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Anthropologica

Print version ISSN 0254-9212

Abstract

PLATT, Tristan. From mediation without interpreters to bilingual scribes: diglossia, bilingualism and writing in the province of Chayanta (Potosí) during Bolivian Republic (1830-1950). Anthropologica [online]. 2018, vol.36, n.41, pp.145-193. ISSN 0254-9212.  http://dx.doi.org/10.18800/anthropologica.201802.006.

Bilingualism made interpreters unnecessary in early Republican Bolivia. Citizen judges of the Peace functioned as Spanish-Aymara bilingual scribes in Chayanta Province (Potosí), while new bilingual Citizen tribute-collectors (recaudadores) replaced hereditary Aymara-speaking moiety Curacas. In Peru and Ecuador tribute was abolished in the 1850s, but in Bolivia it continued till the 21st century. By the 20th century, Quechua had become the language of the Macha Ayllu, and the moieties took back the Curacazgos. This article examines the resurgence of the moiety Curaca Recaudadores, and their persistence as tribute’collectors for most of the 20th century. Macha moiety Curacas were illiterate, and monolingual in Quechua, but had Ayllu support, and could administer using bilingual mestizo scribes. They formed a Spanish-language Archive, an invaluable source for building a Republican ethnohistory of 20th century rural literacy, Ayllu organization, social movements and Ayllu-State relations. Among its 740 documents the Archive contains three Aymara-influenced circulars from La Paz, written in a Spanish-derived linguistic amalgam between 1936 and 1946. They shed light on indian political thought in a period when the Ayllu-State pact and «indian law» were being recovered, before and after the Revolution of 1952.

Keywords : bilingualism; Curacas; scribes; indigenous archives; literacy.

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