found in the

Andean and River Plate regions. The last usage (d) is mentioned only

for Peru and Ecuador, and is attributed 'to Quechua influence:

The frequent use of nomAs has weakened it and in some
cases deprived it of any real connotation. Its function
then is merely to soften a phrase. In some countries,
like Ecuador and Peru, this function of nomAs may have
become popular particularly because it could easily
assume the function of the Quechua lla (Kany 1945b:317).

In a grammar of Ayacucho Quechua by Parker (1969:73), it is mentioned

that (- :aI is often translated 'just' or 'only,' but is common in polite

speech where it is best left unstranslated. This seems to support Kany's

A prepositive nomas is also discussed by Kany, especially as
regards Mexico, but will be omitted here as nomds does not occur pre-
positively in La Paz Spanish.

statement about the relation of the usage of nomAs in Ecuador and Peru

to the substratum.

I would extend this claim to include La Paz Spanish usage of nomds,

which apparently parallels the Aymara I-kiJ suffix that functions much

as the Quechua [-ta. However, I would challenge Kany's classification

of nomAs usage. I suspect that what has been separated as a distinct

type of nomas--specifically (d) the softener with no real connotation--

I have included in the other three categories, all of which, in my esti-

mation, include a softening effect in La Paz Spanish. Perhaps nomas

seems to have no real connotation because it is not easily translatable

into English.

My data on the La Paz Spanish usage of nomAs includes the first

three function categories (a, b, c) noted above. NomAs occurs only

after a word or expression which it modifies, not before.

Examples of the functions cited above will now be presented along

with parallel Aymara constructions. This format will permit examination

of the correlation between the two suffixes: the Spanish nomns and the

Aymara limitative suffix -kij (Hardman-de-Bautista, Vdsquez and Yapita


a) solamente

Quiero unos tres nomas.

MR kimsak munt"a.

'I only want about three.'

Claro, como td nomAs ares gente.

Jumakixay jaqs tax.

'Sure, since you're the only human!'

b) reinforcement of adverbs and adjectives

bien nomas


'okay, fine'

ahf nomAs


'just there'

chiquito nomds


'just a small thing'

c) intensive emphatic, especially on imperatives

EntrA nomns.


'Come on in.'

EsperA nomas pues.


'Just wait.'

The parallel between the f-ki} limitative suffix and La Paz Spanish

nomns seems clear. Since the concern of this section is the function of

Spanish elements as suffixes, it will be emphasized that, as opposed to

usage of nomAs in Mexico and some other regions of Spanish-speaking

America, the La Paz usage of nomds is limited to the post-positive posi-

tion, i.e., only after the word it softens or modifies.


Besides the standard meaning of 'always,' siempre functions as an

emphatic expression in this dialect. As an emphatic, it occurs after

the elements whose meaning it modifies. Position in the utterance,

intonation and previous context are important in determining its partic-

ular meaning. It is not always easily translatable, since it may indi-

cate surprise, continued intent or various types of emphasis.

Aquf habia estado siempre.

'It is indeed here.'

Tengo que irme siempre.

'I have to go after all.'

Nos hemos olvidado siempre.

'We did forget after all.'

In interrogative constructions siempre, besides implying continued

intent, requests reaffirmation. In standard form this meaning would

most likely be indicated by Es cierto que or de veras at the beginning

of the phrase.

&Vamos a ir a Copacabana siempre?

'Are we still going to go to Copacabana?'

4EstAs decidido a casarte siempre?

'Are you still determined to get married?'

Siempre has been recorded in other dialects of American Spanish

with meanings similar to those given above (Kany 1945b:326-328; Zamora

Vicente 1960:347). It must be noted, however, that in examples from

other regions, siempre may occur initially, medially or finally. In La

Paz Spanish on the other hand, siempre seems to occur almost consistently

following the element it refers to. This difference leads me to suspect

that there might have been substratum interference on the distribution

of siempre in La Paz Spanish.

In Aymara there is an independent suffix 1-puni or (-pini which

is regularly translated in Spanish as siempre. It is an emphatic suffix

which indicates: surprise; that the speaker has not changed his intent,

that some'aspect of the situation deserves special mention or emphasis,

as well as other emphatic meanings (Hardman-de-Bautista, Visquez and

Yapita 1975:360). Its semantic function, then, can be seen to bear close

resemblance to the Spanish siempre.

What is significant is that {-puniJ, being a suffix, occurs after

the elements it belongs with in an utterance. Its nature as a suffix

and its identification with siempre because of analogous semantic function

appear to have influenced the positioning of siempre in La Paz Spanish,

as though it were a suffix. Similarly, though not coincidentally, Herrero

(1969:41) cites a Cochabamba usage of siempre which is the "semantic echo"

of the emphatic Quechua suffix (-puni}.


The particle pero is often found at the end of a phrase or sentence

in La Paz Spanish, rather than at the beginning, as in standard Spanish.

No me gusta, pero.

'I don't like it, though.'

LVas a tomar caf6, pero?

'You are going to have coffee, though?

No lo vas a hacer, pero, Zverdad?

"You're not going to do it, though, right?'

At times, pero seems to correspond to the Aymara objector suffix


Aymar parlxaraktasa.

Ya hablas Aymara, pero.


-raki) has several functions in Aymara which are not analogous to the

usage of pero in La Paz Spanish. Of the four parallel Aymara/La Paz

Spanish suffixes dealt with in this section, the correspondence between

-rak and pero is the least recognizable and the most tenuous.

Nevertheless, the important point here is the unusual usage of pero

in final position. In most parts of the Spanish-speaking world, pero is

found in phrase-initial position only, as prescribed in standard Spanish

grammars (Bello and Cuervo 1941). In highland Bolivia, Peru and Ecuador

it commonly occurs in final position. According to Kany this occurrence


probably due to postposition of particles, prepositions
and other parts of speech in Aymara and Quechua (Kany

The "particles, prepositions and other parts of speech" are most likely

suffixes in Aymara and Quechua. Indeed according to my data it appears

that the postpositioning of pero--as well as siempre, nomas and pues--

may be accounted for as likely examples of substratum influence in La Paz


One aspect of the La Paz Spanish usage of pues, nomas and pero which

strengthens the argument that their occurrence reflects Aymara substratum

influence, is the ease with which they combine in sentence final posi-

tion. In Aymara, as in other Andean languages, several suffixes may

combine according to order rules to express different shades of meaning.

In like manner in La Paz Spanish, nomds, pues and pero can be found in

various combinations at the end of an utterance; mainly imperative utter-

ances. It is significant that there also appears to be patterned order,

although the order of occurrence in La Paz Spanish does not directly

correspond to Aymara structure. The three Spanish "suffixes" occur alone


or in combination of two or three. In combination, it appears that the

order of occurrence is fixed as follows:

nomas / pues / pero

It has been pointed out that there is not necessarily a one-to-one cor-

respondence between the Spanish and Aymara constructions. However, for

purpose of illustration, I have chosen the following series in which there

is rather close parallel correspondence between the Spanish and the Aymara





Andd pues.


'Why don't you go on please.'

Andd nomas pues.


'Go right ahead.'

Double suffixes are common in imperatives, though they are occa-

sionally found in other constructions as well. Three combinations can

be found: pues pero, nomas pues, and, more rarely nomas pero. Examples

of each combination are presented below, with the nearest English equiva-


Mirdla ps pero.

'Will you look at her.'

Sentate pues pero.

'Come on, sit down.'

Of pues pero.

'But come on, listen.'

AsT nomas ps eres.

'That's the way you are.'

Esperd nomas pues.

'You'll just have to wait, I guess.'

Entrd nomas pues.

'Come on in.'

Los dos nomas pero.

'Only the two of us, though.'

Hasta ahi nomas pero.

'Only that far, though.'

The triple suffix combination apparently occurs only with certain

imperative verb forms. Such occurrences are quite rare. The exact limi-

tations of usage have not yet been determined. Several examples will be

given below with an attempt at capturing their meaning in English trans-


Dile nomAs pues pero.

'Why don't you go ahead and tell her.'

Hazmelo nomas pues pero.

'Come on, do it for me, won't you?'

The parallels between certain Aymara suffixes and the postpositive

La Paz Spanish pues, nomAs, pero and siempre which have been described

above, demonstrate tentatively that there is correlation in function.

Nevertheless there are many situations and examples where one of the

above-mentioned Aymara suffixes occurs and there is no trace of it in

the Spanish translation. The reverse is also true. There is not, then,

a clear one-to-one correspondence. Nevertheless, it appears that the

La Paz Spanish usage of postpositive pues, nomas, pero and siempre is a

case of Aymara substratum influence as regards frequency and distribution

of the standard Spanish particles. What is of utmost importance, is that

the grammatical process itself--such an integral feature of the Aymara

system--has penetrated and been incorporated into the speech of native

Spanish speakers in La Paz.

Isolated Features

There are various features characteristic of the La Paz dialect of

Spanish which do not fit in the preceding three sections. Though all of

these features differ from the standard, most of them occur generally

throughout American Spanish, or at least in specific regions of Spanish-

speaking America. They will be presented briefly below, with several


Definite Articles

The definite articles el and la are commonly employed with first

names of friends, relatives, colleagues, etc. in the La Paz dialect.

This differs from usage in other regions of the Hispanic world--Lima,

BogotA and Madrid, for example--where use of the definite article with

a name is highly derogatory and denotes a condescending attitude of the

speaker toward the person referred to. This contrast in usage suggests

that the La Paz usage may be related to a completely different syndrome.

Kany (1947:194) mentions that common usage of the definite article

with first names occurs in predominantly indigenous areas of Latin America.

The importance of markedness in the indigenous substrata of the Andean

region may be a related factor. The Quechua and Jaqi languages have suf-

fixes with which the topic of an utterance is marked (Hardman-de-Bautista,

Vdsquez and Yapita 1975; Hardman 1966; Parker 1969). These suffixes com-

monly occur on personal names. In Aymara, specifically, the topic

marker is the !-xa suffix. It may occur on names regardless of sex.

Likewise, in La Paz Spanish the definite articles el and la are markers

which occur equally for the sexes.

la Mami
el Papi
la Rosi
el Chapi

This is quite different from the usage in other Hispanic regions, where

the definite article usage is limited mostly to female names and serves

a degrading function. Apparently, the usage of the definite articles

with names in La Paz parallels the usage of the topic marker of the indig-

enous substratum.

Reflexive con

Certain verbs, when referring to interpersonal relations, occur in

reflexive form (Zamora Vicente 1960:345). The complement of the verb is

preceded by the conjunction con in these constructions. Various examples

of this construction are found in my data for La Paz, including the


Me entiendo mejor ahora con el.

'I get along better with him now.'

Se encontrd con el professor.

'She ran into the professor.'

Me vi con Libia hoy.

'I saw Libia today.'

Antes me escribia con muchos.

'I used to write to a lot (of friends).'

This construction can lead to some curious combinations in conversa-

tion, such as in the following examples, where the complement, which

would ordinarily follow the preposition con, is understood through the


OjalA te escribas, o sea, por lo menos te veas con
o hables por teldfono con 61.

'I hope you write, or at least see or call him.'

Ya no me he visto desde ese dia con dl).

'I haven't seen him since that day.'

--Lorenzo decia que ...
--ZCudndo te viste? (con 61)

'--Lorenzo was telling me that . .
--When did you see him?'

Con conjoiner

Another common use of con is as a conjoiner. It occurs in first

person plural constructions, specifying the inclusion of its object in

the action referred to in the sentence. There is ambiguity in these

constructions as to who the participants are. Often this is clarified

by the context. However, the following example, as an ambiguous case in

point, can be interpreted in two ways:

Con Wato estAbamos discutiendo.

'Wato and I were arguing.'

or 'We (speaker + other) were arguing with Wato.'


Double inclusion of the addressee may also be found in constructions

with the conjoiner con. The following examples.are taken from contexts

in which it was clear that the addressee was being marked twice, once in

the verb and once as the complement of con.

Vamos a ir contigo.

'We (you and I) are going to go (with you).'

Estabamos hablando contigo.

'We (you and I) were talking (with you).'

Similar constructions have been heard in Argentina, Peru, Ecuador, and

Colombia, Central America and Chile (Zamora Vicente 1960:346), though the

source does not state to what extent they are found. In La Paz, the

construction quite often occurs. Its use may be reinforced by the Aymara

substratum conjoiner I-mpiJ 'and' or 'with' which occurs in the same

phrase with the fourth person verb form, as in:

Jumamp saraiani.

Contigo vamos a ir.

'We'll go with you.'

To clarify, the Aymara is broken down into morphemes as follows:

juma.mpi sara.iani

you.with go.you + I will

Overmarking of second person is characteristic of the Aymara system (Hard-

man-de-Bautista, Vasquez and Yapita 1975:15, 253).

Habia sabido

Customary repetition of an action is expressed in standard Spanish

by the verb soler and in many areas of Spanish-speaking America by the

verb saber (Kany 1945b:205-207). Among Aymara/Spanish bilinguals I have

heard this usage of saber in various tenses, whereas in the Spanish speech

of monolingual pacefos it appears that only the habia sabido form occurs

in a sense of a customary action, as in the following examples:

Ursula habia sabido comer chufo.

'Ursula eats chuio.' (I didn't know).

Los Aymaras habian sabido hacer lo mismo.

'The Aymara do the same.' (I just found out)

Habia sabido ir a la universidad.

'She goes to the university." (I didn't know)

The pluperfect tense form of saber.implies that a customary action takes

place and has been taking place, but that the speaker was not previously
aware of it.

It will be noted that the pluperfect tense form of saber has little

relation to 'knowing how,' while in other tense forms such meaning is

implied. For example, no customary repetition of an action is expressed

in the sentence below:

Sabe ir al colegio solito.

'He knows how to get to school by himself.'

To express customary repetition of an action, adverbial expressions of

time such as generalmente or casi siempre occur more generally than the

auxiliary verbs soler and saber.


Impersonal forms of the verb haber occur in the singular and plural

in La Paz Spanish, in the past tense forms:

See the section on the surprisal, non-personal knowledge aspect
of habia earlier in this chapter, for more examples.


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