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Fall 2019

SPAN 507 (TR 10:35-11:50)

Hispano-Romance Linguistics: Language change 
Rena Torres Cacoullos

The goal is for students to (1) understand cross-linguistic tendencies in language change; (2) gain familiarity with some of the more-studied phenomena in the diachrony of Spanish, from a grammaticalization perspective; (3) conduct quantitative analysis of a linguistic variable in data from historical texts.
We will read research reports and:
 
 - Bybee, Joan L. 2015. Language change. Cambridge: CUP.
 - Penny, Ralph. 2002. A history of the Spanish language. Cambridge: CUP.

 

SPAN 514 (TR 12:05-1:20)

Hispanic Dialectology 
John Lipski

Once upon a time, someone you may have heard of, having previously written that* "Formal criteria alone will never account for Spanish dialect differences, but this should not impede the search for theoretical insights into the diversification of language," was of the opinion that**  "[…] dialectology—or whatever post-modern term might emerge to replace it—is the collective intersection of a variety of subcomponents of linguistics in search of an answer to a single question: why and how does language vary regionally and socially? Seen in this fashion, dialectology is not a discrete discipline in itself, but rather a cover term for a particular line of inquiry […] Once the respective data have been collected—irrespective of the nature of the data or the means of collection—dialectologists devote their efforts to addressing theoretical research questions, in their dual roles as phoneticians, psycholinguists, sociolinguists, syntacticians, and so forth. Dialectology viewed as the science of language variation is as much a part of 21st century linguistics as it was in centuries past, since the search for answers regarding variation in the broadest sense remains fundamental to the study of language."

With those thoughts still in mind, and especially in view of our language science environment, we will explore selected examples of linguistic variation from across the Spanish-speaking world from a dual perspective: (1) the application of contemporary linguistic and language science approaches (theories and methodologies) with the aim of furthering our understanding of the sources of linguistic variation; (2)  an examination of unique linguistic configurations that provide new theoretical and methodological insights. Following a very brief fly-by of major regional dialect traits, we will jump into a series of dialect-centered topics that exemplify the aforementioned plan. This will be a joint exploration: I will present some relevant research and will guide the discussions. You will also present your own findings, discovered along the way as we reach each topic.


* Lipski, John. 1989. Beyond the isogloss: trends in Hispanic dialectology. Hispania 72. 801‑809.

** Lipski, John. 2008. Homeless in post-modern linguistics? (re/dis)placing Hispanic dialectology. Studies in Hispanic and Luso-Brazilian Linguistics 1(1).211-221.

 

SPAN 508 (TR 1:35-2:50)

Generative Syntax  
Karen Miller

This course is an introduction to generative syntax. It addresses the advantages of a scientific model to explain human knowledge of language that also makes predictions about its representation in the mind. In this course, we will focus on the fundamental concepts of the "Principles & Parameters" approach to syntax and also cover concepts from the Minimalist Program, along with some concepts from Government and Binding, both central to most current work in theoretical syntax. 

 

SPAN 597 (TR 3:05-4:20)

Code switching and the bilingual mind 
Matthew Carlson

Code  switching, or the mixing of material from more than one language in  discourse, is a natural and widespread practice among bi- and  multilinguals. Several decades of research have confirmed that the ways languages are mixed are extremely systematic, and many  proposals have attempted to explain this systematicity. This course will  focus on intrasentential code-switching and ask why switches occur  where they do, and not elsewhere. To explore this question we will examine a wide variety of the extant proposals, weigh them  against the existing data, and explore how we as a field might build on  current theory, and how new data may be sought to advance our  understanding of code switching.