reckless intuitions of an epistemic hygienist ( gustavolacerda) wrote,
reckless intuitions of an epistemic hygienist

liquid "r" in the Zona Sur of La Paz, and the reach of American influence

Yesterday, my girlfriend showed me this video: Boliviano Fashions featuring two Bolivian male characters in their early 20s, with a boastful upper-class attitude: one from La Paz, one from Santa Cruz; making slightly exaggerated accents. The La Paz one (known as a "jailón"; or a guido if we presume he's a wannabe) has a liquid R, roughly ɻ, for "rr" or initial R (i.e. like the stereotypical American "r"):

"perro" = "peɻo", "ratón" = "ɻaton".

... which I hypothesized came from Indigenous languages (which I believe is the origin of the liquid R in Brazil's caipira dialect), but according to my girlfriend this R came from the Americans! Apparently, the American influence on the upper classes of La Paz is much bigger than I imagined.

The fact that many kids who go to the American School of La Paz would speak to each other in English during their off-time and celebrate Thanksgiving makes this theory more plausible. This, of course, makes them the target of other young people, especially those with anti-American sentiment, who see this behavior as pretentious.

In Amsterdam I had a housemate from Colombia who was struggling because he hadn't learned English yet; because when he was younger, he didn't like the idea of being "one of those English speakers", because of its symbolic value. I think this is a pretty common mistake that teens make in Latin America.

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Tags: linguistics, social_dynamics
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