One potential research project is the study of how Spanish developed throughout Latino-America and in the United States. How derivations of the language came to develop differently, in some cases drastically due to other influences in their respective regions. Spanish is a unifying aspect of many latin countries and thus many latino-americanos, except Brazil, Suriname, Guyana, and French Guiana who do not speak Spanish prominently. Amongst all these Spanish speaking countries there are slight differences that make one’s nationality at times very differentiable, different accents, different pronunciations, different words, etc.
I want to understand the creolization process that caused Spanish in the Americas to divide from Spain’s form of Spanish. What words were adopted from indigenous languages? which were influenced by african slaves and their respective languages? what impact did English have on Spanish?
A source on Credo states that Mexican-Spanish extends far beyond its borders. That is interesting because in the United States being one of its biggest immigrant communities their “dialect or derivation” of Spanish is quite prominent, in some instances adopting “spanglish” terms created in the United States normalizing their use. Wikipedia offers a generalized summary of where Spanish has spread to globally giving information of what is considered a Spanish speaker, Native speaker, 1st, 2nd or even 3rd Language speaker. It also mentions other forms of languages derived from Spain spoken outside of the Americas.
Another interesting research topic is the interactions and social relations of Indigenous tribes in Latin America, with a focus on Guatemala and Mexico. I want to understand the stigma or lack thereof behind being indigenous in two countries where Indigenous cultural aspects are prominent in mainstream culture. Where it is socially and in certain situations politically “okay” to discriminate against indigenous tribes. In Guatemala demographically, Wikipedia states that both Mestizo and Indigenous populations are close to the same percentage, at 41.0% and 41.5%. Only separated by a portion of the population classified as “white”, 18%. In Mexico, on the other hand the Ethnicity and Race portion states, “Mexico is ethnically diverse; with people of several ethnicities being united under a single national identity. The core part of Mexican national identity is formed on the basis of a synthesis of cultures, primarily European culture and indigenous cultures, in a process known as mestizaje” They do not have a clear definition of who is considered “indigenous” with percentages of the population labeled as such differing depending on the context.
But understanding why interactions and socio-political relations are the way they are is an extremely personal and interesting topic to pursue, especially considering I am on a personal journey of understanding my own ancestry. It would allow me to develop my own thoughts on issues throughout Guatemala before one day exploring my family’s homeland.