Las lenguas inmigratorias y la política académica en la Argentina de la primera mitad del siglo XX

Silvia Lafuente


In Latin America, Spanish culture and language were reformulated and subject to a hybridization process. American Spanish, rich in varieties, modified on the American soil by contact with other indigenous, African languages and European migrations, has never been provincial localism but contact experience. It is interpreted as such by Vicente Rossi in Los folletos lenguaraces, a sort of counter-philology that appeared in Argentina during the ’20s. This work offers a vast popular language glossary that highlights the limited skills of the most outstanding philologists to interpret it. During the first decades of the 20th century, the Philology Institute of the Faculty of Literature at the University of Buenos Aires was one of the active stakeholders posing resistance against immigration languages, above all italianisms. The opposition to linguistic cosmopolitanism mostly concerned lexical matters with critics focusing above all on changes and borrowings at this language level. However, since the evolution of languages depends more on the practice of speakers rather than academicians’ decisions, it is clear that the prolonged use of words, in this case italianisms, led to their full adoption and acceptance in standard Argentinian Spanish.


hybridization; multi-linguistic contact; national identity; popular language; Spanish academicism

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