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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