Isleño Spanish

Isleño Spanish (Spanish: español isleño) is a dialect of the Spanish language spoken by the descendants of Canary Islanders who settled in St. Bernard Parish, Louisiana, United States, during the late 18th century.[2][3][4][5][6] The dialect was greatly influenced by adjacent language communities as well as immigration from peninsular Spain and other Spanish-speaking countries.[2][3][4] The dialect spoken by the Isleños who settled along Bayou Lafourche is differentiated as Brule Spanish.[7][8]

Isleño Spanish
español isleño
Pronunciation[ɛhpaˈɲol ihˈleɲo]
Native toUnited States
RegionLouisiana (St. Bernard Parish, Plaquemines Parish, Ascension Parish, Assumption Parish)
EthnicityIsleño
Native speakers
More than 50 in St. Bernard Parish (2020)[1]
Early forms
Latin alphabet (Spanish alphabet)
Language codes
ISO 639-3
Glottologloui1241  Isleño Spanish
brul1240  Brule Spanish
This article contains IPA phonetic symbols. Without proper rendering support, you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols instead of Unicode characters. For an introductory guide on IPA symbols, see Help:IPA.

In the present day, Isleño Spanish is approaching complete extinction.[1][9][10] Throughout the 20th century, modernization and urbanization came to disrupt greatly the transmission of Spanish, coupled with the hardships of natural disasters.[2][10][11] The remaining Spanish speakers of the community tend to be elderly individuals from fishing communities of eastern St. Bernard Parish.[2][1]

HistoryEdit

The Isleños are descendants of colonists from the Canary Islands who arrived in Spanish Louisiana between 1778 and 1783.[10][11] It estimated that about 2,000 Canary Islanders were settled into a series of communities, one of those coming to be known as San Bernardo (Saint Bernard).[2][11]

Early in the establishment of this community, a minority of Acadians were present along with Filipinos from the nearby community of Saint Malo which intermarried with the Canary Islanders.[12] In the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the community was reinforced by immigration from rural, peninsular Spanish regions such as Andalusia, Santander, Galicia, and Catalonia.[3] A survey conducted in 1850 found at least 63 natives of Spain, 7 Canary Islanders, 7 Cubans, and 7 Mexicans in the community.[2]

DeclineEdit

The 1915 New Orleans hurricane destroyed much of the Isleño fishing communities situated in eastern St. Bernard Parish.[13] Only a couple years later, the Spanish flu pandemic left over one thousand people dead in the community.[14] With the adoption of the Louisiana Constitution of 1921, public education was required to be conducted in English.[15]

After World War II, urbanization and modernization played a greater effect on the community and the retention of Spanish.[2][11][10][16] This was compounded by Hurricane Betsy which severely damaged much of Isleño community and presence in St. Bernard Parish.[17] In 2005, Hurricane Katrina devastated the community and only a fraction of Isleño families have returned to their original communities.[1][18]

Currently, the transmission of Spanish has halted completely along with the preservation of many traditions.[2][1][11] Those who know Isleño Spanish or speak the dialect as a first language are often elderly community members.[2][1][16]

PhonologyEdit

In many respects, Isleño Spanish shares an array of similarities with other Spanish dialects, generally of the Canary Islands, mainland Spain, and the Caribbean.[2][3][5] Isleño Spanish merges the phonemes /θ/ and /s/ into the single phoneme /s/, a phenomenon known as seseo.[2][5][19] At least until the mid twentieth century, Isleño Spanish speakers made a distinction between /ʎ/ and /ʝ/, which is still typical of rural speech in the Canaries, but later studies have suggested instability in this feature.[2][4]

Some of the notable features regarding consonants are described below:

  • /d/ often experiences deletion in its various forms.[4] In its intervocalic position, /d/ is habitually elided: peludo [pe.ˈlu] 'hairy' or miedo [ˈmjeo] 'fear'.[2][4][5] In word-final positions, /d/ is deleted and the final vowel becomes stressed such as in usted [uh.ˈte] 'you'.[2][4]
  • /g/ is typically maintained in its word-initial position but may become [b] when followed by o or u.[2][4] In all other positions, /g/ is weakened.[4]
  • /h/ is generally preserved as the aspirate [h] where /h/ derives from the Vulgar Latin /f/ like in hacer [ha.ˈsei̯] 'to do, to make'.[3][4][6]
  • /n/ largely preserved as [n] but [ŋ] is occasionally heard.[2][5] However, the consonant cluster /jn/ results in the loss of /n/.[2][4]
  • /r/ remains an alveolar trill in its word-initial position or when written <rr>.[2] Elsewhere, it can be realized as [l] at the end of a syllable so that arte 'seine' is often pronounced [ˈal.te] rather than [ˈaɾ.te].[2] With some speakers, this becomes [h] so that porque 'because' is pronounced [ˈpoh.ke].[4] Just like with /d/, in its word final position, /r/ is habitually deleted.[2][4][19]
  • /s/ is typically becomes the aspirate [h] but is preserved in intervocalic positions like los casas [loh ˈka.sah] 'the houses' and other instances.[2][3][4][5]
  • /x/ is pronounced [h] exclusively, which is common in the southern Spain, the Canary Islands, and throughout the Caribbean.[2][4]

As for the vowels used in Isleño Spanish, there are a handful of differences to Standard Spanish. In certain instances, e is raised to i in everyday speech such as decir [ði.ˈsi] 'to say'.[2][3][4] A similar phenomenon occurs with o, where it generally lowers to u: llover [ˈʎu.βei̯] 'to rain'.[4] Additionally, the diphthong /ei/ is often pronounced as /ai/ in words like seis [ˈsai̯h] 'six' or rey [ˈrai̯] 'king' which can be found in the Canaries and rural Spain.[2][4]

Morphology and syntaxEdit

The grammatical gender of certain words in Isleño Spanish differs from that of other dialects. Some examples include el costumbre (la costumbre), la color (el color), el mel (la mel), and la sartén (el/la sartén).[2][4] It has been suggested that these differences are due to the early influence of Portuguese on Canarian Spanish.[2]

Pronouns are often used redundantly in Isleño Spanish, just as in Caribbean dialects, for phonological reasons and to maintain the distinction between subjects.[2][4][5][16] Moreover, the pronouns vos and vosotros remain unknown in the community.[2][4][5]

Non-inverted questions such as ¿Cómo usted se llama? rather than ¿Cómo se llama usted? are common in Isleño Spanish, which is a characteristic shared by various Caribbean Spanish varieties, possibly originating to the Canary Islands.[2]

VocabularyEdit

Contact with other groups and substantial immigration into the St. Bernard community has shaped their vocabulary to some extent. Some of the largest contributions have been made by English, Louisiana French, Louisiana Creole, regional dialects of Spanish, and the various Castilian languages.[3][4][5] Additionally, several archaic terms deriving from Old Spanish have been preserved.[2]

A handful of terms originating to the Guanche languages have continued to be used in Isleño Spanish. In particular, the word gofio is used to describe toasted cornmeal or flour which is nearly identical to its usage in the Canaries.[4] Also present is totizo 'nape of the neck', which is believed to come from the Guanches as well.[6]

Isleño Spanish Canarian Spanish Caribbean Spanish Old Spanish Standard Spanish Louisiana French English
colorado (adj.)1 rojo (adj.)

encarnado (adj.)

colorado (adj.)

rojo (adj.) bermejo (adj.)

colorado (adj.)

encarnado (adj.)

rojo (adj.) rouge (adj.) red (adj.)
lacre (m.n.) lago (m.n.) lago (m.n.) lago (m.n.) lago (m.n.) lac (m.n.) lake (n.)
liña (f.n.) liña (f.n.) sedal (m.n.) liña (f.n.) sedal (m.n.) fil de pêche (m.n.)

ligne de pêche (f.n.)

fishing line (n.)

string (n.)

mancar (v.) extrañar (v.)

fallar (v.)

extrañar (v.)

fallar (v.)

mancar (v.) extrañar (v.)

fallar (v.)

manquer (v.)

rater (v.)

to miss (v.)

to fail (v.)

marqueta (f.n.) mercado (m.n.) mercado (m.n.) mercado (m.n.) mercado (m.n.) marché (m.n.) market (n.)
peje (m.n.) pez (m.n.)

peje (m.n.)

pez (m.n.)

peje (m.n.)

peçe, pexe (m.n.) pez (m.n.) poisson (m.n.) fish (n.)
romana (f.n.) vestido (m.n.) vestido (m.n.) vestido (m.n.) vestido (m.n.) romaine (f.) woman's dress (n.)
sosón, susón (m.n) calcetín (m.n.)

media (f.n.)

calcetín (m.n.)

calceta (f.n.)

calça (f.n.) calcetín (m.n.)

media (f.n.)

chausson (m.n.)

bas (m.n.)

sock (n.)

stocking (n.)

seña (f.n.)

letrero (m.n.)

seña (f.n.)

letrero (m.n.)

letrero (m.n.)

cartel (m.n.)

señal (f.n.) letrero (m.n.)

cartel (m.n.)

signe (f.n.) sign (n.)
tío (m.n.)

titi, tite (m.n.)

tío (m.n.)

tití, titi (m.n.)

tío (m.n.) tío, tyo (m.n.) tío (m.n.) oncle (m.n.)

nonc (m.n.)

uncle (n.)

1. The comparison of terms below uses the following abbreviations for different parts of speech: (n.) noun, (m.n.) masculine noun, (f.n.) feminine noun, (v.) verb, (adj.) adjective.

Brule SpanishEdit

The Isleños who settled in the community of Valenzuela along Bayou Lafourche were greatly influenced by the immigration of Acadian refugees and further isolation.[3][7][8] The dialect has been considered an "offshoot" of Isleño Spanish and is referred to as Brule Spanish.[3][8] The dialect is highly endangered if not already extinct as only a few dozen octogenarian speakers were known to exist in the early 1990s.[3]

The dialect possesses a large number of loanwords from Louisiana French which is seen as the main distinction between it and Isleño Spanish.[3][7] Even so, an amount of similarities in vocabulary between Brule and Isleño Spanish exist:

Brule Spanish Isleño Spanish Canarian Spanish Standard Spanish Louisiana French Louisiana Creole English
ajena, ansí (adv.)1 asina (adv.) así, ansina, asina (adv.) así (adv.) donc (adv.) donk (adv.) so (adv.)

thus (adv.)

cambar (v.) cambar (v.) cambar (v.) doblar (v.)

torcer (v.)

plier (v.)

tordre (v.)

pliyé (v.)

tordé, tortiyé, tourné (v.)

to bend (v.)

to twist (v.)

coquilla (f.n.) coquilla (f.n.) concha (f.n.) concha (f.n.) coquille (f.n.) kokiy, lékay, ekay (n.) shell (n.)
costumbre (m.n.) costumbre (m.n.) costumbre (f.n.) costumbre (f.n.) coutume (f.n.) labitud, labichud (n.)

koutumm (n.)

custom (n.)

habit (n.)

dir (v.) dir (v.) ir (v.)

dir (v.)

ir (v.) aller (v.) ale, alé (v.) to go (v.)
grocería (f.n.) grocería (f.n.) supermercado (m.n.)

tienda de comestibles (f.n.)

supermercado (m.n.) boutique (f.n.)

grosserie, grocerie (f.n.)

grosri, lagrosri (n.) grocery store (n.)
mesmo (adj.) mesmo (adj.) mismo, mesmo (adj.) mismo (adj.) même (adj.) mème (adj.)

parèy (adj.)

same (adj.)
pandil (m.n.) pandil (m.n.) reloj (m.n.) reloj (m.n.) pandule (f.n.) lapandil, lapendil (n.)

lòrlòj (n.)

clock (n.)

1. The comparison of terms below uses the following abbreviations for different parts of speech: (n.) noun, (m.n.) masculine noun, (f.n.) feminine noun, (v.) verb, (adj.) adjective, (adv.) adverb.

Notable Isleño Spanish-speaking peopleEdit

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c d e f Miloshoff, Andrew (2020-05-26). "The Last Echoes of Spanish Louisiana: Observations of the Isleño Spanish Dialect of St. Bernard Parish, Louisiana". 2020 JHU Richard Macksey National Undergraduate Humanities Research Symposium.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad Lipski, John M. (July 1, 1990). The Language of the Isleños: Vestigial Spanish in Louisiana. Baton Rouge and London: Louisiana State University Press. pp. i, 1, 3, 4–6, 8–9, 17, 35. ISBN 0807115347.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Armistead, Samuel G. (1992). The Spanish Tradition in Louisiana. Katz, Israel J. Newark, Delaware: Juan de la Cuesta. pp. ix, 3–4, 5, 7, 28. ISBN 9780936388489.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v MacCurdy, Raymond R. (1950). The Spanish Dialect in St. Bernard Parish, Louisiana. Albuquerque: The University of New Mexico Press. pp. 19–20, 29–30, 35, 36–38, 39, 39–40, 43, 45–47. ASIN B003BGM7WY.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i Coles, Felice (1999). Isleño Spanish. Languages of the World. Vol. Materials 278. München; Newcastle: LINCOM EUROPA. pp. 3, 8–9, 11–12, 12–13, 13–15, 15, 24, 34. ISBN 3-89586-593-1.
  6. ^ a b c Alvar, Manuel (1989). El dialecto canario de Luisiana (in Spanish). Las Palmas: Universidad de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. pp. 11–13. ISBN 84-89728-58-5.
  7. ^ a b c MacCurdy, Raymond R. (December 1959). "A Spanish Word-List of the "Brulis" Dwellers". Hispania. 42 (4): 547–554. doi:10.2307/335051. JSTOR 335051.
  8. ^ a b c Holloway, Charles Edward (1993). The Death of a Dialect: Brule Spanish in Ascension Parish, Louisiana. LSU Historical Dissertations and Theses. pp. viii–ix, 43–45, 143.
  9. ^ Perez, Samantha. (2011). The Isleños of Louisiana : on the water's edge. Charleston, SC: History Press. p. 84. ISBN 978-1-60949-024-9. OCLC 696100223.
  10. ^ a b c d de Marigny Hyland, William. "Los Isleños – A Historic Overview". Los Isleños Heritage and Cultural Society of St. Bernard. Retrieved 2020-05-27.
  11. ^ a b c d e Din, Gilbert C. (1 August 1999). The Canary Islanders of Louisiana. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press. pp. 25, 75, 196, 197. ISBN 978-0-8071-2437-6.
  12. ^ Hinton, Matthew (2019-10-23). "From Manila to the Marigny: How Philippine pioneers left a mark at the 'end of world' in New Orleans". Very Local New Orleans.
  13. ^ Roy, William F., ed. (1915-10-02). "Severe storm destroys life and property". The St. Bernard Voice. Vol. XXVI, no. 39.
  14. ^ de Marigny Hyland, William (2020-04-23). "Louis Alfred Ducros M.D.: Biographical Sketch". Los Isleños Heritage and Cultural Society of St. Bernard Newsletter: 3.
  15. ^ "French's Legal Status in Louisiana". CODOFIL. Louisiana Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism. Retrieved 2 May 2020.
  16. ^ a b c Lestrade, Patricia Manning (1999). Trajectories in Isleño Spanish with special emphasis on the lexicon. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama. pp. 5-6, 13, 45, 52-53.
  17. ^ Harris, Sara-Ann. "The Evolution of the Isleño Identity". Folklife in Louisiana. Retrieved 2020-05-27.
  18. ^ Marshal, Bob. Jacobs, Brian. Shaw, Al. The Lens, Propublica (August 28, 2014). "This is what Louisiana stands to lose in the next 50 years". ProPublica. Retrieved 2019-12-30.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  19. ^ a b Fortier, Alcée (1894). Louisiana Studies: Literature, Customs and Dialects, History and Education. New Orleans: F.F. Hansell & Bro. p. 203.

Further readingEdit

  • Holloway, Charles Edward (1993). The Death of a Dialect: Brule Spanish in Ascension Parish, Louisiana. LSU Historical Dissertations and Theses. pp. viii–ix, 43–45, 143. An extensive linguistic investigation of Brule Spanish.
  • Lestrade, Patricia Manning (1999). Trajectories in Isleño Spanish with special emphasis on the lexicon. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama. A lexical investigation of Isleño Spanish and a community survey.
  • Lipski, John M (July 1, 1990). The Language of the Isleños: Vestigial Spanish in Louisiana. Baton Rouge and London: Louisiana State University Press. ISBN 0807115347. A linguistic investigation highlighting defining characteristics of Isleño Spanish.
  • MacCurdy, Raymond R (1950). The Spanish Dialect in St. Bernard Parish, Louisiana. Albuquerque The University of New Mexico Press. ASIN B003BGM7WY. Phonetic and phonological study of Isleño Spanish with an detailed lexicon.
  • MacCurdy, Raymond R. (December 1959). "A Spanish Word-List of the "Brulis" Dwellers". Hispania. 42 (4): 547–554. doi:10.2307/335051. JSTOR 335051. A word list of Brule Spanish with its similarities to Isleño Spanish.