Stanford research explores novel perspectives on the evolution of Spanish

How has the Spanish language evolved in the hundreds of years it has been spoken on multiple continents?

To answer the question, Cuauhtémoc García-García, a graduate student in Iberian and Latin American cultures, analyzed 900 years’ worth of texts in over a quarter of a million volumes.

“I wanted to study language evolution through data found in written work to add historical depth to how, where and when languages changed,” he said. “My new data show that Spanish on the Iberian Peninsula was much more resistant to change over time when compared to Spanish in the Americas, where – since colonization – Spanish from Spain has come into contact with local, indigenous and hybrid influences.”

That process, he noted, has led to a Spanish that has progressively changed ever since the language first arrived in the Americas. The changes, however, are not uniform across the Spanish-speaking Americas, and instead he found that the “hybridization” and evolution of language varied from place to place.

Read more: Stanford University

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