PhD, Princeton University
Associate Professor of Spanish
My research has been based largely on sociolinguistic field investigation in the region of Cantabria in northern Spain and in west-central Puerto Rico. In both contexts, I have been interested in social change and linguistic variation as encountered in small communities in rural environments. My interests include both the patterns of linguistic variation encountered in the Spanish of the communities studied and the social and linguistic factors associated with the patterns of language use. I examine as well the ways the sociolinguistic experiences of these communities reflect the experiences of the larger societies in which they are found. My analysis of linguistic variation considers a range of linguistic variables: phonological, morpho-syntactic, syntactic, and semantic, as well as broader questions of code selection and code mixing. My methods typically involve a combination of qualitative and quantitative linguistic analysis accompanied by ethnographic description of the communities studied.
Publications representative of my research in Spain include the book, Language loyalty and linguistic variation: A Study in Spanish Cantabria , as well as the articles 'Social correlates of a linguistic variable: A Study in a Spanish village,' published in Language in Society , 'Style choice in a bidialectal village,' in the International Journal of the Sociology of Language , and 'Semantic features and gender dynamics in Cantabrian Spanish,' in Anthropological Linguistics . Publications representative of my work in Puerto Rico include those listed under the heading of recent publications, below.
My most recent research has allowed me to extend my interest to another geographical area, the “altiplano” in the region of Chimaltenango, in Guatemala. Under a Temple University Seed Grant Award, I am working on a collaborative project with Dr. Hana Muzika Kahn (also from our department). We are combining our backgrounds in sociolinguistics and comparative literature to evaluate language contact in a bilingual community where Spanish and Kaqchikel Maya are spoken. Dr. Kahn is examining oral tradition in Spanish and Kaqchikel and I am examining regional Spanish, including Maya Kaqchikel influences. We are collaborating on a sociological study of the place of Kaqchikel and Spanish in the community. We just returned from two months in the town of Parramos, where we recorded oral interviews and collected oral narratives.
I have been teaching for over 30 years and have taught students ranging from 3 and 4 year olds to doctoral students. My goals at all ages and levels of study have been similar: to interact personally with my students and to challenge them in a way that will develop interest in subject matter as well as in producing quality work at the level appropriate for them. At Temple I teach primarily in the areas of sociolinguistics and dialectology, descriptive linguistics for language learning and teaching, and Spanish language and grammar. My advanced undergraduate and graduate courses provide for detailed and technical language study, frequently in combination with an examination of social dimensions and context of language use. My dissertation students have carried out scholarly students in the areas of Spanish sociolinguistics, language in contact, and language learning.
Most recent publications
Holmquist, Jonathan; Lorenzino, Augusto; and Sayahi, Lotfi. Selected proceedings of the Third Workshop in Spanish Sociolinguistics (Temple University, 2006). New York: Cascadilla Proceedings Project. 2007.
Frequency rates and constraints on subject personal pronoun expression: Findings from the Puerto Rican highlands. "Language variation and change" 24:203-220. 2012.
“Gender and variation: Word-final /s/ in speech in Puerto Rico’s western highlands”. In Manuel Díaz-Campos (ed.), The Handbook of Spanish Sociolinguistics. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2011, 230-243.
Gender in context: Features and factors in men's and women's speech in rural Puerto Rico. In Maurice Westmoreland and Juan Tomas Testa (eds.) Selected proceedins of the Fourth Workshop on Spanish Sociolinguistics (SUNY Albany , 2007). New York: Cascadilla Proceedings Project. 2008.
Social stratification in women's speech in rural Puerto Rico: A study of five phonological features. In Lotfi Sayahi (ed.) Selected proceedings of the Second Workshop on Spanish Sociolinguistics (SUNY Albany, 2004). New York: Cascadilla Proceedings Project. 109-119. 2005.
Coffee farmers, social integration and five phonological features: Regional socio-dialectology in west-central Puerto Rico. In Lotfi Sayahi (ed.) Selected proceedings of the First Workshop on Spanish Sociolinguistics (SUNY Albany, 2002). New York: Cascadilla Proceedings Project. 70-76. 2003.
Variación vocálica en el habla masculina de Castañer, PR. Cuaderno internacional de estudios hispánicos y lingüística 1: 96-103. 2001.
Seed Grant for Collaborative Research
Language contact, maintenance and revitalization in the Guatemalan highlands: An interdisciplinary approach. The grant is from Temple University and was received with Dr. Hana Muzika Kahn for the period July 1, 2010 through June 30, 2011. It supports fieldwork examining sociolinguistic aspects of Spanish / Maya bilingualism as well as the expressive use of Spanish and Maya in oral narratives and folktales.