Spanish-Portuguese language mixing


Another current research paradigm involves bilingual contacts between the highly cognate languages Spanish in Portuguese, in a number of communities situated along the Brazilian border in Spanish-speaking South American countries (Argentina, Bolivia, Paraguay, Colombia, Peru, Uruguay, Venezuela). Although stable mixed varieties have emerged in a few places, most notably northern Uruguay, a more common scenario is the informal and spontaneous approximation to Portuguese by Spanish speakers (and less frequently, approximations to Spanish by Portuguese speakers). I have a current research project in Misiones province in northeastern Argentina, where “Portuñol” varieties are spoken natively in several communities where there is no sociolinguistic pressure to acquire canonical varieties of Spanish or Portuguese. The resultant (often unconsciously) mixed speech challenges accepted typologies of bilingual language switching, and when compared with language mixing involving increasingly less cognate language pairs (Spanish-Italian, Spanish-English), provides an opportunity for more nuanced analysis of voluntary and involuntary language mixing.


Map of communities studied


Representative publications: