Phone: (814) 865-6583
John M. Lipski is an Edwin Erle Sparks Professor of Spanish and Linguistics. An apostate electrical engineering student, he received his B. A. (in mathematics) from Rice University, and his M. A. and Ph. D. (in Romance linguistics) from the University of Alberta. He has previously taught at Newark State College/Kean College of New Jersey, Michigan State University, The University of Houston, The University of Florida, and The University of New Mexico. He has given lectures and workshops at colleges and universities throughout the United States and in numerous other countries in Europe, Africa, Latin America, and Asia. Over the years he has taught Spanish, Romance, and general linguistics, translation, and a variety of language courses.
His research interests include Spanish phonology, Spanish and Portuguese dialectology and language variation, the linguistic aspects of bilingualism, and the contribution of the African diaspora to the diversification of Spanish and Portuguese. He has done fieldwork just about everywhere Spanish is spoken: in Spain (including the Canary Islands), Gibraltar, Africa, the Caribbean (including Trinidad), all of Central and South America, the Philippines, Guam, and many Spanish-speaking communities within the United States.
His work has been supported by the National Science Foundation, two Fulbright research fellowships, an NEH summer fellowship, a Title VI grant, a Guggenheim fellowship, a fellowship from Penn State’s Institute for the Arts and Humanities, and grants from Penn State’s Africana Research Center. In addition to more than 300 articles in general and Hispanic linguistics he has published the following books: Linguistic aspects of Spanish-English language switching; The Spanish of Equatorial Guinea; Fonética y fonología del español de Honduras; El español de Malabo; Latin American Spanish [also translated into Japanese]; The language of the Isleños of Louisiana; The speech of the Negros Congos of Panama; El español de América; El español en síntesis [with the late Eduardo Neale-Silva]; A history of Afro-Hispanic language contact; Afro-Bolivian Spanish; Varieties of Spanish in the United States; El habla de los Congos de Panamá en el contexto de la lingüística afrohispánica; Palenquero and Spanish in contact: exploring the interface.
He has served as editor of the journal Hispanic Linguistics and as associate editor of Hispania for Theoretical Linguistics, and is currently acquisitions editor for the Spanish linguistics monograph series at Georgetown University Press. Additional information, including numerous reprints and pre-prints, can be found on his personal website.
Palenquero and Spanish in Contact: Exploring the interface
Bilingual speakers are normally aware of what language they are speaking or hearing; there is, however, no widely accepted consensus on the degree of lexical and morphosyntactic similarity that defines the psycholinguistic threshold of distinct languages. This book focuses on the Afro-Colombian creole language Palenquero, spoken in bilingual contact with its historical lexifier, Spanish. Although sharing largely cognate lexicons, the languages are in general not mutually intelligible. For example, Palenquero exhibits no adjective-noun or verb-subject agreement, uses pre-verbal tense-mood-aspect particles, and exhibits unbounded clause-final negation. The present study represents a first attempt at mapping the psycholinguistic boundaries between Spanish and Palenquero from the speakers’ own perspective, including traditional native Palenquero speakers, adult heritage speakers, and young native Spanish speakers who are acquiring Palenquero as a second language. The latter group also provides insights into the possible cognitive cost of “de-activating” Spanish morphological agreement as well as the relative efficiency of pre-verbal vs. clause-final negation. In this study, corpus-based analyses are combined with an array of interactive experimental techniques, demonstrating that externally-imposed classifications do not always correspond to speakers’ own partitioning of language usage in their communities.
Highland Bolivia, known in colonial times as Alto Peru, was the site of the earliest massive importation of African slaves in Spanish America. Despite the hardships of colonial slavery and demographic assimilation, a small but identifiable Afro-Bolivian population known as Yungas remain in that area today. In a few isolated Yungas communities, a restructured Afro-Hispanic language survives alongside contemporary Spanish, evidently representing a survival of the pidginized Spanish once spoken by African-born slaves (bozales) in colonial Spanish America. Based on extensive fieldwork in the Afro-Bolivian communities, this book provides a detailed description of this unique and fascinating Afro-Bolivian dialect. In so doing, it highlights the importance of Yungas speech to Spanish dialect as well as creole studies.
Varieties of Spanish in the United States
Thirty-three million people in the United States speak some variety of Spanish, making it the second most used language in the country. Some of these people are recent immigrants from many different countries who have brought with them the linguistic traits of their homelands, while others come from families who have lived in this country for hundreds of years. John M. Lipski traces the importance of the Spanish language in the United States and presents an overview of the major varieties of Spanish that are spoken there. Varieties of Spanish in the United States provides—in a single volume—useful descriptions of the distinguishing characteristics of the major varieties, from Cuban and Puerto Rican, through Mexican and various Central American strains, to the traditional varieties dating back to the sixteenth and eighteenth centuries found in New Mexico and Louisiana. Each profile includes a concise sketch of the historical background of each Spanish-speaking group; current demographic information; its sociolinguistic configurations; and information about the phonetics, morphology, syntax, lexicon, and each group’s interactions with English and other varieties of Spanish. Lipski also outlines the scholarship that documents the variation and richness of these varieties, and he probes the phenomenon popularly known as “Spanglish.” The distillation of an entire academic career spent investigating and promoting the Spanish language in the United States, this valuable reference for teachers, scholars, students, and interested bystanders serves as a testimony to the vitality and legitimacy of the Spanish language in the United States. It is recommended for courses on Spanish in the United States, Spanish dialectology and sociolinguistics, and teaching Spanish to heritage speakers.
A History of Afro-Hispanic Language: Five Centuries, Five Continents
The African slave trade, beginning in the fifteenth century, brought African languages into contact with Spanish and Portuguese, resulting in the Africans’ gradual acquisition of these languages. In this 2004 book, John Lipski describes the major forms of Afro-Hispanic language found in the Iberian Peninsula and Latin America over the last 500 years. As well as discussing pronunciation, morphology and syntax, he separates legitimate forms of Afro-Hispanic expression from those that result from racist stereotyping, to assess how contact with the African diaspora has had a permanent impact on contemporary Spanish. A principal issue is the possibility that Spanish, in contact with speakers of African languages, may have creolized and restructured – in the Caribbean and perhaps elsewhere – permanently affecting regional and social varieties of Spanish today. The book is accompanied by the largest known anthology of primary Afro-Hispanic texts from Iberia, Latin America, and former Afro-Hispanic contacts in Africa and Asia.
Spanish in the United States: Linguistic Contact and Diversity
El espanol de America
En este libro se describe la inmensa riqueza de la variedad de “lenguas españolas” que se hablan desde la frontera de EE.UU.-Canadá hasta la Antártida. En la primera parte presenta un análisis lingüístico del español de América y lo sitúa en un extenso contexto. El autor examina la fonología y morfología de la lengua, su sintaxis, la variación léxica y la diferenciación social, sus contactos pasados y presentes con otras lenguas y explora los factores sociohistóricos que han afectado a los dialectos americanos. Proporciona detalles acerca de las influencias africanas y nativo-americanas de lengua y población y las contribuciones del español peninsular. En la segunda parte da un detallado informe del español de América en cada país, con sus claves históricas, detalles de pronunciación, morfosintaxis y léxico.
Latin American Spanish
The diversity of Latin American Spanish has attracted attention and interest for more than a century, and in this book John Lipski describes the immense richness of the varieties of a language which is spoken from the US-Canadian border of Antarctica. The first part of the book presents a linguistic analysis of Latin American Spanish and places it in a broad historical context. The author examines the phonology and morphology of the language, its syntactic and lexical variation and social differentiation, its past and present contacts with other languages and also explores the sociohistorical factors which have shaped the various Latin American Spanish dialects. He provides the reader with a detailed account of the influence of African and Native American languages and populations, and assesses the contribution made by Peninsular Spanish. This includes the geographical and social origins of the original Spanish settlers, the effects of dialect levelling and nautical language and subsequent migratory patterns. There are also in-depth evaluations of dialect classification schemes. The second section of the book gives a detailed country-by-country account of Latin American Spanish, with key historical facts for each country as well as details on pronunciation, morphosyntax and the lexicon. Latin American Spanish provides a comprehensive and accessible analysis of Hispanic dialectology and will be essential reading for all undergraduate students of Spanish language and literature. It will also be of interest to graduate students and teachers of Spanish dialectology and comparative Romance philology, and to the general reader interested in specific details of varieties of Latin American Spanish.
The language of the Isleños: Vestigial Spanish in Louisiana
El español de Malabo: procesos fonéticos-fonológicos e implicaciones dialectológicas
The Speech of the Negros Congos in Panama
The negros congos of Panama’s Caribbean coast are a unique cultural manifestation of Afro-Hispanic contact. During Carnival season each year, this group reenacts dramatic events which affected black slaves in colonial Panama, performs dances and pantomimes, and enforces a set of ritual laws’ and punishments’. A key component of congo games is a special dialect, the hablar en congos, which is employed by a subset of the congos in each settlement. The present study investigates the congo dialect from a linguistic point of view along two dimensions. The first involves deliberate phonetic, syntactic, and semantic distortion as part of the overall spirit of of burlesque and ridicule that surrounds Panamanian Carnival. The second is the retention of earlier, partially creolized Afro-Hispanic language forms which may still be extracted from contemporary congo speech. These Afro-Hispanic vestiges are of key importance to monogenetic theories of Afro-Romance creolization as Panamanian congo speech provides examples of unique creolized Spanish.