Spanish and Portuguese ETDs

Publication Date

Summer 7-21-2023


Spanish in New Mexico prior to the 1900s was the predominant language of the region that began to be displaced with the growth of the English-speaking population during the 20th century. In this dissertation I refer to the Spanish language variety that has had the longest historical presence in northern New Mexico and Southern Colorado as Traditional New Mexican Spanish (TNMS, as per Bills & Vigil, 2008). This study aims to document aspects of maintenance and change regarding TNMS. The traditional heritage variety of New Mexican Spanish is changing in many ways, evolving from what has been documented in the early pioneering studies in the Spanish language of New Mexico by Aurelio Espinoza (1911). This dissertation collects linguistic evidence of lexical merging that would indicate that Traditional New Mexican Spanish continues to undergo a process of change through dialectal leveling as its speakers interact with speakers of other dialects.

Degree Name

Spanish & Portuguese (PhD)

Level of Degree


Department Name

Spanish and Portuguese

First Committee Member (Chair)

Damian Wilson

Second Committee Member

Naomi Shin

Third Committee Member

Chris Koops

Fourth Committee Member

Daniel Villa




Spanish, New Mexico, Mexican, New Mexican, Dialect

Document Type