Andean Spanish

Andean Spanish is a dialect of Spanish spoken in the central Andes, from southern Colombia, with influence as far south as northern Chile and Northwestern Argentina, passing through Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia. While similar to other Spanish dialects, Andean Spanish shows influence from Quechua, Aymara, and other indigenous languages, due to prolonged and intense language contact. This influence is especially strong in rural areas.[1]

Dialect map of Peru and Ecuador. Andean Spanish is in purple.


  • In Andean Spanish, the /s/ is never aspirated in the final position and so is pronounced [s], not [h], but it is sometimes pronounced apical, rather than laminal,[2] a trait characteristic of Northern Spain. The apical sound is sometimes perceived as transitional between [s] and [ʃ], and it is associated with a large number of northern Spanish settlers in Andean region.[citation needed] In southern Bolivia and northern Chile, syllable-final /s/ is mostly aspirated.
  • As in all American dialects of Spanish, Andean Spanish has seseo (/θ/ is not distinguished from /s/). Thus, casa ("house") and caza ("hunt") are homophones. However, in Cusco Region and Cajamarca, many speakers realize /s/ as [θ] in many words, particularly in once, doce, trece.[2][3][4][5] Seseo is common to all of America, the Canary Islands, and several areas in southern Spain.
  • Especially in the Ecuadorian variant, coda /s/ is often voiced to [z] before a vowel or before a voiced consonant (including sonorants), but the latter is also a feature of most other Spanish dialects.[1] In the Peruvian variant, it is palatalized before /i/.
  • In Bolivia, Ecuador, and southern Peru, /ʎ/ and /ʝ/ do not merge (lack of yeísmo).[1][6] In northern Ecuador, /ʎ/ tends to be pronounced as a voiced postalveolar fricative.[7] However, yeísmo is on the rise among Ecuador's middle and upper classes.[8]
  • Often the vowels /e/ and /i/ or /o/ and /u/ are merged because of the influence of the trivocal system of Quechua and Aymara.[1]
  • /r/ and /ɾ/ are assibilated to [] and [ɾ̞], respectively.[1] This is in decline among the middle and upper classes.[6]
  • /x/ is velar [x] rather than glottal [h].
  • /f/ is realised as bilabial [ɸ], sometimes with an epenthetic /w/ following.[1]
  • Emphasis is given to the consonants but the vowels are weakened, especially for unstressed syllables (like in Mexican Spanish, but not as marked).[1][6]
  • The intonation patterns of some Andean accents, such as those of Cusco, have been influenced by those of Quechua. Even monolingual Spanish speakers can show Quechua influence in their intonation.[9][10]

Syntax and morphologyEdit

Voseo is common in the Bolivian and Ecuadorian Andes, largely among rural and poorer speakers. It is nearly extinct in Peru. Some speakers tend towards pronominal voseo, using vos with the conjugations of verbs, whereas more indigenous speakers tend to use the vos conjugations.[1]

Words like pues, pero and nomás are often used similarly to the modal suffixes of Quechua and Aymara. They can be stacked at the end of a clause:

Dile nomás pues pero. "Just go ahead and tell him."[1]

Andean Spanish also widely uses redundant "double possessives" as in:

De María en su casa estoy yendo. "I'm going to Maria's house."[1]

This also shows how en can indicate "motion towards" in the Andes. En may also be used "before a locative adverb, as in Vivo en acá 'I live here' or En allá sale agua 'Water is coming out there.'"[1]

Due to Aymara and Quechua influence, Andean Spanish often uses the pluperfect tense or clause-final dice "he/she says" to indicate evidentiality.[1] Evidential dice is more common in monolingual Peruvian Spanish.[1]

In upper Ecuador, a dar + gerund construction is common, ie:

Pedro me dio componiendo mi reloj. "Pedro fixed my watch."[1]


Andean Spanish typically uses more loans from Aymara and Quechua than other Spanish varieties.[1] In addition, some common words have different meanings. Pie, meaning "foot," can refer to the whole leg, due to Aymara influence. Siempre ("always") can mean "still."[1]

Influence on nearby areasEdit

In northwest Argentina and northern Chile today, it is possible to say that there is a certain fusion in the dialects of both countries, but the local dialects are more dominant.

The Andean dialect can be heard in the northwest, with respect to the pronunciation and lexicon. The Rioplatense dialect provides some of the pronunciation, a variety of modes, and the Argentine dialect.

Rioplatense replaces the Andean use of "" as the second person singular familiar pronoun with "vos". It is very similar in Chile, but "" and "vos" are there both used as the singular familiar second-person pronoun. Also, there is influence of Chilean Spanish and some Andean Spanish.


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p Mackenzie, Ian (1999–2020). "Andean Spanish". The Linguistics of Spanish. Archived from the original on 2022-06-10. Retrieved April 3, 2021.
  2. ^ a b Lipski, John (1994). Latin American Spanish. New York: Longman Publishing. p. 320.
  3. ^ Alonso (1967), p. 102, cited in Cotton & Sharp (1988), p. 147
  4. ^ Church, Meredith (2019-04-01). "Influencia del quechua en el castellano andino del Cusco, Perú". Independent Study Project (ISP) Collection (3110).
  5. ^ Caravedo, Rocío (1992-12-30). "¿Restos de la distinción /s/ /Ɵ/ en el español del Perú?". Revista de Filología Española. 72 (3/4): 639–654. doi:10.3989/rfe.1992.v72.i3/4.586.
  6. ^ a b c Klee & Lynch (2009), p. 136.
  7. ^ Argüello, Fanny M. (December 1980). "El Rehilamiento en el español hablado en la región andina de Ecuador". Lexis (in Spanish). IV (2). Retrieved 22 May 2021.
  8. ^ Klee & Lynch (2009), pp. 136–7.
  9. ^ Lipski, John M. (2011). "Socio-Phonological Variation in Latin American Spanish". In Díaz-Campos, Manuel (ed.). The handbook of Hispanic sociolinguistics. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell. pp. 72–97. doi:10.1002/9781444393446.ch4. ISBN 9781405195003.
  10. ^ O'Rourke, Erin (2004). "Peak placement in two regional varieties of Peruvian Spanish intonation". In Auger, Julie; Clements, J. Clancy; Vance, Barbara (eds.). Contemporary approaches to Romance linguistics: selected papers from the 33rd Linguistic Symposium on Romance Languages (LSRL), Bloomington, Indiana, April 2003. Amsterdam: J. Benjamins. pp. 321–342. ISBN 9789027247728.


  • Alonso, Amado (1967). De la pronunciación medieval a la moderna en español (in Spanish).
  • Cotton, Eleanor Greet; Sharp, John (1988), Spanish in the Americas, Georgetown University Press, ISBN 978-0-87840-094-2
  • Escobar, Alberto: Variaciones sociolingüísticas del castellano en el Perú.- Lima 1978.-
  • Granda, German: Estudios de lingüística andina.- Lima Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú, 2001.-
  • Klee, Carol A.; Lynch, Andrew (2009). El español en contacto con otras lenguas. Washington, D.C.: Georgetown University Press. ISBN 9781589012653.
  • Lapesa, Rafael.: Historia de la lengua española.- Madrid, 1986.-
  • Canfield, Delos Lincoln.: La pronunciación del español de América.- Chicago, The University of Chicago, 1981.-
  • Mackenzie, Ian: A Linguistic Introduction to Spanish.- University of Newcastle upon Tyne, LINCOM Studies in Romance Linguistics 35.- ISBN 3-89586-347-5.