The Contact Diffusion of Linguistic Practices:Reference Frames in Mesoamerica

Jürgen Bohnemeyer, Katharine T. Donelson, Randi E. Moore, Elena Benedicto, Alyson Eggleston, Carolyn K. O'Meara, Gabriela Pérez Báez, Alejandra Capistrán Garza, Néstor Hernández Green, María De Jesús Selene Hernández Gómez, Samuel Herrera Castro, Enrique Palancar, Gilles Polian, Rodrigo Romero Méndez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


We examine the extent to which practices of language use may be diffused through language contact and areally shared, using data on spatial reference frame use by speakers of eight indigenous languages from in and around the Mesoamerican linguistic area and three varieties of Spanish. Regression models show that the frequency of L2-Spanish use by speakers of the indigenous languages predicts the use of relative reference frames in the L1 even when literacy and education levels are accounted for. A significant difference in frame use between the Mesoamerican and non-Mesoamerican indigenous languages further supports the contact diffusion analysis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)169-201
Number of pages33
JournalLanguage Dynamics and Change
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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