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Conference Information

Full Title: Spanish Dialects Meeting

Location: Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Spain
Start Date: 20-Apr-2017 - 21-Apr-2017
Contact: Ángel J. Gallego
Meeting Email: click here to access email
Meeting Description: Dialects of Spanish have been the focus of systematic research ever since the first linguistic atlases were developed at the beginning of the 20th century (e.g., Menéndez-Pidal’s ill-fated ALPI; cf. Fernández-Ordóñez 2009, García-Mouton 2016), an interest that grew with the advent of structuralism, and is nowadays exploiting new tools and technologies to obtain a better mapping of the properties and boundaries of Spanish varieties. Significantly, dialectal studies have largely neglected phenomena falling out of the domains of phonetics, morphology, and the lexicon-for which strategies capitalizing on statistical, reconstructive, and comparative techniques have proved useful (cf. Chambers & Trudgill 1998, Chambers & Schilling-Estes 2013, Labov 1994, 2001, Labov, Ash & Boberg 2006, Petyt 1980, Campbell 2001). Most of those works take into account geographic and social factors in order to explain variation (and change), and made it possible to understand sociolinguistic phenomena such as “diglosia,” “dialectal continua,” and “transitional areas.” Another of the results of this line of research was that of achieving an adequate characterization of units such as “phoneme,” “morpheme,” and “distinctive feature,” which allowed and boosted the investigations based on fieldwork, leading to typological studies like those of Joseph Greenberg (cf. Greenberg 1963).

In the case of Spanish, studies on dialectal variation have focused on those very domains: the lexicon, phonetics, and morphology (cf. Alvar 1996a, 1996b, Fernández-Ordóñez 2011, García-Mouton 1994, Kany 1945, among others). In the last decades, different lines of research have emerged trying to favor a transition towards studies where other components of grammar (especially syntax) have a more prominent position. Those attempts gave rise to a significantly growing literature with doctoral theses, papers, handbooks, and conference proceedings (cf. Hualde et al. 2012, Gutiérrez-Rexach 2016, and references therein), but it can be said that the key turning point arises with the publication of the Gramática Descriptiva de la Lengua Española (Bosque & Demonte 1999) and the Nueva Gramática de la Lengua Española (RAE-ASALE 2009, 2011), works where entire sections are devoted to discuss different case studies of variation.

Along with the appearance of such publications, in the last forty years, syntactic theory has developed and put into practice tools and methods that complement the existing structuralist work, making it possible to approach dialectal variation in a comprehensive, detailed and formal fashion. Many of those tools have its origin in the Principles and Parameters (P&P) framework (cf. Chomsky 1981), which has proved very useful in order to characterize many languages, establishing points of uniformity (the “principles”) and points of variation (the “parameters”) (cf. Belletti y Rizzi 1996, Barbiers 2014, Biberauer 2008, Cinque & Kayne 2005, Gallego 2011, Kayne 2000, 2005, Mendívil 2009, Picallo 2014, and references therein). This line of research evolved into the concept of “micro-parameter” (i.e., specific points of variation in closely related varieties of the same language or languages). Given that we have these tools, along with all we have learnt in the last almost 20 years (precisely when the two reference grammars of Spanish have been published), there is no reason for studies on grammatical variation not to move into new terrain.

Invited Speakers:

Ángela Di Tullio
Instituto de Filología y Literaturas Hispánicas “Dr. Amado Alonso”
Universidad de Buenos Aires

Ricardo Etxepare
IKER, Centre de Recherche sur la Langue et les Textes Basques
CNRS, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique
Linguistic Subfield: Morphology; Semantics; Syntax; Text/Corpus Linguistics; Typology
Subject Language: Spanish
LL Issue: 28.130

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