Journal of Ibero-Romance Creoles

Volume 2 (2010)

Variation, evolution and the syntax of Afro-Bolivian Spanish gender agreement 

Sandro Sessarego (University of Wisconsin - Maddison) & Javier Gutiérrez-Rexach (Ohio State University)  

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This paper combines sociolinguistic and formal syntactic approaches to characterize the constraints regulating gender agreement variation across the Determiner Phrase (DP) in Afro-Bolivian Spanish (ABS). Our results indicate a case of cross-generational change, consisting in the systematic replacement of stigmatized basilectal Afro-Bolivian features with more prestigious Bolivian Spanish ones. In light of recent minimalist models (Adger & Smith 2005; Adger 2006), the variability encountered in the corpus can be accounted for by reducing variation to the specification of uninterpretable features in a derivation. 

Keywords: Afro-Bolivian Spanish, gender, determiner phrase, syntactic variation, minimalism