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Review of  Advances in Hispanic Linguistics

Reviewer: David Eddington
Book Title: Advances in Hispanic Linguistics
Book Author: Javier Gutiérrez-Rexach Fernando Martínez-Gil
Publisher: Cascadilla Press
Linguistic Field(s): Historical Linguistics
Language Family(ies): Ibero-Romance
Issue Number: 10.929

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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, [email protected]

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

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


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