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Das ausländische Sprachgut im Spanischen des Río de la Plata. Mitteilungen und Abhandlungen aus dem Gebiet der romanischen Philologie veröffentlicht vom Seminar für romanische Sprachen und Kultur (Hamburg), Band VIII. By Rudolph Grossman. Pp. VI, 224, Hamburg, 1926.
Dr. Grossman has done a distinct service to Romance scholarship by bringing together in convenient form the conclusions of authoritative Hispanists with respect to the much discussed theory of a so-called "idioma nacional argentino." His book, however, is much more than a welcome scientific résumé of this important problem. It is a most important contribution to American-Spanish dialectology, a study of the foreign elements in the Spanish language of Argentina.
Besides an appendix with dialectic texts and a valuable index the book contains the following six chapters that treat as many important linguistic problems:
I. Bedingungen für die Entwicklung spanisch-amerikanischer
1 The separatist movement in politics in the beginning of the XIXth century created in the imagination of over-zealous patriots the idea of a national Argentine language, separate, and different if possible, from Spanish. The movement was first sponsored by the statesman and educator Sarmiento and the well-known writer Gutiérrez. Dr. Grossman, pp. 19-22 gives a brief history of the movement. More details are to be found in Ernesto Quesada, La evolución del idioma nacional, Buenos Aires, 1922. The death-blow was given to the movement by the ridiculous book of Lucien Abeille, Idioma nacional de los argentinos, Paris, 1900, where the attempt is made to raise to the standard of a national language the so-called "vulgarismos" of Argentina, which are for the most part found in all countries where Spanish is spoken. Prominent Argentine men of letters, statesmen, and philologists have definitely abandoned the futile idea of a national Argentine language, and a strong movement is now under way directed to the purification and embellishment of the language, which is after all Castilian Spanish, thanks to foresight of such men as Ricardo Rojas, author of the epoch-making work, Historia de la literatura Argentina (the language problem is treated in 1.77–163) and many others, and Ernesto Quesada, the internationally known Argentine sociologist and philosopher. One wonders how much charity has been exercised by Dr. Grossman when he merely calls the work of Abeille "pseudowissenschaftliche Arbeit" and by Morel-Fatio when he states in Romania 29. 486: "L'auteur aurait mieux fait de s'en tenir uniquement au langage parlé, dont le développement phonétique est d'ailleurs très sensiblement le même que celui de l'espagnol de la métropole; toutes les alteraciones fonéticas argentinas se retrouvent par example dans l'espagnol du centre et du midi de l'Espagne." For some time, however, the over-zealous patriot will continue to defy the philologist. See, for example
II. Der intellektuelle ausländische Sprachimport und der "Neo
III. Der materielle ausländische Sprachimport und der "Extran
IV. Der individuelle ausländische Sprachimport und die Mischsprachen.
V. Die linguistischen Erscheinungsformen des ausländischen Sprachgut.
Die psychologische Einstellung des Argentiners gegenüber dem ausländischen Sprachgut.
Die Kulturströmungen des Amerikanismus und des Criollismus. In Chapter I the author takes up the problem of the origins of the Spanish language of America in general. It is in origin Castilian and the languages spoken today in all Spanish-American countries have not only followed a parallel development but this has been on the whole parallel to that of Spain. On pages 2-5 he calls attention to the necessity of comparative studies in Spanish linguistics. Anyone who will take the trouble to examine the dialectic dictionaries of Spanish America as well other linguistic studies will not fail to observe that the so-called dialectic pecularities of each region are as a matter of fact common almost in their entirety to all parts of the Spanish-speaking world, including, of course, Spain itself. These facts speak eloquently for the uniformity of the Spanish language of the XVIth century when it came to Spanish America and for the uniformity of Spanish phonetic processes. The problem of the uniformity of phonetic developments throughout Spanish America cannot be definitely undertaken as yet because we have not enough materials, but in the field of lexicography there are abundant materials already available. Dr. Grossman seems to take seriously the division often made of the Spanish American speech regions into two large, general groups, a so-called Andalusian group (East-Mexico, Antilles, La Plata), and a so-called Castilian group (Peru, Bolivia, North
the reply of the Brazilian João Ribeiro to Américo Castro's logical objections to the so-called "dialacto argentino" in Revista de filología portuguesa, 2. 259-61 (1925).
? A cursory glance at the notes at the bottom of each page of my Studies in New Mexican Spanish is enough to convince any one of the uniformity of Spanish phonetic developments in Spain and Spanish America. And most of the phonetic processes in question are found in the popular and even in the learned Spanish literature of the XVIth and XVIIth centuries.
Argentina, West-Mexico, Paraguay). Sufficient evidence has never been brought forth to support this view despite the assertions of Lenz (ZRPh 17. 194) and Wagner (ZRPh 40. 296). In my mind it is very doubtful whether the important traits of Andalusian Spanish were well developed by the time of the colonization of Spanish America in the XVIth century. The fact remains that Extremadura and Andalusia had just been castilianized in the XIVth and XVth centuries. We miss in chapter I a discussion of the theory of Rojas (Historia de la literatura argentina, 1. 146–63), that the language of the conquistadores and colonizers of the new world was that of the uneducated classes of Spain and that there was a wide gap between this speech and the Spanish of Santa Teresa and Lope de Vega. Dr. Grossman might at least have called attention to the fact, that there is a greater gap between the Spanish written and spoken by Dr. Rojas and the language of the uneducated Spaniards of Madrid and Argentinians of Buenos Aires than there ever was between the language of Santa Teresa, Cervantes and Lope de Vega and the most ignorant of the conquistadores and first colonizers.1
3 Henríquez Ureña in Revista de) Filología) E(spañola) 8.359-61 (1921) and in his article 'El supuesto andalucismo de América,' Revista de Filología (1925) combats the Andalusian theory. I have personally found no marked Andalusianism in the Spanish of America and after an extensive trip through all the provinces of northern, central, and southern Spain I can not see in the Spanish of America any closer relation to Andalusian than to Castilian. It seems to me that in vocabulary the Spanish of America is as much Castilian as Andalusian. As for phonetic changes my own observations lead me to believe that the outstanding modern characteristics of Andalusian popular speech are not at all dominant in American Spanish. Argentina may be an exception on account of the large number of recent Spanish immigrants.
The parallel that Rojas attempts to make between Classic Latin and Vulgar Latin on the one hand and the Spanish of the best writers of the Spanish Siglo de Oro and the conquistadores and colonizers of Spanish America on the other hand does not hold. When Vulgar Latin was completely transformed into the Romance Languages between the Vth and Xth centuries, Latin as a spoken language had actually undergone a complete phonetic transformation into various languages or dialects. There was no uniformity of development in phonology and morphology among the various provinces of the old empire. In Spain, on the other hand, Castilian gradually rose to the dominant place among the Romance languages and dialects of the peninsula between the XIIth and XVth centuries and it was the accepted, fully developed Castilian speech of the newly united Spain that the Spaniards brought to the new world. Instead of a language that was changing and in a chaotic state of culture as was Vulgar Latin in the Vth to the Xth centuries, the Castilian Spanish of the end of the XVth century was the perfected, uniform language of a new and powerful nation that had already
Chapters II, III and IV constitute the important lexicographical contributions of the book. The division into intellectual, material, and individual classes of linguistic elements is hardly justified. The divisions as given under each one of the above groups would have been sufficient. For a book of reference the above classification is cumbersome and confusing. In fact a general classification according to source, that is English, French, Italian, etc., would be more practical. All this, however, is a question of individual preference and certainly does not in any way lessen the great value of these chapters for comparative American-Spanish dialectology. In practically all cases the author has given us the exact pronunciation of the foreign words in the Argentine Spanish by means of actually transcribing them in phonetic symbols. Carefully prepared studies of this nature are not only important for comparative studies in phonetic change but have a very great value as permanent documents of pronunciation at fixed epochs.
By far the largest number of foreign words in the Spanish of Argentina are of French source. English comes next and Italian is third. Other sources are not important. The English elements are of recent importation (last fifty years) and in certain fields of human activity, trade, politics, sport, these are at present dominant all over the world. It would be interesting to know how universally used certain words of English source really are in the modern cultural languages. I venture to say that practically all the words of English source introduced into Argentina during the last fifty years are to be found also in the other cultural languages of the world and in the Spanish of all Spanish-speaking countries. Dr. Grossman has not given us a definite list of all the foreign words but takes them up in the various chapters of the book, discussing their provenance, their meaning and their phonology. For this reason it is in some cases difficult to know whether the words in question are really regularly accepted Argentine words of English source or only sporadically used newspaper or book words. This of course, applies
created a national literature and had become nationally conscious. Castilian was the language of the court, of the army, and of the new schools and universities of Spain and Spanish America.
"We find exactly this same problem in New Mexico. There are the English words consciously used as English words by the Spanish speaking inhabitants, the English words commonly used as English words that have already a decided Spanish form and pronunciation and the hundreds of English words absolutely and completely Hispanized to the extent that the Spanish-speaking inhabitants no longer recognize them as foreign words. This last category is really the only
not only to words of English source but to all foreign words. Are such words as upper-cut, knock-down, five-o-clock tea, popularly used Argentine words or English words sporadically used in the newspapers? In all the cases where the author has given the phonetic transcriptions for the foreign words (and these are given for the majority of them) there can be no doubt about the popular character of the words. Among the English words I have counted some one hundred and seventy that appear to be regularly developed Argentine words of popular usage, completely Hispanized. Sixty of these, or about 35 per cent, are also found in New Mexico and with practically the same phonetic forms. A detailed study of the phonetic development of Spanish words of English source for all the Spanish-speaking countries would be of great service to linguistics. I have suggested such a study in my Studies in New Mexican Spanish and have pointed out a few of the sources of information up to the year 1914. The parallel phonetic development that English words undergo when introduced in the popular Spanish of widely separated regions of the Spanish world is an eloquent testimony in favor of the uniformity of Spanish phonetic processes and the uniform pronunciation of Spanish. The English words introduced into the Spanish of New Mexico, California and Argentina undergo practically the same phonetic developments. A large number of the words in question are, of course, pan-Hispanic and are found in the dictionary of the Royal Spanish Academy: bistec, linchar, mitin, rosbif, vagón, yate, etc. But there are many that are not in the Academy dictionary and are, nevertheless, pan-Hispanic.
The Argentine words of French origin bring up rather complicated problems of chronology. Dr. Grossman has made no attempt to enter into these problems. It is, of course, clear that a very large number of the Argentine words of French origin have come through various sources. The Italian influence presents a new and important problem since no country in the world has suffered the Italian linguistic influence that is to be found in Argentina. I am of the opinion, however, that Dr. Grossman has taken too seriously the so-called language mixture of Spanish and Italian. In fact the texts given on pages 195-215, taken for the most part from the pseudo-folkloristic periodical El Fogón, are not specimens of popular speech as actually heard even among the
element that may be called a regularly accepted foreign element that will lend itself to final and definitive conclusions in linguistic investigations. See my Studies in New Mexican Spanish, Part III, "The English Elements', §§ 9-10. Part III, 258-60.