Date of Award

2000

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Foreign Languages and Literatures

First Advisor

Arnulfo Ramirez

Abstract

Spanish-speaking settlements were established along the Sabine River in 1717. The descendants of these Spanish settlers, often referred to as "Adaesenos", live in present-day Texas and Louisiana. Over the years, their language has been subjected to adverse conditions which have affected its use and features. This study focuses on the characteristics of this Hispanic dialect, with the aim of documenting what is left of it. The corpus consisted of seventeen informants ranging in age from 55 to 91 and representing three different generations. They were selected from the four remaining localities in northwestern Louisiana where the Adaesenos can be found today, namely, Spanish lake, Zwolle, Ebarb and Noble. Features of the dialect were observed at the level of phonology, morphology, syntax and lexicon. The results showed that the Adaeseno dialect is still functional and quite homogeneous with clear tendencies and very few deviations from the norm. While there are only a few speakers left, they are still quite fluent in Spanish and demonstrate a broad knowledge of many linguistic features of the language reflected in their pronunciation, word formation, sentence production and vocabulary. With regard to the competency-age relationship, three tendencies can be observed: the oldest speaker was the most competent; those between 70 and 89 years had a good knowledge while those between 50 and 69 years remembered some words but were unable to produce sentences. The pattern that seems to emerge is that the dialect is dying due to obsolescence and lack of speakers. The dialect as it is documented in this study reveals a linguistic system similar to vestigial and popular varieties of Spanish in Louisiana and other parts of the world.

ISBN

9780599906198

Pages

286

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