Examines the diversity of language usage in modern Latin America and considers historical perspectives as to how the present situation came about. Considers the dialectology of Latin America: how and why American varieties of Spanish and Portuguese differ from European varieties; the distribution and nature of dialect differences in different regions of the Americas. Examines sociolinguistic issues, such as class and ethnic differences in Spanish and Portuguese in the Americas, the origin and development of standard and nonstandard varieties, and the effects of contact with Amerindian and African languages. Considers Spanish- and Portuguese-based creoles and the question of prior creolization in the popular speech of Brazil, Cuba, and other areas with a substantial population of African decent. Other topics include bilingualism, code switching, language attitudes, the impact of contact with English, and the present status of indigenous languages.