Graduate Courses in Hispanic Linguistics

SPAN 502: Historia de la lengua española

Estudiaremos la evolución diacrónica de la variedad románica que hoy llamamos español, desde sus orígenes en el latín hasta el uso actual. Los estudiantes aprenderán a realizar estudios cuantitativos sobre la evolución lingüística basados en un corpus lingüístico. Se incluirán las siguientes unidades temáticas: (1) Cambio fonológico y fonético; (2) Cambio morfosintáctico; (3) El contexto social del cambio lingüístico; (4) Mecanismos de cambio (ej. extensión analógica, extensión semántica, gramaticalización).

SPAN 541: Research on Teaching Spanish

This course is an introduction to the fundamental principles of effective Spanish language instruction. This course prepares graduate teaching assistants at the Department of Spanish and Portuguese to teach first and second year of Spanish at the post-secondary college level. The course is based on theory, research and current practices in the teaching and learning of Spanish. The course has been designed to prepare students to create Spanish lesson plans and teaching activities, develop assessment instruments, incorporate technology in language instruction, and conduct research in the classroom. Students also learn how to evaluate their own teaching practices in the Spanish language classroom via collaboration, observation and reflection of different teaching practices.

SPAN 545: Spanish Phonology

In this course we examine current issues in laboratory approaches to Spanish phonology and Spanish Sociophonetics. This course begins with a review of the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) and then looks at a number of phonological processes that are routinely examined in different varieties of Spanish; knowledge of these processes can be employed to distinguish between the major dialectal zones of the Spanish-speaking world. We will use the recommended textbook (Hualde) to identify how these processes are categorized in traditional phonological terms, while the majority of readings will employ instrumental analysis of phonetic variables. The majority of readings will deal with Spanish, but readings on other languages (Romance and non-Romance) may occasionally be assigned. This class will also have a strong laboratory component, in which students will use Praat and complete short assignments with acoustic analyses to complement the readings. Upon completion of this course, students should gain a strong understanding of the phonological processes in the Spanish language, know how to describe them, and be able to use Praat to carry out acoustical analysis.

SPAN 546: Introducción a la Sociolingüística Hispánica

This course is an introduction to the theoretical and practical foundations of sociolinguistic variation (dialectal, social, dialect/language contact) in primarily Spanish-speaking communities. During the semester, students are introduced to theoretical and methodological concepts of sociolinguistic research (types of linguistic variation, types of variables, the sociolinguistic variable, sampling, types of instruments for the collection of data, types of corpora, etc.), to linguistic analysis, and to the sociolinguistic variation of Spanish features (phonological, morphosyntactic, discursive). The course centers on the correlation of linguistic variables with linguistic and non-linguistic factors primarily from a variationist perspective. In this process, the students will learn how to carry out investigations on linguistic variation.

SPAN 547: Spanish of New Mexico

Focusing on speech communities of New Mexico, this course will present a survey of scholarly research in sociolinguistics, sociology of the language, and Spanish as a heritage language. The overarching goal is to familiarize the students with multiple aspects of the Spanish in New Mexico and how it has been researched. What is the past, the present, and the future situation for Spanish in the New Mexico region? How has contact with English affected the speech community? What makes New Mexican Spanish unique? Topics examined will include language variation, bilingual practices such as code-switching, language attitudes, socio-historical factors in language transmission, and dialectal features of the Spanish of the New Mexico. The class will examine quantitative and qualitative work in the fields of sociology of language, dialectology, language history, and variationist sociolinguistics. Another goal is to train graduate students in linguistic research through four hands-on analyses of data and through a research-based final project.

SPAB 547: Southwest Spanish

Focusing on speech communities of Spanish speakers of the Southwest, this course will present a survey of scholarly research in sociolinguistics, sociology of the language, and Spanish as a heritage language. The overarching goal is to familiarize the students with the sociopolitical history of Spanish in the Southwest and how it has been researched. Topics covered will include language variation, code-switching, language attitudes, socio-historical factors in language transmission, and dialectal features of the Spanish of the Southwest. Also, through participation in class activities and assignments, the students will focus on their own professionalization.

Spanish 549: Topics on Bilingualism

This graduate-level seminar examines Spanish-English bilingualism, and addresses several processes that shape bilinguals’grammar, such as cross-linguistic influence, simplification, and functional adaptation. There will also be a unit on bilingual language acquisition during childhood. Broad implications for theories of language contact, bilingualism, and acquisition will be considered. Applications of current research on bilingualism will be addressed in a unit on teaching grammar to Spanish English bilinguals. Class activities will include group discussions of readings, data analysis of bilingual discourse, and student presentations.

SPAN 549: Advanced Topics in Spanish Phonology

This course surveys the wide range of work exploring phonological phenomena from a usage-based (functionalist) perspective. The emphasis will be on the interaction of phonological phenomena with the lexicon, both in terms of how phonological phenomena are reflected in lexically-specific ways and in terms of what phonology can tell us about the nature and size of lexical units. We will try to understand the nature of mental storage of the phonological properties of language, turning to many sources of evidence, such as phonetic, psycholinguistic, experimental, acquisition, and diachronic.

SPAN 549: Spanish Morphosyntax

This course examines several major issues in Spanish morphosyntax from a functional-typological perspective. The aim of this course is to provide the students of Hispanic linguistics with: (i) a good understanding of key issues in Spanish morphosyntax, and (ii) the essential analytical skills to find patterns in data. Our analysis of Spanish morphosyntax will be informed by an examination of the diversity of grammatical constructions across languages, with an eye on what structural generalizations hold crosslinguistically, and what these generalizations tell us about the nature of language. We will discuss how Spanish word formation strategies, constituent order alternations, clause combining mechanisms, voice constructions, the pronominal system, among others, fit within current morphological and syntactic typologies.

SPAN 549: Frequency Effects- Linguistic Structure

This course surveys the wide range of work on frequency and its influence on language structure. The focus is primarily the influence on phonologies, but other areas of language such as morphology and syntax will also be addressed. The class will cover five themes: 1) Early observations with regard to frequency and sound change, 2) the development of usage-based models of phonology such as the Exemplar Model, 3) Lexical frequency in morphology and other areas, 4) The interface between frequency and predictability 5) Recent psycholinguistic experiments that investigate the role of frequency in lexical decision tasks and reaction time, 6) Lexical frequency vs. age-of-acquisition, and 7) Available tools and corpora for lexical frequency analysis.

Spanish 549: Childhood Bilingualism

This graduate-level seminar examines various aspects of bilingual language acquisition, including phonology, morphology, and syntax. Several prominent theoretical questions are explored: Do linguistic systems develop similarly among monolingual and bilingual children? How do the linguistic systems interact, e.g. transfer, code-switching, etc? What happens to children’s first language when they acquire a second language? Are there cognitive advantages associated with bilingual development? Pedagogical implications of the various theoretical points are also considered.

SPAN 549: Language Contact

In situations of intense language contact virtually any linguistic phenomena can be transferred from one language to another. What then determines the linguistic outcome of language contact? Can “anything happen” language-internally given enough social pressure? What discourse strategies and cultural practices facilitate or block the transfer of features across languages? What happens in situations of linguistic exogamy where people are culturally required to marry outside their speech community (i.e. Vaupés in Amazonia)? What happens when groups of people from very different language backgrounds have to trade (i.e. Pacific Northwest)? What happens when different ethnic groups are forced to live in mission settlements (i.e. Australia)? In this seminar we will explore the origins and development of various outcomes of language contact from both sociocultural and structural perspectives. We will examine the notion of linguistic area or Sprachbünde, and survey well-documented linguistic areas in the world. Themes to be covered include: areal diffusion and genetic inheritance; grammaticalization induced by contact; the genesis of pidgins, creoles, koines, and mixed languages; among others.