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New Mexico-Colorado Spanish survey records

Identifier: MSS-890-BC

Scope and Content

The collection consists of both digital and paper files documenting the Spanish language and culture of New Mexico and southern Colorado in the last half of the 20th century. Materials in the collection provide a broad sampling of the language, knowledge, experiences, and perspectives of the 358 interviewees who represent the language and culture of speakers of the Traditional Spanish and Border Spanish dialects of the two states. The collection is organized into the following series:

Administrative - Arranged chronologically by date containing proposal information, project grant writing, master copies of instruments, correspondence, newspaper clippings, project data reports and research.

Placeholder p text

Linguistic Literature - Contains facsimiles and offprints of scholarly articles, bibliographies, and correspondence.

Participant Background Files and Interview Sound Recordings - Participants' (interviewees') background folders and interview recordings on CD. Background files contain information on participants including post-interview assessments, evidence of literacy, approval forms of interview (removed to CSWR accession file) and interviewer name. There are access restrictions on the Participant Background files. Interviews were originally recorded on cassette and later digitized. No access restrictions for interviews.

Lexicon Analysis Maps - Based on interviewee responses to some 700 specifically elicited lexical items with some cross-tabulation statistics. Arranged alphabetically by word.


  • circa 1909-2006
  • Majority of material found within 1991-1995

Language of Materials


Access Restrictions

The collection is available for research. Prior to being granted access to Participant Background Files researchers must sign the attached consent form, agreeing not to disclose information that would be an invasion of privacy of living individuals, not to divulge names of individuals mentioned in the diaries, and to hold harmless and to indemnify UNM and its employees for any loss or damage to them occasioned by the release of the informational content of these materials.

Copy Restrictions

Limited duplication of CSWR material is allowed for research purposes. User is responsible for compliance with all copyright, privacy, and libel laws. Permission is required for publication or distribution.

Biography / History

Neddy Vigil and Garland Bills had been colleagues in the University of New Mexico’s Department of Spanish and Portuguese for two decades before collaborating on the New Mexico-Colorado Spanish survey (NMCOSS). The goal of the project was to “document as comprehensively as possible the Spanish language spoken by U.S.-born Hispanics throughout the state of New Mexico and across sixteen counties of southern Colorado." A grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities provided funding for 3 ½ years of data collection and analysis, beginning in June 1991.

358 interviews were conducted with individuals meeting the following criteria: adult, born and raised in one locality, acquiring Spanish to some extent in their homes during childhood. The interviews represent a cross section of demographics, including age, sex, and socioeconomic level.

The two key objectives of the project were to establish a public archive at the University of New Mexico to preserve the primary data, and publication of a linguistic atlas. This archival collection represents fulfillment of the former objective and The Spanish Language of New Mexico and Southern Colorado: A Linguistic Atlas by Garland D. Bills and Neddy A. Vigil (University of New Mexico Press, 2008) fulfills the latter.


11 boxes (8 cu. ft.)


The New Mexico-Colorado Spanish survey project is the first comprehensive, quantitative survey of New Mexican Spanish as spoken by resident native speakers. 358 interviews were conducted. Results were analyzed for geographic and demographic trends. The collection consists of audio interviews, data set, maps, interview logs, articles and publications.

Project Dataset Available Online

Research data set is available in multiple formats, including delimited text and ready-to-run desktop applications using Microsoft Access and QuantumGIS for data analysis and visualization. Additionally, the structure and content of the investigators’ original Alpha Four (dBase) database application have been preserved and made available for download. This publicly available version of the data set includes brief demographic information as well as the complete set of responses to the elicitation images and discussion prompts used in the survey, amounting to over 200,000 rows of linguistic and ethnographic data suitable for geographic analysis. Some demographic analysis is also supported.

Related Archival Material

Ruben Cobos Collection of Southwestern Folklore and Folk Music Center for Southwest Research, University of New Mexico

Processing Information

Original tapes reformatted to CD.

There are no participant numbers:146, 251, 254, 347, 355, 359, 360, 362. Thus the discrepancy between last participant number and number of interviews.
Finding Aid of the New Mexico-Colorado Spanish Survey records, 1909-2006
Edited Full Draft
B. Silbergleit
© 2013
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid is in English

Revision Statements

  • Monday, 20210524: Attribute normal is missing or blank.

Repository Details

Part of the UNM Center for Southwest Research & Special Collections Repository

University of New Mexico Center for Southwest Research & Special Collections
University Libraries, MSC05 3020
1 University of New Mexico
Albuquerque NM 87131