Sociolinguistic Change Across the Spanish-Speaking World

Case Studies in Honor of Anna María Escobar

by Kim Potowski (Volume editor) Talia Bugel (Volume editor)
©2015 Monographs XII, 223 Pages


This collection of essays presents cutting-edge research in Hispanic sociolinguistics. They include studies on language variation and change, contact varieties, language use, perception, and attitudes and focus on language varieties such as Peruvian Spanish, Mexican Spanish on the U.S. – Mexican border and in the Midwest, and two Peninsular varieties (in the Basque country and in Catalonia). This book is a Festschrift in honor of Anna María Escobar and her twenty-five years at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Table Of Contents

  • Cover
  • Title
  • Copyright
  • About the editors
  • About the book
  • This eBook can be cited
  • Table of Contents
  • Introduction
  • Family transmission and social networks: Insights on a Basque Spanish case
  • Exploring the functions of ‘ASÍ’ in Peruvian Spanish
  • Pragmatic functions and cultural communicative needs in the use of innovative quotatives among Mexican bilingual youth
  • Convergence in feature mapping: Evidentiality, aspect and nominalizations in Quechua-Spanish bilinguals
  • Intervocalic fricative voicing in the Spanish of Barcelona: Considerations for contact-induced sociophonetic innovation
  • Son importantes los dos: Language use and attitudes among wives of Mexican profesionistas on the U.S.-Mexico border
  • Intergenerational perceptions of Spanish use and viability in first-generation midwestern Latino households
  • Sociolinguistic variation and pluricentricity: Postface to Case Studies in Honor of Anna María Escobar
  • Contributors

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This collection of original sociolinguistic studies came together to honor Professor Anna María Escobar as she celebrates her twenty-fifth year at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.1 Her students and close colleagues wish to pay her tribute in appreciation for the positive influence she has had in our lives as well as in the scholarly fields in which we work.

Anna María has been a prolific scholar in the areas of Spanish and Andean sociolinguistics, focusing on language variation and change, morphology, grammaticalization, dialectology, and Spanish-Quechua contact. An incomplete list of her important publications appears at the end of this introduction. But a Festschrift is prompted by something beyond the scholarly production and impact of the person it honors. It is Anna María’s tireless dedication as a mentor and doctoral advisor that inspired us, her former students, to pursue this project.

In October 2012, during the 41st meeting of the Linguistics Association of the Southwest (LASSO) at Indiana University-Purdue University, Fort Wayne, six of us accompanied Anna María to Henry’s Restaurant to raise a glass together. We soon began exchanging anecdotes from our days in the Department of Spanish, Italian and Portuguese at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. These inevitably included stories that highlighted our gratitude for the many things Anna María has done and continues to do for us: responding to all of our ← 1 | 2 → questions quickly and completely; giving feedback on our written work with equal amounts of firmness and compassion; and showing genuine enthusiasm for our projects and our academic futures, evidenced by a willingness to spend hours upon hours talking with us to discuss them. Even after we’d graduated, she helped us negotiate job offers, publishing options, and other issues, and we’ve always felt the confianza to ask her questions ranging from the research-oriented (“Where does the field stand on X?”) to the mundane (“Is it OK for me to ask my Department Chair for Y?”) and trusted that she was someone in our corner offering us a well-informed answer. From her earliest years at Illinois, she has been consistently recognized for teaching excellence and has received awards at the departmental, college, and university levels. She has been generous with her time with all of her students, but for those of us fortunate enough to work closely with her at the doctoral level she has been a valued mentor and guide, challenging us to excel and working tirelessly to ensure that we did. Such are the motives that give rise to a Festschrift.

Anna María was born in Munich and grew up in Lima, a daughter of Peruvian poet, literary critic and linguist Alberto Escobar, who was a founding member of the Instituto de Estudios Peruanos (Institute of Peruvian Studies) and of Asociación de Lingüística y Filología de América Latina (ALFAL) (Association of Linguistics and Philology of Latin America), which celebrated its XVIIth meeting in Brazil in 2014. After earning her bachelor’s at the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú, she began graduate work at the Université de Grenoble, where she earned a Licence de Linguistique. She then completed an M.A. in Linguistics at the State University of New York at Buffalo, spent an academic year at the University of Texas at Austin, and returned to Buffalo to complete her doctoral work in linguistics under the tutelage of Wolfgang Wölck, receiving her PhD in 1986 with a dissertation entitled Types and Stages of Bilingual Behavior: A Socio-Pragmatic Analysis of Bilingual Spanish.

She then returned to Lima to continue the research she had begun in her dissertation, taking up positions at the Instituto de Estudios Peruanos in 1986 and at the Instituto Nacional de Investigación y Desarrollo in 1986 and 1987. In 1988, she was a visiting faculty member in the Linguistics Graduate Program at the Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos. She eventually accepted a position as a Visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of Spanish, Italian and Portuguese at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1989, thus beginning her long association with the university, becoming Assistant Professor in 1990 and Associate Professor in 1997.

In recent years, her research interests have expanded to include issues of language variation and language contact beyond the Peruvian context, yet her principal focus remains Andean sociolinguistics. In part, continuing this work has been a labor of love on behalf of her country of upbringing and its rich language history, as well as the best way for her to honor and continue the work initiated by her father and other mentors. But it also represents a commitment to ensuring that the fruits of her scholarly work might be of real value to society in that they could be read and understood by, and of practical ← 2 | 3 → benefit to, not just linguists and other academics but a wider audience in Peru and other Andean countries. To this end, she made a deliberate decision early in her career to publish with Peruvian presses and journals, and today she continues to follow closely the work of linguists and social scientists active in Peru and elsewhere in the Andes and, whenever possible, lectures and offers workshops to students, faculty, and the general public at universities and other institutions in Peru.

Anna María’s influence is evident throughout the present volume, from the work of her very first doctoral student, Patricia MacGregor-Mendoza, to that of her most recent doctoral student, Justin Davidson. While not all of her former students have articles here, many participated in this project and offer their words of thanks in the Acknowledgements. Her colleagues Susana de los Heros, Zsuzsanna Fagyal, Margarita Jara, and Liliana Sánchez also responded warmly and enthusiastically by offering articles and dedications.

Students flock to Anna María, leading her to direct projects on a wide range of topics. This intellectual curiosity, accompanied by academic rigor, is rivaled only by her modesty and her willingness to learn from others. At conferences, she attends presentations ranging from the papers of undergraduates to those of luminaries, almost always offering comments highlighting the strengths of the presentations. Her collaborative style, the thoroughness with which she prepares for her courses, the positive classroom atmosphere she creates—all of these things led to this Festschrift. This German word can be translated as “celebration publication” or “party writing”. Three years after the 2012 “party” in Henry’s, this “celebration publication” has arrived. We are pleased to offer it as a token of our appreciation for our professor and mentor, Anna María Escobar.

—Kim Potowski and Talia Bugel, June 20152


Henry’s Restaurant, Ft. Wayne, IN, October 2012. Anna María Escobar is on the far right.

← 3 | 4 → Incomplete list of Anna María Escobar’s publications

Los bilingües y el castellano en el Perú (1990). Lima: Instituto de Estudios Peruanos.

Contacto social y lingüístico: El español en contacto con el quechua en el Perú (2000). Lima: Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú. 2000. [Digital version available at the Andean Digital Library, www.comunidadandina.org/BDA/docs/PE-LA-0002.pdf]

Contacto lingüístico y la emergencia de variantes y variedades lingüísticas (2009). Madrid/Frankfurt: Iberoamericana / Vervuert. Co-edited with Wolfgang Wölck.

Introducción a la lingüística hispánica (2001; 2nd ed. 2010). Cambridge University Press. With José Ignacio Hualde, Antxon Olarrea, and Catherine Travis.

El español de los Estados Unidos (2015). Cambridge University Press. With Kim Potowski.

More than thirty articles in prestigious academic journals such as Lingua and International Journal of the Sociology of Language.

Invited book chapters in The Handbook of Bilingualism, The Handbook of Spanish Sociolinguistics, The Handbook of Hispanic Linguistics, and The Handbook of Bilingualism and Multilingualism.

Book chapters including Encuentros y conflictos: bilingüismo y contacto de lenguas en el mundo andino (Ed. H. Olbertz & P.Muysken, 2005, Iberoamericana/Vervuert), Spanish in Contact: Policy, Social and Linguistic Inquiries (Ed. Kim Potowski & Richard Cameron, 2007, John Benjamins) and Nuevos hispanismos: Aspectos lingüísticos (Ed. Klaus Zimmermann, 2014, Iberoamericana/Vervuert).


1.With heartfelt thanks to Bill Pagliuca, who also designed the Festschrift cover using one of Anna María’s favorite photographs of his.

2.Talia Bugel thanks Jihad Albayyari, Associate Vice-Chancellor for Research, Extension and Special Programs at IPFW, for the significant financial support provided for this book on her behalf. Kim Potowski and Talia Bugel sincerely thank the authors for their financial support to make this book possible.

← 4 | 5 → Images

Family transmission and social networks: Insights on a Basque Spanish case


Focusing on the variety of Spanish spoken in the Basque Country (Etxebarria-Arostegui 2000, Fernández-Ulloa 2001, González 1999, Gómez-Seibane 2012a, Gómez-Seibane 2012b) this article examines the social constraints that influence the pronunciation of the Basque Spanish [r] with several successive alveolar contacts. In order to examine the areal diffusion of the feature, I gather data from two locations: the high-contact area of Bermeo and the low contact area of Bilbao. Following a social network methodology I also examine how the speakers’ degree of exposure with bilinguals in their extended social networks (e.g. family, schooling, friends, work etc.) affects the use of this contact feature (Vann 1996, cf. Milroy 1987). Considering the demographic changes that have occurred in the Basque Country in the last century, I argue that “parental origin” is an integral variable to our understanding of Basque Spanish [r] usage. I frame the social factors into four categories: speakers’ parental origins (1) Spanish immigrant or (2) born in the Basque Country, an if native to the Basque Country, whether they were born and raised in a (3) low-contact or (4) high-contact area. This study highlights the importance of determining the type of bilingual speaker who transmits the feature (i.e. a bilingual from a high contact area vs. one who comes from a low contact one), and shows the significant role of family transmission in dialect contact (Payne 1980, Kerswill 1996, Hazen 2002, Potowski 2011).


Among many phonological features that mark Basque Spanish as a regional dialect, the use of an extended trill—several successive alveolar contacts—stands ← 5 | 6 → as one of its more salient characteristics. While standard Spanish rhotics are generally distinguished by a single alveolar tap /ɾ/ and a trill /r/ with multiple alveolar contacts, the Basque Spanish /r/ is simply maintained for a noticeably longer number of vibrations, thus the term “extended” or “vibrant” trill. In terms of phonological environment, Basque Spanish trills occur where standard Spanish tap would appear. Since the trill in Euskera (the Basque language, henceforth “Basque”) is similarly vibrant, the Basque Spanish trill is viewed as a clear example of substratum influence from language contact and a social indicator of a speaker’s geographical provenance. The vibrant trill is most commonly associable to high-contact bilingual areas, typically in the rural countryside and coast of the Basque Country, and serves an important stylistic function of arbitrating Basque identity in interactional contexts (Ciriza 2009).

In this study, I (a) analyze the distribution of the feature in both low and high contact areas; (b) map the relationship between the use of Basque Spanish /r/ and family background; (c) study how Basque language competence affects the use of the feature; (d) assess how the relative exposure with bilingual speakers affects the /r/ variant. Sociolinguistic studies on Basque Spanish have mostly focused on the speech of bilinguals in high contact areas with the objective of determining how independent social variables, such as gender and age, affect the use of linguistic dependent variants (cf. Etxebarria-Arostegui 2000, Fernández-Ulloa 2001). Focusing on bilinguals as the main object of analysis has resulted in a lack of studies dedicated to how contact features spread to lower contact areas through language accommodation practices and participation in social networks. In this study, I examine the use of the Basque trill in two contact areas: the city of Bilbao, a low contact area, and the town of Bermeo, a high contact area. I follow a social network methodology to investigate how monolingual and bilingual speakers acquire the contact features through either: (a) contact with bilinguals in their social networks such as friends and work and/or (b) through their family, i.e. through parental input. I also examine whether the origin of the bilingual, in terms of coming from a high or low contact area, has an effect on the use of the trill.


XII, 223
ISBN (Hardcover)
Publication date
2015 (August)
South America Mexico Latino
New York, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, Oxford, Wien, 2015. XII, 223 pp., num. ill.

Biographical notes

Kim Potowski (Volume editor) Talia Bugel (Volume editor)

Kim Potowski (PhD in Hispanic linguistics, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign) is Associate Professor of Hispanic Linguistics at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Her research focuses on Spanish in the United States, including books about language use in a dual immersion school and teaching heritage speakers. Her current work explores features of Mexican and Puerto Rican Spanish in Chicago, as well as mixed Latino «MexiRican» language and identity. With a Fulbright grant, she worked in Oaxaca, Mexico, studying the features of English and Spanish and the schooling experiences of «transnational» youth who have returned to Mexico from the United States. Talia Bugel (PhD in Hispanic linguistics, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign) is Associate Professor of Spanish at Indiana University-Purdue University, Fort Wayne. Her research focuses on language attitudes and language policy in the context of teaching Spanish and Portuguese as foreign languages in Brazil, Argentina, and Uruguay. Her work has been published in Studies in Hispanic and Lusophone Linguistics, Language Policy, Latin American Research Review, Hispania, and Revista Internacional de Lingüística Iberoamericana.


Title: Sociolinguistic Change Across the Spanish-Speaking World
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