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The Contact Diffusion of Linguistic Practices

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Reference Frames in Mesoamerica

We examine the extent to which practices of language use may be diffused through language contact and areally shared, using data on spatial reference frame use by speakers of eight indigenous languages from in and around the Mesoamerican linguistic area and three varieties of Spanish. Regression models show that the frequency of L2-Spanish use by speakers of the indigenous languages predicts the use of relative reference frames in the L1 even when literacy and education levels are accounted for. A significant difference in frame use between the Mesoamerican and non-Mesoamerican indigenous languages further supports the contact diffusion analysis.

Affiliations: 1: University at Buffalo ; 2: University at Buffalo ; 3: Purdue University ; 4: College of Charleston ; 5: Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México ; 6: Smithsonian Institution ; 7: Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana-Iztapalapa ; 8: Centro de Investigaciones y Estudios Superiores en Antropología Social—Distrito Federal ; 9: Universidad Autónoma de Querétaro ; 10: University of Surrey ; 11: Centro de Investigaciones y Estudios Superiores en Antropología Social—Sureste


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