LINGUIST List 24.4351

Sat Nov 02 2013

Review: Applied Linguistics; General Linguistics; Spanish: Hualde, Olarrea & O'Rourke

Editor for this issue: Rajiv Rao <>

Date: 30-Jul-2013
From: Benjamin Schmeiser <>
Subject: The Handbook of Hispanic Linguistics
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Book announced at

AUTHOR: José Ignacio HualdeAUTHOR: Antxon OlarreaAUTHOR: Erin O'RourkeTITLE: The Handbook of Hispanic LinguisticsSERIES TITLE: Blackwell Handbooks in LinguisticsPUBLISHER: Wiley-BlackwellYEAR: 2012

REVIEWER: Benjamin Schmeiser, Illinois State University


This handbook fills a current gap in the field in that it updates the field ofHispanic Linguistics. The handbook is ideal for researchers and the languageused assumes some linguistics background. Though technical, it is accessiblefor graduate students and upper-division undergraduates. Areas representedrange from phonetics and phonology, morphology, syntax, and semantics tosociolinguistics and psycholinguistics. The handbook commences with a Table ofContents, followed by a list of figures, a list of tables, notes on thecontributors, and a brief editors’ note. There are forty chapters in thehandbook; chapters are not organized into units nor are they ordered by area.Each chapter begins with an introduction to the topics of the chapter andoffers a conclusion that summarizes the chapter, with many chapters includingfinal remarks and/or considerations for further research; in addition, eachchapter ends with a bibliography. The handbook ends with an index.

Chapter 1, GEOGRAPHICAL AND SOCIAL VARIETIES OF SPANISH: AN OVERVIEW, consistsof an overview of the geographical and social varieties of Spanish by JohnLipski. The author walks the reader through the different dialect divisionswithin Spain and Latin America. He goes on to discuss core issues in phoneticsand phonology whose presence or absence often mark a particular variety (e.g.realizations of coda consonants). The chapter continues with sections onintonational differences, regional and social morphosyntactic differentiation,and lexical variation.

Chapter 2, THE SPANISH-BASED CREOLES, by J. Clancy Clements commences with amore general discussion of creoles and pidgins and follows it with in-depthdiscussion 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 verbphrase (VP).

Chapter 3, SPANISH AMONG THE IBERO-ROMANCE LANGUAGES, is written byChristopher J. Pountain and offers a historical perspective of Spanish. Theauthor discusses the evolution of Spanish from its origins and then considersthe 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 Escobarintroduces the chapter with a historical perspective and then offers anoverview of Amerindian languages. She then goes on to discuss Spanish contactin grammatical features with Quechua, the Mayan languages, Guarani, Nahuatl,and Mapudungun. Escobar also includes a section in which she comparescountries 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 includesan intriguing section on quasi-phonemic contrast in which the author comparesglides to high vowels and treats the phonemic status of the voiced palatalfricative ~ voiced palatal plosive.

In Chapter 6, MAIN PHONOLOGICAL PROCESSES, Fernando Martínez-Gil begins with asection on nasal and lateral assimilation. He then discusses voicedobstruents, and voicing assimilation, followed by complete assimilation.

Sonia Colina follows in Chapter 7, SYLLABLE STRUCTURE. Colina states in theintroduction that “the aim of this chapter is to present an overview of thestate of the art in Spanish syllabification rather than a detailed comparisonof competing analyses” (pp. 133-134). The author then clearly lays out theformal 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 codasand syllable structure and morphology.

In Chapter 8, STRESS AND RHYTHM, José Ignacio Hualde begins by offering thedefinition and functions of stress. In following sections, he treats stressand rhythm in great detail and clarity. One particularly appreciates thesections on stress in compounds and secondary stress.

In Chapter 9, INTONATION IN SPANISH, Erin O’Rourke first defines intonationand then looks at Spanish intonation structure, with separate sections ondeclaratives, interrogatives, exclamatives and imperatives, and narrow focusand topicalization. She also offers clear illustrations of intonationcontours. Besides discussing dialect differences and Spanish in contact withother languages, she also considers language acquisition.

David Eddington authors Chapter 10, MORPHOPHONOLOGICAL ALTERNATIONS, in whichhe gives a historical perspective on diphthongization, discusses diminutiveformation, and evaluates velar and coronal softening, as well as nasal andvelar depalatalization.

Chapter 11, DERIVATION AND COMPOUNDING, is written by Soledad Varela. In termsof derivation, the author considers the different types (i.e. affixalderivation and non-affixal derivation), along with suffixation, andprefixation. Varela elaborates on derivation argument structure, aspect, andaffix ordering. With regard to compounding, the author discusses constituents,traditional classifications, and expounds upon different compound types. Sheends with a thorough discussion on the internal structure of compounding.

In Chapter 12, MORPHOLOGICAL STRUCTURE OF VERBAL FORMS, Manuel Pérez Saldanyatreats verbal inflexion by reviewing the grammatical categories of verbalforms and verb tenses, along with nonpersonal forms. He then treats person andnumber markers and then logically transitions to Tense, Aspect, and Mood(TAM). In addition, Pérez Saldanya discusses theme vowel and thematic base. Heconcludes with a section on the main irregularities of verbal inflection.

In Chapter 13, FORMS OF ADDRESS, Bob de Jonge and Dorien Nieuwenhuijsen offera quick overview on forms of address in Modern Spanish, and then the authorsexplain forms of address in terms of their historical formation. They go on tooffer separate sections that address specific characteristics of the formswithin Spain as well as Latin America.

M. Carme Picallo authors Chapter 14, STRUCTURE OF THE NOUN PHRASE. Afterintroductory remarks, the author covers the argument structure of nouns,followed by the functional structure of nominals. For the latter, she includessubsections on derivation, inflection, and the gender controversy. Picallothen 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 upwith a section on indefiniteness that includes ample discussion on theindefinite article and another on Spanish indefinite determiners. Leonettithen turns his attention to specificity. Whereas one section studies thespecific/non-specific distinction, another offers detailed description ofspecificity-related phenomena.

In Chapter 16, QUANTIFICATION, Javier Gutiérrez-Rexach introduces referenceand quantification, which is then followed by a section on constraints ondeterminer denotations. The third section offers a discussion on quantifierclasses and the fourth section develops scope, polyadicity, and plurality. Thefollowing sections cover quantification as it pertains to dynamics, questions,and degree, respectively.

Jaume Mateu authors Chapter 17, STRUCTURE OF THE VERB PHRASE. Mateu includestwo sections beyond the introductory one. In one section, he considers theargument structure and the syntactic decomposition of VP; in the other, we seethe different paths and results within the syntactic decomposition of VP.

Chapter 18, TENSE AND ASPECT, is authored by Karen Zagona. In the first partof the chapter, Zagona expounds upon tense in semantic terms. She dividessections by ‘past tense’ on one hand, and ‘nonpast tenses’ (i.e. present,future, and conditional) on the other; she concludes the first part with asection on embedded clauses. She then turns to aspect and notes in thebeginning that traditional grammars do not include discussion on the contrastbetween telic and atelic events.

In Chapter 19, MOOD: INDICATIVE VS. SUBJUNCTIVE, Ignacio Bosque brieflydescribes the two moods, and then includes a fascinating discussion based on aquestion, “Is it possible to unify subjunctive meanings?” He concludes thesection by noting that trying to ask this question in semantic terms isdisappointing; if we choose to answer it in ‘restrictive syntactic terms’,Bosque reminds us that the “classical idea that subjunctive is the mood ofsubordination is still correct” (pp. 378-379). He then discusses, in separatesections, mood as it pertains to lexical selection, locality, scope, andconference.

Chapter 20, THE SIMPLE SENTENCE, is authored by Héctor Campos. The authorcommences with a detailed classification and explanation of sentencesaccording to the “attitude” (author’s quotes, p. 396) of the speaker. Camposthen ends with a discussion on dubitative and probability sentences.

In Chapter 21, CLITICS IN SPANISH, Francisco Ordóñez defines clitics in thefirst two sections, and then discusses their position in the sentence in termsof proclisis and enclisis. The author then discusses clitics in terms of theirmovement, doubling, and combinations.

José Camacho takes on ‘ser’ and ‘estar’ in Chapter 22, SER AND ESTAR: THEINDIVIDUAL/STAGE-LEVEL DISTINCTION AND ASPECTUAL PREDICATION. In hisintroduction, the author makes note of stage-level (SL) and individual-level(IL) predicates. Camacho then goes on to show the distribution of the twoverbs in both their non-overlapping and overlapping contexts. In the followingsection, he develops the aforementioned concepts of SL and IL predicates.Next, he proposes a formalization based on these concepts. The chapter endswith two separate sections on locative prepositional phrase (PP) predicatesand coercion.

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 bothsyntactic and semantic observations on arbitrary ‘se’ constructions (i.e.passives, impersonals, and middles), as well as the same observations onanaphoric “se” (p. 487) constructions.

In Chapter 24, COORDINATION AND SUBORDINATION, Ricardo Etxepare examines thetwo concepts, and then utilizes the first part of the chapter to discusssubordination in terms of mood, treat infinitive dependents, and gauge thestatus of the finite complementizer. With regard to coordination, the authorconsiders 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 whichhe addresses three questions that researchers are trying to answer, namely: i)Where do Wh-words appear in the clause structure?; ii) What formal propertiesdo matrix and embedded complementizer phrases share?; and iii) What is thenature of the relationship between Wh-operators and antecedent trace positionsacross 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 backgroundon binding theory. He goes on to discuss anaphors and pronominals insubsequent sections. He concludes by elaborating on the problem ofcomplementary distribution.

In Chapter 27, EMPTY CATEGORIES AND ELLIPSIS, Josep María Brucart and JonathanE. Macdonald discuss elliptical constructions concisely and then discuss ingreat detail the gaps that arise from the process of ellipsis.

Chapter 28, WORD ORDER AND INFORMATION STRUCTURE, is authored by AntxonOlarrea. The author discusses free word order in Spanish and then treatssubject-verb-object (SVO) order and information structure. He then discussestopic and focus structures before offering formal accounts that attempt toexplain how they work.

In Chapter 29, SPEECH ACTS, Victoria Escandell-Vidal first treats speech actsthrough an examination of sentence type and illocutionary force, followed by asection on illocutionary force and politeness. The author ends the chapterwith discussion on cognition and inferential processes.

Chapter 30, DISCOURSE SYNTAX, is written by Catherine E. Travis and RenaTorres Cacoulus. The authors discuss syntactic patterning under the lens ofdiscourse function. They examine information flow for NPs, transitivity, treatreferentiality in discourse, go over constructions and prefabs, and end with asection on variation in first-person singular subject expression.

In Chapter 31, HISTORICAL MORPHOSYNTAX AND GRAMMATICALIZATION, ConcepciónCompany Company begins by discussing the scope of morphosyntactic change. Shethen treats grammaticalization and offers a traditional definition, as well asa complementary one. Next, she goes on to explain innovative form, and endswith discussion on the role of reanalysis in grammaticalization.

Conxita Lleó authors Chapter 32, FIRST LANGUAGE ACQUISITION OF SPANISH SOUNDSAND PROSODY. The author discusses and updates the reader on the field,specifically as it pertains to Spanish, and also includes different approachesin research. In addition, she offers an intriguing section on the acquisitionof segments, as well as one on prosody.

Chapter 33, SPANISH AS A SECOND LANGUAGE AND TEACHING METHODOLOGIES, isauthored by Cristina Sanz. The author details the history of the teaching ofSpanish and then discusses three currently-implemented approaches, namelyTask-based instruction, Processing Instruction, and Content-based Instruction.She then treats pedagogical research, in which I draw particular attention toher subsection on key issues in processing-oriented pedagogical SLA research.

In Chapter 34, THE L2 ACQUISITION OF SPANISH PHONETICS AND PHONOLOGY, MiquelSimonet introduces the chapter by noting that this area of HispanicLinguistics has been understudied. He then discusses the research that hasbeen conducted. In the following two sections, he discusses studies on Spanishvowels and consonants, respectively.

Silvina Montrul offers Chapter 35, THEORETICAL PERSPECTIVES ON THE L2ACQUISITION OF SPANISH, in which she discusses the learning challenges ofsecond language acquisition, and then examines two major theoreticalpositions, namely nativism and empiricism. Additionally, Montrul offers anentire section dedicated to empirical evidence on L2 acquisition ofmorphosyntax and lexical semantics, and then follows it with a sectionentitled, ‘Discussion’, in which she evaluates both of the aforementionedtheoretical positions.

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 1930sto the Comprehensive Approach in 1978. She then reviews and discusses researchfrom the 1990s and early 2000s, as well as important advances at the beginningof the new millennium, before ending by updating the reader on recentdevelopments in the field.

In Chapter 37, ACQUISITION OF SPANISH IN BILINGUAL CONTEXTS, CarmenSilva-Corvalán engages the reader in a discussion of simultaneous andsequential bilingualism. She then brings up ‘bilingual first languageacquisition’ and considers research questions on the subject. She alsoexamines contextual factors in the development of child bilingualism. Next,she discusses bilingual children’s language development. In the following twosections, the author expands on research methods on bilingual first languageacquisition and offers case studies on morphosyntactic development.

Chapter 38, READING WORDS AND SENTENCES IN SPANISH, is authored by ManualCarreiras, Jon Andoni Duñabeitia, and Nicola Molinaro. The authors give anoverview of research that has been done on reading in Spanish, presenting someof the basic findings with regard both to word reading and sentencecomprehension.

Chapter 39, LANGUAGE IMPAIRMENTS, is authored by José Manuel Igoa. Afterintroducing the topic, the author discusses spoken language impairments,written language impairments, and language impairments in bilingual speakerswith direct regard to Spanish. The author finishes with a section ofdevelopment 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 treatbilingual cognitive research and examine lexical access in speech productionand lexical access in speech production in Spanish in bilingual contexts. Theyfollow with a section on language control in bilingual contexts with Spanishas L1 and L2, along with another section on learning Spanish in an immersioncontext.


The arrival of ‘The Handbook of Hispanic Linguistics’ was highly anticipatedbefore its publication in 2012 and it exceeds expectation. It is novel in thatit is the first known attempt to create a handbook on the vast field ofHispanic Linguistics. Not only does the handbook successfully present thereader with state-of-the-art research, but it also offers a superb overviewand bibliography of our field. In short, it is an invaluable resource for thefield; we are indebted to the editors and authors for taking on thischallenging task.

The handbook truly fills a previous gap in that it contains forty chaptersfrom many areas of Hispanic Linguistics and they were written by some of thefinest 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 theSpanish language” (p. xxi) and the editors and authors unequivocally meet thisobjective. In what follows, I discuss the handbook’s many merits and minorshortcomings.

Though each chapter is written by a different author(s), the writing style isuniform, which is one of the book’s highest merits. As previously mentioned,the writing is technical enough so that the handbook is appropriate forresearchers in the field, yet it is an excellent companion for professors andstudents (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/herinterest on the subject matter.

Another merit of the handbook is the breadth of areas included. There are over850 pages of text, however, material rarely overlaps or seems repeated. Beyondthe 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 intounits, as textbooks often do. That said, I would have liked to see someelaboration in the editors’ note regarding topic selection for the handbook,along with a listing of chapters for each area of Hispanic Linguisticsrepresented 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, theprospective buyer has to peruse the table of contents and assess which areasare included and in how many chapters. The addition of an ‘Introduction’chapter to the handbook or an editors’ note with more elaboration wouldresolve this issue.

In terms of language, I realize that English is the most common language ofpublication in Linguistics. However, some might note as a shortcoming the factthat a handbook about Hispanic Linguistics is not available in Spanish. Itmight be beneficial in the future to offer the handbook in both Spanish andEnglish to increase readership.

I end this section with a minor stylistic comment. In the table of contents, Iwould suggest extra spacing between each chapter; in its current state, it isa bit difficult to discern between chapters, along with their consequent pagenumbers.

To conclude, I note that this handbook is part of the prestigious seriesentitled, ‘Blackwell Handbooks in Linguistics’ and is an essential referencefor professors and students alike. This review is for the hardcover (2012)edition; the paperback edition is due out in early 2014.


Benjamin Schmeiser is an associate professor of Spanish Linguistics atIllinois State University. He earned his PhD in Spanish Linguistics, with aspecialization in Phonetics and Phonology, from the University of California,Davis in 2006. His research interests include Phonetics and Phonology, Pedagogy, SecondLanguage Acquisition, Sociolinguistics, Historical Linguistics, and RomanceLinguistics. His recent publications have concentrated on consonant clustersin Spanish, Portuguese, and Pali; podcast usage in the classroom; and synonymyin Contemporary United States Spanish.

Page Updated: 02-Nov-2013