Loanword Adaptation in Spanish and Mapudungun: a Phonological and Sociolinguistic Analysis

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Swarthmore College. Dept. of Linguistics
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This thesis is a study of Mapudungun loanword adaptation, with a focus on the treatment of foreign phonemes and syllable structures. The data used for analysis in this thesis are Spanish loanwords borrowed into Mapudungun as found in Golluscio (2009) and the World Loanword Database, or WOLD (Golluscio, Fraguas, Mellico 2009), as well as Mapudungun words adapted into modern Chilean Spanish as seen in the RAE Spanish Dictionary (2001). The goal of this thesis is to show that there are deliberate patterns in how loanwords are adopted in both languages, and I investigate the phonological factors as well as sociolinguistic factors that regulate loanword adaptation. Spanish loanwords undergo repair processes such as segmental changes, for example palatalization (1a), suprasegrnental changes, such as stress adaptations (1b), and the deletion of syllables in words with more than three syllables in order to match their native root-word system (1c). (1) Repair strategies used by Mapudungun (Spanish to Mapudungun): a. Palatalization of Ixl b. Stress adaptation 10· ~exal > lofi'fal /"bakal > Iwa ·kal c. Deletion of initial syllables leska ·leral > Ika ·le(al 'the sheep' 'the cow' 'the stairs,' 'the ladder' Loanwords in Mapudungun vary in their degrees of adaptation according to the age of the loanword. Loanwords introduced by the Spanish soon after their conquest of the Mapuche region show the most modifications in phonological adaptation, while words introduced in the late 19th century show fewer (Golluscio, 2009). The lexicon of Mapudungun is full of loanwords from the sociolinguistically dominant language Spanish. Although Spanish has adapted loanwords from Mapudungun, the influence is not nearly as great, and the transferring of words is mainly onesided in favor of Spanish (Golluscio, 2009). Unlike Quechua that underwent fundamental changes, such as the adaptation of the sound and grammatical systems to those of Spanish (Heggarty, 2006), Mapudungun maintains its phonology in loanwords with very few exceptions, preferring "Mapucheness." Therefore, I hypothesize that Mapudungun resists adopting foreign phones or structures as a way of stating their independence. Furthermore, I discuss historical and current sociolinguistic factors, such as the prestige of Spanish and lower status of Mapudungun, including the history of attributing negative stereotypes to the Mapuche since as early as the 1500s (Alvarado & Purcell, 2003). I also discuss public and political usages of the languages and linguistic discrimination of the Mapuche. In these analyses, I confront the impacts of discriminatory actions on a culture that has historically resisted foreign domination for centuries.