LINGUIST List 10.929

Wed Jun 16 1999

Review: Gutierrez-Rexach & Martinez Gil: Hispanic ling

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  • David Eddington, Re: Review:Advances in Hispanic Linguistics

    Message 1: Re: Review:Advances in Hispanic Linguistics

    Date: Fri, 11 Jun 1999 19:09:21 -0500
    From: David Eddington <>
    Subject: Re: Review:Advances in Hispanic Linguistics

    Gutierrez-Rexach, Javier, and Fernando Martinez-Gil. (eds.) 1999. Advances in Hispanic Linguistics, 2 vols. Somerville, MA: Cascadilla Press. 578 pages. $40.00 U.S.

    Additional Information:

    Reviewed by David Eddington,

    Advances in Hispanic Linguistics comprises a collection of 37 papers which were originally presented at the Second Hispanic Linguistics Symposium at the Ohio State University, in October 1998. Volume one contains studies in the fields of phonology, sociolinguistics, historical linguistics, morphology, and applied linguistics. Contributors include many well-established scholars, (e.g. Rafael A. Nunez-Cedeno, Jose Ignacio Hualde, John Lipski, and others), as well as up-and-coming researchers whose influence is beginning to be felt. Contributions range from groundbreaking studies to reanalyses of well-worn topics, to less substantial studies. Nevertheless, this first volume provides insight into many cutting-edge topics and gives an overview of the present state of the field of Hispanic Linguistics.

    Three studies are in the area of second language acquisition. Marisol Fernandez Garcia studies gender errors made by third-year college students. James F. Lee reports a study in which he applied a think aloud procedure to determine how comprehension and input processing interact in a reading comprehension task. In both studies, a great deal of intersubject variability was found. Ronald P. Leow reviews 23 studies on the role of attention in second language acquisition. These studies are evaluated in terms of the strengths and weakness of their internal and external validity. Suggestions are given on how future studies can improve in these areas.

    A number of issues in Spanish phonology have received new interpretations within the framework of Optimality Theory (OT). For example, John M. Lipski shows how dialectal differences in s-reduction ( s > h > deletion) may be attributable to different constraint orderings. The same variability in these orderings may also account for nasal velarization differences cross-dialectally. Alfonso Morales-Front demonstrates that consonant harmony, metathesis, and melodic harmony, of the type found in young children's speech, are best explained as templates based on alignment constraints, as opposed to the spread of features. Carlos-Eduardo Pineros provides an OT analysis of a Pig Latin-type game called Jerigonza. Two studies focus on the ever sticky hiatus versus diphthong issue in Spanish. Sonia Colina makes use of correspondence relations in OT to account for variations such as [di.a.blo] versus [dja.blo]. Her analysis lends credence to the idea that glides are not phonemic in Spanish. Jose Ignacio Hualde examines the issue as well, and discusses the contexts in which hiatus most often occurs, and some possible motivations for it.

    Several contributions to Spanish sociolinguistics are included in the volume. Mary Ellen Garcia traces the development of 'nomas' into Latin American Spanish, and documents its functions in San Antonio Spanish. Diane Ringer Uber reports her findings on the uses of forms of address (tu, Usted and vos) in business settings, in five large cities in Latin America. She focuses on how solidarity and power relationships influence the choice of term of address. Rafael A. Nunez-Cedeno demonstrates that men and women are equally likely to use masculine pronouns in ambiguous contexts. Robert M. Hammond provides evidence that the voiced alveolar multiple vibrant [rr] is actually a highly uncommon pronunciation of /rr/. This contrasts with the widely-held notion that [rr] is the standard realization.

    The role of certain linguistic units has been (re)examined in several contributions. Steven Lee Hartman examines 'solo' as a focuser and diminisher, along with its movement away from its operand and toward the front of the sentence. Regina Morin challenges the idea that Spanish nouns have word-final markers. She demonstrates that the criteria proposed to distinguish between words which end in word markers and those that do not, do not hold up under closer scrutiny. Holly J. Nibert provides evidence that there is intermediate phrasing in Spanish intonation, and that native speakers make use of these cues to disambiguate different semantic interpretations of a sentence.

    In the diachronic realm, Ray Harris-Northall discusses the 13th century move from Latin to Romance documents in Spain. He notes that this gradual move was not instituted by decree, but was the result of sweeping social and political forces which forced scribes to cut corners by writing documents in Romance, instead of making latinate versions of them. D. Eric Holt offers an analysis in which consonant degemination, loss of vowel length, and vocalization of syllable-final velars are attributed to the same forces. In an OT framework, he argues that they are due to progressively tighter constraints on moriac consonants. Thomas J. Walsh traces the origin of 'atinar'. He demonstrates that its common medieval meaning was 'to guess,' and that it evolved from DIUINARE 'to guess, to divine' by regular phonetic evolution, making it a doublet of 'adivinar'.

    Finally, Frank Nuessel analyses the Quijote for linguistic and metalinguistic commentary made by the characters and narrator, and finds a surprising amount of commentary, some of which sheds light on the linguistic milieu of the period.

    The reviewer, David Eddington, is an Associate Professor of Spanish Linguistics at Mississippi State University. He is particularly interested in experimental and cognitive approaches to phonology and morphology. ============================== David Eddington P.O. Box 181 Mississippi State, MS 39762 (601)325-8212 ==============================