Thèse : A linguistic analysis of colonial documents from New Galicia: 1561–1647


  • Kania, Sonia
  • Harris-Northall, Ray. Directeur


The current study, a linguistic analysis of a corpus of documents from New Galicia, sheds light on the history of American Spanish in general and Mexican Spanish in particular. The legal documents of this corpus—247 folios divided into 22 legajos—deal with matters under the jurisdiction of the Audiencia of New Galicia, a court of appeals with judicial and administrative authority over the area. The study includes the semi-paleographic transcription of the documents with a list of legajo descriptions (Chapter 2). The bulk of the study analyzes the principal linguistic aspects of the language represented in those documents: phonology (Chapter 3), morphosyntax (Chapter 4), and lexis (Chapter 5).

The phonological analysis of the language of the documents reveals conservative orthographic practices related to the archaizing nature of legal texts. However, certain phonological phenomena now associated with popular language are also attested. More importantly, the phonological study reveals that New Galician Spanish of the 16th and 17th centuries was influenced by Andalusian Spanish, thus providing further support for the Andalusianist theory of the origins of American Spanish.

The morphosyntactic analysis of the language of these 16th- and 17th-century documents reveals the general practices that were characteristic of the Spanish of the time period in question on both sides of the Atlantic. Also attested are certain tendencies that were characteristic of earlier periods of the language and whose use is undoubtedly linked to the legal nature of the texts.

The lexical study of the documents shows a language characterized by a certain archaism and formality of tone, qualities that are enhanced through the use of legal formulas, Latin expressions, and antiquated words. However, informal expressions and popular forms are also attested. Moreover, the documents of this corpus show the usage of several words of indigenous origin and of other Americanisms.

The remaining components of the present study include an introduction (Chapter 1), conclusions (Chapter 6), and appendices. Appendix 1 contains the concordances of all word forms found in the corpus, Appendix 2 provides an index of the personal names, while Appendix 3 contains an index of the place-names.

Informations pratiques

  • The University of Wisconsin – Madison, 2000
  • 2 vol. (VI-1724 p.)
  • PhD : Philosophy : University of Wisconsin-Madison : 2000


OpenEdition vous propose de citer ce billet de la manière suivante :
Olivier Jacquot (2 février 2023). Thèse : A linguistic analysis of colonial documents from New Galicia: 1561–1647. Amoxcalli. Consulté le 24 juillet 2024 à l’adresse

Olivier Jacquot

Chargé de collections : manuscrits des fonds américains, Service des manuscrits ORientaux (SOR), département des Manuscrits (MSS), Bibliothèque nationale de France (BnF)

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