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Andean Spanish

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Title: Andean Spanish  
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Andean Spanish

Dialectal map of Peru and Ecuador. Andean Spanish is in red.

Andean Spanish is a dialect of Spanish spoken in the central Andes, from western Venezuela, southern Colombia, with influence as far south as northern Chile and Northwestern Argentina, passing through Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia. It is influenced principally by Castilian, Canarian and Andalusian Spanish, which is favoured in the cities, while in rural areas and some cities, there is influence of Quechua, Aymara, and other indigenous languages.

Notable phonological characteristics

  • In Andean Spanish, the /s/ is never aspirated in the final position, that is, it's pronounced [s] and not [h]; this [s] is sometimes pronounced apical rather than laminal [1] (a trait characteristic of northern Spain), a sound transitional between [s] and [ʃ], this phonetic trait (unique in the Americas) is to be associated with a large number of northern Spanish settlers in Andean region.
  • As in all American dialects, Andean Spanish has seseo (traditional /θ/ merges with /s/). That is, casa ("house") and caza ("hunt") are homophones. However, in Cusco many speakers realize /s/ as [θ] in some words, particularly in once, doce, trece.[1] Seseo is common to all of America, the Canary Islands, and several areas in southern Spain.
  • Especially in the Ecuadorian variant, coda /s/ is often voiced to [z] before a voiced consonant (including sonorants) or a before vowel. In the Peruvian variant, it is palatalized before /i/.
  • In Bolivia, Ecuador, and southern Peru, /ʎ/ and /ʝ/ do not merge (lack of yeísmo).
  • Often the vowels /e/ and /i/ or /o/ and /u/ are merged, due to the influence of the tri-vocal system of Quechua and Aymara.
  • /r/ and /ɾ/ are assibilated to [] and [ɾ̞], respectively. /tɾ/ into y. This is only found in Ecuador and Bolivia.
  • /x/ is velar [x] rather than glottal [h]
  • /f/ is realised as bilabial [ɸ], the same one that adds an epenthetic /w/ is often confused with /x/.
  • It gives emphasis to the consonants while weakening the vowels, with even less on unstressed syllables (like in Mexico, but not as marked).
  • The stress is, or tends to be, penultimate.

Influence on nearby areas

In northwest Argentina and north Chile today it is possible to say that there is a certain fusion in the dialects of those respective countries, but noting that more dominant are the local dialects. The Andean dialect can be seen northeast with respect to the pronunciation and lexicon. While the Rioplatense dialect provides some of the pronunciation, a variety of modes and the Argentine dialect replaces the Andean use of "tú" as the second person singular familiar pronoun with "vos". It is very similar in Chile, except that they alternate between "tú" and "vos" as the singular familiar second-person pronoun, and additionally present modes of Chilean Spanish and some of Andean Spanish.


  1. ^ a b


  • Escobar, Alberto: Variaciones sociolingüísticas del castellano en el Perú.- Lima 1978.-
  • Granda, German: Estudios de lingüística andina.- Lima Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú, 2001.-
  • Lapesa, Rafael.: Historia de la lengua española.- Madrid, 1986.-
  • Canfield, Delos Lincoln.: La pronunciación del español de América.- Chicago, The University of Chicago, 1981.-
  • Mackenzie, Ian: A Linguistic Introduction to Spanish.- University of Newcastle upon Tyne, LINCOM Studies in Romance Linguistics 35.- ISBN 3-89586-347-5.
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