LINGUIST List 24.4351|
Sat Nov 02 2013
Review: Applied Linguistics; General Linguistics; Spanish: Hualde, Olarrea & O'Rourke
Editor for this issue: Rajiv Rao
From: Benjamin Schmeiser <schmeiserilstu.edu>
Subject: The Handbook of Hispanic Linguistics
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Book announced at http://linguistlist.org/issues/23/23-2458.html
AUTHOR: José Ignacio Hualde
AUTHOR: Antxon Olarrea
AUTHOR: Erin O'Rourke
TITLE: The Handbook of Hispanic Linguistics
SERIES TITLE: Blackwell Handbooks in Linguistics
REVIEWER: Benjamin Schmeiser, Illinois State University
This handbook fills a current gap in the field in that it updates the field of
Hispanic Linguistics. The handbook is ideal for researchers and the language
used assumes some linguistics background. Though technical, it is accessible
for graduate students and upper-division undergraduates. Areas represented
range from phonetics and phonology, morphology, syntax, and semantics to
sociolinguistics and psycholinguistics. The handbook commences with a Table of
Contents, followed by a list of figures, a list of tables, notes on the
contributors, and a brief editors’ note. There are forty chapters in the
handbook; chapters are not organized into units nor are they ordered by area.
Each chapter begins with an introduction to the topics of the chapter and
offers a conclusion that summarizes the chapter, with many chapters including
final remarks and/or considerations for further research; in addition, each
chapter ends with a bibliography. The handbook ends with an index.
Chapter 1, GEOGRAPHICAL AND SOCIAL VARIETIES OF SPANISH: AN OVERVIEW, consists
of an overview of the geographical and social varieties of Spanish by John
Lipski. The author walks the reader through the different dialect divisions
within Spain and Latin America. He goes on to discuss core issues in phonetics
and phonology whose presence or absence often mark a particular variety (e.g.
realizations of coda consonants). The chapter continues with sections on
intonational differences, regional and social morphosyntactic differentiation,
and lexical variation.
Chapter 2, THE SPANISH-BASED CREOLES, by J. Clancy Clements commences with a
more general discussion of creoles and pidgins and follows it with in-depth
discussion on three creoles in Spanish, namely Palenquero (Colombia),
Papiamentu (Aruba, Bonaire, and Curaçao), and Zamboangueño (Phillippines).
Clements then compares the three with regard to the noun phrase (NP) and verb
Chapter 3, SPANISH AMONG THE IBERO-ROMANCE LANGUAGES, is written by
Christopher J. Pountain and offers a historical perspective of Spanish. The
author discusses the evolution of Spanish from its origins and then considers
the influence of other Ibero-Romance languages on Spanish (the author uses
‘Castilian’) and vice versa.
In Chapter 4, SPANISH IN CONTACT WITH AMERINDIAN LANGUAGES, Anna María Escobar
introduces the chapter with a historical perspective and then offers an
overview of Amerindian languages. She then goes on to discuss Spanish contact
in grammatical features with Quechua, the Mayan languages, Guarani, Nahuatl,
and Mapudungun. Escobar also includes a section in which she compares
countries with high indigenous populations in sociolinguistic terms.
Chapter 5, THE PHONEMES OF SPANISH, is authored by Rebeka Campos-Astorkiza.
The chapter consists of the vowel and consonant inventories and also includes
an intriguing section on quasi-phonemic contrast in which the author compares
glides to high vowels and treats the phonemic status of the voiced palatal
fricative ~ voiced palatal plosive.
In Chapter 6, MAIN PHONOLOGICAL PROCESSES, Fernando Martínez-Gil begins with a
section on nasal and lateral assimilation. He then discusses voiced
obstruents, and voicing assimilation, followed by complete assimilation.
Sonia Colina follows in Chapter 7, SYLLABLE STRUCTURE. Colina states in the
introduction that “the aim of this chapter is to present an overview of the
state of the art in Spanish syllabification rather than a detailed comparison
of competing analyses” (pp. 133-134). The author then clearly lays out the
formal representation of the syllable, treats sonority and syllabic structure,
and onsets and onset clusters. She then goes on to consider resyllabification,
followed by nuclei and complex nuclei. She concludes with sections on codas
and syllable structure and morphology.
In Chapter 8, STRESS AND RHYTHM, José Ignacio Hualde begins by offering the
definition and functions of stress. In following sections, he treats stress
and rhythm in great detail and clarity. One particularly appreciates the
sections on stress in compounds and secondary stress.
In Chapter 9, INTONATION IN SPANISH, Erin O’Rourke first defines intonation
and then looks at Spanish intonation structure, with separate sections on
declaratives, interrogatives, exclamatives and imperatives, and narrow focus
and topicalization. She also offers clear illustrations of intonation
contours. Besides discussing dialect differences and Spanish in contact with
other languages, she also considers language acquisition.
David Eddington authors Chapter 10, MORPHOPHONOLOGICAL ALTERNATIONS, in which
he gives a historical perspective on diphthongization, discusses diminutive
formation, and evaluates velar and coronal softening, as well as nasal and
Chapter 11, DERIVATION AND COMPOUNDING, is written by Soledad Varela. In terms
of derivation, the author considers the different types (i.e. affixal
derivation and non-affixal derivation), along with suffixation, and
prefixation. Varela elaborates on derivation argument structure, aspect, and
affix ordering. With regard to compounding, the author discusses constituents,
traditional classifications, and expounds upon different compound types. She
ends with a thorough discussion on the internal structure of compounding.
In Chapter 12, MORPHOLOGICAL STRUCTURE OF VERBAL FORMS, Manuel Pérez Saldanya
treats verbal inflexion by reviewing the grammatical categories of verbal
forms and verb tenses, along with nonpersonal forms. He then treats person and
number markers and then logically transitions to Tense, Aspect, and Mood
(TAM). In addition, Pérez Saldanya discusses theme vowel and thematic base. He
concludes with a section on the main irregularities of verbal inflection.
In Chapter 13, FORMS OF ADDRESS, Bob de Jonge and Dorien Nieuwenhuijsen offer
a quick overview on forms of address in Modern Spanish, and then the authors
explain forms of address in terms of their historical formation. They go on to
offer separate sections that address specific characteristics of the forms
within Spain as well as Latin America.
M. Carme Picallo authors Chapter 14, STRUCTURE OF THE NOUN PHRASE. After
introductory remarks, the author covers the argument structure of nouns,
followed by the functional structure of nominals. For the latter, she includes
subsections on derivation, inflection, and the gender controversy. Picallo
then concludes by treating adnominal adjectives.
Chapter 15, INDEFINITENESS AND SPECIFICITY, is authored by Manuel Leonetti.
The author considers nouns without determination and follows this section up
with a section on indefiniteness that includes ample discussion on the
indefinite article and another on Spanish indefinite determiners. Leonetti
then turns his attention to specificity. Whereas one section studies the
specific/non-specific distinction, another offers detailed description of
In Chapter 16, QUANTIFICATION, Javier Gutiérrez-Rexach introduces reference
and quantification, which is then followed by a section on constraints on
determiner denotations. The third section offers a discussion on quantifier
classes and the fourth section develops scope, polyadicity, and plurality. The
following sections cover quantification as it pertains to dynamics, questions,
and degree, respectively.
Jaume Mateu authors Chapter 17, STRUCTURE OF THE VERB PHRASE. Mateu includes
two sections beyond the introductory one. In one section, he considers the
argument structure and the syntactic decomposition of VP; in the other, we see
the different paths and results within the syntactic decomposition of VP.
Chapter 18, TENSE AND ASPECT, is authored by Karen Zagona. In the first part
of the chapter, Zagona expounds upon tense in semantic terms. She divides
sections by ‘past tense’ on one hand, and ‘nonpast tenses’ (i.e. present,
future, and conditional) on the other; she concludes the first part with a
section on embedded clauses. She then turns to aspect and notes in the
beginning that traditional grammars do not include discussion on the contrast
between telic and atelic events.
In Chapter 19, MOOD: INDICATIVE VS. SUBJUNCTIVE, Ignacio Bosque briefly
describes the two moods, and then includes a fascinating discussion based on a
question, “Is it possible to unify subjunctive meanings?” He concludes the
section by noting that trying to ask this question in semantic terms is
disappointing; if we choose to answer it in ‘restrictive syntactic terms’,
Bosque reminds us that the “classical idea that subjunctive is the mood of
subordination is still correct” (pp. 378-379). He then discusses, in separate
sections, mood as it pertains to lexical selection, locality, scope, and
Chapter 20, THE SIMPLE SENTENCE, is authored by Héctor Campos. The author
commences with a detailed classification and explanation of sentences
according to the “attitude” (author’s quotes, p. 396) of the speaker. Campos
then ends with a discussion on dubitative and probability sentences.
In Chapter 21, CLITICS IN SPANISH, Francisco Ordóñez defines clitics in the
first two sections, and then discusses their position in the sentence in terms
of proclisis and enclisis. The author then discusses clitics in terms of their
movement, doubling, and combinations.
José Camacho takes on ‘ser’ and ‘estar’ in Chapter 22, SER AND ESTAR: THE
INDIVIDUAL/STAGE-LEVEL DISTINCTION AND ASPECTUAL PREDICATION. In his
introduction, the author makes note of stage-level (SL) and individual-level
(IL) predicates. Camacho then goes on to show the distribution of the two
verbs in both their non-overlapping and overlapping contexts. In the following
section, he develops the aforementioned concepts of SL and IL predicates.
Next, he proposes a formalization based on these concepts. The chapter ends
with two separate sections on locative prepositional phrase (PP) predicates
Chapter 23, PASSIVES AND SE CONSTRUCTIONS, is authored by Amaya Mendikoetxea.
The author introduces the chapter by classifying the different uses of ‘se’.
She then considers the status of ‘se’. She follows with a discussion of both
syntactic and semantic observations on arbitrary ‘se’ constructions (i.e.
passives, impersonals, and middles), as well as the same observations on
anaphoric “se” (p. 487) constructions.
In Chapter 24, COORDINATION AND SUBORDINATION, Ricardo Etxepare examines the
two concepts, and then utilizes the first part of the chapter to discuss
subordination in terms of mood, treat infinitive dependents, and gauge the
status of the finite complementizer. With regard to coordination, the author
considers a number of topics, including asymmetries in coordination.
Jerid Francom authors Chapter 25, WH-MOVEMENT: INTERROGATIVES, EXCLAMATIVES,
AND RELATIVES. Francom examines wh-movement as it pertains to interrogatives,
exclamatives, and relatives. He then offers a theoretical discussion in which
he addresses three questions that researchers are trying to answer, namely: i)
Where do Wh-words appear in the clause structure?; ii) What formal properties
do matrix and embedded complementizer phrases share?; and iii) What is the
nature of the relationship between Wh-operators and antecedent trace positions
across clause boundaries? (p. 546).
Chapter 26, BINDING: DEIXIS, ANAPHORS, PRONOMINALS, is written by Luis Eguren.
The author considers deixis and, in the following section, gives a background
on binding theory. He goes on to discuss anaphors and pronominals in
subsequent sections. He concludes by elaborating on the problem of
In Chapter 27, EMPTY CATEGORIES AND ELLIPSIS, Josep María Brucart and Jonathan
E. Macdonald discuss elliptical constructions concisely and then discuss in
great detail the gaps that arise from the process of ellipsis.
Chapter 28, WORD ORDER AND INFORMATION STRUCTURE, is authored by Antxon
Olarrea. The author discusses free word order in Spanish and then treats
subject-verb-object (SVO) order and information structure. He then discusses
topic and focus structures before offering formal accounts that attempt to
explain how they work.
In Chapter 29, SPEECH ACTS, Victoria Escandell-Vidal first treats speech acts
through an examination of sentence type and illocutionary force, followed by a
section on illocutionary force and politeness. The author ends the chapter
with discussion on cognition and inferential processes.
Chapter 30, DISCOURSE SYNTAX, is written by Catherine E. Travis and Rena
Torres Cacoulus. The authors discuss syntactic patterning under the lens of
discourse function. They examine information flow for NPs, transitivity, treat
referentiality in discourse, go over constructions and prefabs, and end with a
section on variation in first-person singular subject expression.
In Chapter 31, HISTORICAL MORPHOSYNTAX AND GRAMMATICALIZATION, Concepción
Company Company begins by discussing the scope of morphosyntactic change. She
then treats grammaticalization and offers a traditional definition, as well as
a complementary one. Next, she goes on to explain innovative form, and ends
with discussion on the role of reanalysis in grammaticalization.
Conxita Lleó authors Chapter 32, FIRST LANGUAGE ACQUISITION OF SPANISH SOUNDS
AND PROSODY. The author discusses and updates the reader on the field,
specifically as it pertains to Spanish, and also includes different approaches
in research. In addition, she offers an intriguing section on the acquisition
of segments, as well as one on prosody.
Chapter 33, SPANISH AS A SECOND LANGUAGE AND TEACHING METHODOLOGIES, is
authored by Cristina Sanz. The author details the history of the teaching of
Spanish and then discusses three currently-implemented approaches, namely
Task-based instruction, Processing Instruction, and Content-based Instruction.
She then treats pedagogical research, in which I draw particular attention to
her subsection on key issues in processing-oriented pedagogical SLA research.
In Chapter 34, THE L2 ACQUISITION OF SPANISH PHONETICS AND PHONOLOGY, Miquel
Simonet introduces the chapter by noting that this area of Hispanic
Linguistics has been understudied. He then discusses the research that has
been conducted. In the following two sections, he discusses studies on Spanish
vowels and consonants, respectively.
Silvina Montrul offers Chapter 35, THEORETICAL PERSPECTIVES ON THE L2
ACQUISITION OF SPANISH, in which she discusses the learning challenges of
second language acquisition, and then examines two major theoretical
positions, namely nativism and empiricism. Additionally, Montrul offers an
entire section dedicated to empirical evidence on L2 acquisition of
morphosyntax and lexical semantics, and then follows it with a section
entitled, ‘Discussion’, in which she evaluates both of the aforementioned
Chapter 36, SPANISH AS A HERITAGE LANGUAGE, is authored by María M. Carreira.
The author offers a timeline from the Limited Normative Approach in the 1930s
to the Comprehensive Approach in 1978. She then reviews and discusses research
from the 1990s and early 2000s, as well as important advances at the beginning
of the new millennium, before ending by updating the reader on recent
developments in the field.
In Chapter 37, ACQUISITION OF SPANISH IN BILINGUAL CONTEXTS, Carmen
Silva-Corvalán engages the reader in a discussion of simultaneous and
sequential bilingualism. She then brings up ‘bilingual first language
acquisition’ and considers research questions on the subject. She also
examines contextual factors in the development of child bilingualism. Next,
she discusses bilingual children’s language development. In the following two
sections, the author expands on research methods on bilingual first language
acquisition and offers case studies on morphosyntactic development.
Chapter 38, READING WORDS AND SENTENCES IN SPANISH, is authored by Manual
Carreiras, Jon Andoni Duñabeitia, and Nicola Molinaro. The authors give an
overview of research that has been done on reading in Spanish, presenting some
of the basic findings with regard both to word reading and sentence
Chapter 39, LANGUAGE IMPAIRMENTS, is authored by José Manuel Igoa. After
introducing the topic, the author discusses spoken language impairments,
written language impairments, and language impairments in bilingual speakers
with direct regard to Spanish. The author finishes with a section of
development disorders, focusing on Specific Language Impairment.
In Chapter 40, LEXICAL ACCESS IN SPANISH AS A FIRST AND SECOND LANGUAGE,
Albert Costa, Iva Ivanova, Cristina Baus, and Nuria Sebastián-Gallés treat
bilingual cognitive research and examine lexical access in speech production
and lexical access in speech production in Spanish in bilingual contexts. They
follow with a section on language control in bilingual contexts with Spanish
as L1 and L2, along with another section on learning Spanish in an immersion
The arrival of ‘The Handbook of Hispanic Linguistics’ was highly anticipated
before its publication in 2012 and it exceeds expectation. It is novel in that
it is the first known attempt to create a handbook on the vast field of
Hispanic Linguistics. Not only does the handbook successfully present the
reader with state-of-the-art research, but it also offers a superb overview
and bibliography of our field. In short, it is an invaluable resource for the
field; we are indebted to the editors and authors for taking on this
The handbook truly fills a previous gap in that it contains forty chapters
from many areas of Hispanic Linguistics and they were written by some of the
finest researchers our field has to offer. The editors state that the handbook
“is intended to present the state of the art research in all aspects of the
Spanish language” (p. xxi) and the editors and authors unequivocally meet this
objective. In what follows, I discuss the handbook’s many merits and minor
Though each chapter is written by a different author(s), the writing style is
uniform, which is one of the book’s highest merits. As previously mentioned,
the writing is technical enough so that the handbook is appropriate for
researchers in the field, yet it is an excellent companion for professors and
students (advanced undergraduate and graduate) alike. Though it is technical,
it is didactic and offers extensive detail to ensure clarity in the writing,
while also educating the reader on the particular topic and piquing his/her
interest on the subject matter.
Another merit of the handbook is the breadth of areas included. There are over
850 pages of text, however, material rarely overlaps or seems repeated. Beyond
the expected chapters on phonetics and phonology, morpho-syntax, semantics,
and sociolinguistics, there are chapters on Spanish as a heritage language,
first and second language acquisition, pedagogy, and language impairments.
In terms of the handbook’s shortcomings, there are few and they are all minor.
First, I know that many handbooks/manuals do not organize the material into
units, as textbooks often do. That said, I would have liked to see some
elaboration in the editors’ note regarding topic selection for the handbook,
along with a listing of chapters for each area of Hispanic Linguistics
represented in the handbook. For this first edition, the area of each chapter
(e.g. phonetics) is not included in the table of contents; as such, the
prospective buyer has to peruse the table of contents and assess which areas
are included and in how many chapters. The addition of an ‘Introduction’
chapter to the handbook or an editors’ note with more elaboration would
resolve this issue.
In terms of language, I realize that English is the most common language of
publication in Linguistics. However, some might note as a shortcoming the fact
that a handbook about Hispanic Linguistics is not available in Spanish. It
might be beneficial in the future to offer the handbook in both Spanish and
English to increase readership.
I end this section with a minor stylistic comment. In the table of contents, I
would suggest extra spacing between each chapter; in its current state, it is
a bit difficult to discern between chapters, along with their consequent page
To conclude, I note that this handbook is part of the prestigious series
entitled, ‘Blackwell Handbooks in Linguistics’ and is an essential reference
for professors and students alike. This review is for the hardcover (2012)
edition; the paperback edition is due out in early 2014.
ABOUT THE REVIEWER
Benjamin Schmeiser is an associate professor of Spanish Linguistics at
Illinois State University. He earned his PhD in Spanish Linguistics, with a
specialization in Phonetics and Phonology, from the University of California,
Davis in 2006. His research interests include Phonetics and Phonology, Pedagogy, Second
Language Acquisition, Sociolinguistics, Historical Linguistics, and Romance
Linguistics. His recent publications have concentrated on consonant clusters
in Spanish, Portuguese, and Pali; podcast usage in the classroom; and synonymy
in Contemporary United States Spanish.
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