The Afro-Bolivian Spanish Determiner Phrase
A Microparametric Account
Sandro SessaregoTheoretical Developments in Hispanic Linguistics
Language Arts & Disciplines / Linguistics
164 pp. 6x9
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“Theoretically grounded on microparametric syntax, this well-focused investigation offers fresh and fascinating insights into a speech variety—Black Highland Bolivian Spanish—that has been overlooked until recently. As such, Sessarego’s valuable study adds further momentum to the ever more nuanced study of Black speech in Latin America, and provides definitive proof that the tapestry of New World Spanish is often unusually rich in remote and difficult-to-access areas.” —Armin Schwegler, professor of Spanish linguistics, University of California, Irvine
“The combination of syntactic theory and sociolinguistic variationist approaches is innovative and makes a significant contribution to broader areas of linguistic research, in particular the principled study of linguistic variation and the application of theoretical models to issues of historical dialectology. Sessarego has made a very cohesive case that is consistent with both known historical data and observable linguistic behavior.” —John Lipski, Edward Erle Sparks Professor of Spanish and Linguistics, Pennsylvania State University
In this important new study, Sandro Sessarego provides a syntactic description of the Afro-Bolivian Spanish determiner phrase. Afro-Bolivian Spanish is one of the many Afro-Hispanic dialects spoken across Latin America and, from a theoretical point of view, is rich in constructions that would be considered ungrammatical in standard Spanish. Yet these constructions form the core grammar of these less-prestigious, but equally efficient, syntactic systems. Because of the wide variety of their usages, Sessarego’s study of these contact varieties is particularly valuable in developing and refining theories of syntactic microvariation.
This dialect presents phenomena that offer a real challenge to current linguistic theory. The Afro-Bolivian Spanish Determiner Phrase elaborates on the importance of enhancing a stronger dialogue between formal generative theory and sociolinguistic methodology, in line with recent work in the field of minimalist syntax. Sessarego’s study combines sociolinguistic techniques of data collection with generative models of data analysis to obtain more fine-grained, empirically testable generalizations.
Sandro Sessarego is an assistant professor of Hispanic linguistics in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at the University of Texas at Austin.