Media Lengua

Media Lengua, a mixed language with mostly Quechua syntax, morphology, phonology, and semantics and Spanish lexical shapes, is or was used in several distinct areas of Ecuador. My own research was mostly focused on the variety used outside of Salcedo (Cotopaxi) and this is the variety primarily cited in APiCS (the default lect). I have also discovered varieties spoken near Saraguro (Loja) and Cañar (Cañar). Subsequently, Jorge Gomez Rendón (Quito) and Jesse Stewart (Manitoba) have been exploring varieties of Media Lengua spoken mostly north of the capital Quito in the province of Imbabura which is referred to as the lect of Imbabura Media Lengua (data Gómez Rendón) in APiCS. Earlier reports suggest that Media Lengua was also spoken in Zámbiza, near Quito. It is hard to generalize across all these communities, but perhaps something like “indigenous Quechua speakers with frequent contacts with the Spanish-speaking world” comes closest. This description now holds for a great many indigenous highland people in Ecuador, and there may be varieties of Media Lengua so far unnoticed. Also speakers will not always openly acknowledge using Media Lengua. This makes it hard to give exact numbers of Media Lengua speakers. Media Lengua has not been reported outside of Ecuador, e.g. in the Peruvian or Bolivian highlands. However, forms of mixing resembling Media Lengua may be found there in special registers, e.g. bilingual songs. Also, Spanish loans with Quechua suffixes have been incorporated into Amazonian languages such as Cocama-Cocamilla, suggesting a possible earlier Media Lengua-like pidgin in the Upper Amazon basin.

No. Feature Value % lect Details Source
No. Feature Value % lect Details Source

Consonants

bilabial
labiodental
dental
dental/alveolar
dental/alveolar
affricate
palato-alveolar
retroflex
palatal
velar
labial-velar
uvular
glottal
plosive/affricatepbtdt͡sd͡zt͡ʃd͡ʒʈɖcɟkgk͡pg͡bqʔ
aspirated plosive/affricatet͡sʰt͡ʃʰ
glottalized stop/affricateɓt͡sʼt͡ʃʼ
nasalmnɳɲŋ
trill, tap or flaprɾ
fricativeɸβfvθðszʃʒxɣχh
lateral/approximantɬlɭjw

Vowels

frontnear-frontcentralnear-backback
high
higher-mid
mid
lower-mid
low

Special segments

ʎvoiced palatal lateral approximant - Exists (as a major allophone)

Legend

 Exists (as a major allophone)
 Exists only as a minor allophone
 Exists only in loanwords
 Does not exist
No. Feature Value % lect Details Source