New Mexico and Colorado Spanish Survey (NMCOSS)
Dr. Garland Bills's and Dr. Neddy Vigil's pioneering research on New Mexican Spanish has inspired many scholars in the field of Hispanic Linguistics and Southwest Studies. Professors Bills and Vigil have been pioneers of a growing trend to build corpora of spoken Spanish, an endeavor particularly important for understudied varieties such as New Mexican Spanish. The building of the NMCOSS corpus entailed the work of a team of about 18 collaborators, who, under the guidance and leadership of Professors Bills and Vigil, produced and compiled 357 interviews between 1991 and 1996. The NMCOSS corpus resulted in the publication of their linguistic atlas, The Spanish Language of New Mexico and Southern Colorado, as well as in a significant number of studies that have contributed not only to our understanding of Southwest Spanish but also to the implementation of Spanish heritage language programs in New Mexico and beyond. (For a list of publications based on this corpus, click here
). Such a large body of data has been also a crucial tool for training students of Hispanic Linguistics on usage-based approaches to linguistic theory.
However, there still remains a wealth of material in this corpus that has yet to be explored. The UNM Hispanic Linguistics program is creating research and publication opportunities for current and prospective graduate students around this corpus. The ongoing support for the NMCOSS demonstrates the commitment of the University of New Mexico's Department of Spanish & Portuguese to the preservation of New Mexican Spanish.