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Language Boundaries in South America

Glynn Custred


A glance at a map of language distribution reveals a series of linguistic boundaries which forms a line running across the top of the southern cone of South America from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Maritime Cordilleras of the Andes in the west. In the east this line separates Spanish from Portuguese-speaking territory. In the west it defines the southern limits of Quechua, the largest of the American Indian language communities. And in the center of the continent it involves Guarani which has attained a degree of national importance unmatched by any other native American language. The diversity of languages and linguistic landscapes along this line, as well as the nature of the boundaries which separate them, are of interest both to linguists and geographers as well as to scholars concerned with the broader interdisciplinary field of borderland studies.

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Print ISSN: 0886-5655
Online ISSN: 2159-1229