ISBN 978-1-57473-027-2 paperback, $38.95
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Our interest in compiling this volume was prompted by our own search for course materials written in Spanish that introduce linguistic information in accessible and engaging ways. This text highlights important issues and explores, from a linguistic perspective, observations frequently made by students of Spanish. We hope that this collection of diverse essays will spark students' interest in the Spanish language and motivate them to pursue the study of Hispanic linguistics at more advanced levels.
The 24 questions that serve as chapter titles underscore important issues in both theoretical and applied linguistics. Several chapters correspond to specific levels of linguistic analysis such as phonetics and phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, and pragmatics. Other chapters explore the processes of language acquisition, the historical development of the Spanish language, and sociolinguistic topics, including dialectal variation, language contact, and the influence of Spanish in the United States. Numerous chapters focus on specific areas of applied linguistics such as the challenges of translation and a wide variety of issues related to second language teaching and learning both in and outside the classroom.
Each chapter provides a response to the question posed in its title and is written by a linguist, or linguists, who specialize in that particular field. The contributing authors are highly regarded in their respective areas of expertise, and, as leading researchers in the field of linguistics, most have published extensively. These authors bring diverse backgrounds, perspectives, and experiences to this volume, and each chapter reflects a certain degree of individuality in its tone, style, organization, and variety of Spanish.
This volume was designed to serve as a supplementary text for an introductory course in Hispanic linguistics, a resource for future or current Spanish teachers whose background in linguistics is limited, and a source of thought-provoking topics for advanced language learners in composition or conversation courses. The first chapter provides a general introduction to the field of linguistics and, as such, presents an overview of the volume itself. All the chapters are self-contained in nature, and teachers are encouraged to "pick and choose", in any order, those selections of greatest interest and relevance to their students.
At the conclusion of each chapter are three sets of activities that teachers may assign as homework or use in the classroom. The first set of activities, Y tú, ¿qué piensas?, is made up of individualized questions that help students connect personally to the chapter topic. These questions can be used as an in-class, pre-reading activity to stimulate students' interest, or they can be completed independently as homework. In either case, students may enjoy sharing their own experiences and responses with their peers. The second set of activities, ¿Lo analizamos?, includes a series of pair or small group activities that students can complete collaboratively during class. These exercises focus on comprehension of key concepts and challenge students to apply those concepts to other social or linguistic contexts. The third set of activities, ¿Lo investigamos?, includes specific suggestions for extended, collaborative study of important linguistic concepts. Students are encouraged to collect original data as part of their own small-scale research studies, interview native speakers of Spanish, and use the Internet as a resource for learning more about topics highlighted in the chapter.
Many individuals were involved in the preparation of this volume, and we are extremely grateful for their input, feedback, and patience. Our sincere appreciation goes to all of the contributing authors as well as to editor Michael Bernstein and the editorial staff at Cascadilla Press. We offer a special word of thanks to Edwin Lamboy for his expertise and assistance. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, we thank our students, whose questions motivate us to keep learning. Without all of these collaborators, this project would never have come to fruition.