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Spanish and Portuguese, Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures

Hispanic Linguistics

Hispanic Linguistics News

Language Acquisition Research Center meetings - Mondays in Herter 301.

Fore more information regarding events in the Linguistics program at UMass, please click here.

Professor Gubitosi with her advisees Covadonga Sánchez, Fiona Dixon, Alba Arias and Sheryl Bernardo at the LASSO Conference in New Brunswick
Professor Gubitosi presented "Periphrastic passive form vs. passive se in Southwest Spanish". Alba gave a talk on "El paradigma nominal: la concordancia de género en la comunidad hispanohablante de Nueva Inglaterra". Sheryl's presentation was regarding "Cavite Chabacano Anaphors". Fiona presented "Donkeys and Elephants: Presuppositions and Implicatures in Political Discourse". Covadonga gave a talk about "A study from a multiple grammars perspective: the present progressive in the L1 English L2 Spanish grammar". Also, a joint study was presented by Fiona and Covadonga entitled "U Shaped Learning: A Study on Word Order Processing".

New Faculty Member: Meghan Armstrong
Meghan Armstrong's (Ph.D. Hispanic Linguistics, The Ohio State University) main line of research deals with intonational development. She is interested in how children acquire intonational forms and their meanings. She is also interested in other cues (such as facial gestures) that play a role in this development process. She has worked on the acquisition of incredulity intonation in both Puerto Rican Spanish and Central Catalan.

Luiz Amaral presents a paper on Wapichana in Brazil
Luiz Amaral and Wendy Leandro (UFRR) presented a paper called The Relativizer '-uraz' in Wapichana during a conference on Recursion in Brazilian Languages and Beyond that took place in Rio de Janeiro – Brazil.

Pedagogical Grammars for Native Brazilian Languages (Museu do Índio - UNESCO)
Luiz Amaral offered the first workshop on Pedagogical Grammars for Native Brazilian Languages to a group of linguists and indigenous teachers in Saquarema-RJ (Brazil). The project is sponsored by UNESCO and the Brazilian Government and it is coordinated by Museu do Índio (Museum of the Amerindian) in Rio de Janeiro. The goal is to prepare pedagogical grammars that describe five native Brazilian languages: Ikpeng, Karaja, Kawaiwete, Paresi and Wapichana. Luiz is the lead consultant on the project he designed to train field linguists and indigenous teachers on how to produce grammar books that focus on language use and contextualized examples of specific language forms in order to make them accessible to language teachers and their students. Besides coordinating the general project, Luiz works directly on the Wapichana grammar together with other linguists and indigenous teachers. Suzi Lima (UMass Linguistics) also participated in the workshop as the coordinator of the Kawaiwete team, representing a language with which she has been working for several years.

Congratulations to all our graduate students who graduated this Spring 2013

  • Covadonga Sanchez: Master of Arts
  • Fiona Dixon: Master of Arts

María Turrero in Dallas, Texas: "They Can Go the Distance"
María Turrero presented her work "They Can Go the Distance: Adult L2 Learners of Spanish and Their Responses to Wh- Islands" at the annual conference of the American Association of Applied Linguistics, in Dallas, Tx, on March 19th 2013.

Heritage speakers' interpretation of island constraints: L2-like, or native-like?
María Turrero gave a talk entitled "Heritage speakers' interpretation of island constraints: L2-like, or native-like?" at the Structural Changes in Heritage Languages Workshop, in Noordwijkerhout, The Netherlands, on January 23rd 2013

"Struggling identity in a dialect contact setting"

Prof. Patricia Gubitosi presented a paper entitled "Struggling identity in a dialect contact setting", at the 24th Conference on Spanish in the US (SIUS), in McAllen, Texas. In her paper, Gubitosi examines language use among bilingual of minority varieties of the Spanish spoken in Massachusetts.

Graduate Student Run Café Olé and Café Lusófono
Spanish and Portuguese Graduate Students decided to organized and host once a week sessions to come together and chat with undergraduate Spanish/Portuguese majors and minors. The sessions are in order to help students perfect their oral ability in the foreign language, and get to know graduate students who have gone through alot of the same struggles. For more information, join the email list at

Two dissertation defenses in Hispanic Linguistics

  • Elena García Frazier: PhD Dissertation, "Concept-based Teaching and Spanish Modality in Heritage Language Learners: a Vygotskyan Approach"
  • Marie Polizzi: PhD Dissertation, ""The Development of Spanish Aspect in the Second Language Classroom: Concept-Based Pedagogy and Dynamic Assessment"

Andie Faber and Maria Turrero at UUSLAW
Andie presented her work on L1 & L2 processing of subject pronouns with epicene and bigender antecedents, and discussed the new experiment she is running this fall looking at L2 processing and the interpretation of accusative pronouns in embedded constructions. Maria delivered a paper called "Measuring distances: long distance and medial interpretations of wh-islands in L2 speakers of Spanish: Methodological considerations", in which she discussed previous research findings, and some experiments she will be presenting to her dissertation committee this coming Friday.

Workshop for Karaja Teachers in Brazil
Luiz Amaral (UMass) and Marcus Maia (UFRJ - Brazil) offered a workshop for Karajá teachers at the Hawaló village. This workshop is part of a pilot project to design pedagogical grammars in native Brazilian languages. During the workshop participants studied some relevant components of pedagogical grammars, explored different models of pedagogical grammars in Portuguese, English and Spanish, and designed 8 chapters for a Karajá grammar, including explanations, examples, texts, and exercises.

Patricia Gubitosi at the LASSO Conference in Indiana
Oct. 15-Prof. Patricia Gubitosi gave a talk on "Negotiating identity in a dialect contact environment" at the 41 Annual meeting of the Linguistic Association of the Southwest (LASSO), in Fort Wayne, Indiana, October 11-13, 2012. In her presentation, Dr. Gubitosi analysed the linguistic attitudes of speakers of minority Spanish dialects in Western Massachusetts and the correlation between speakers' varieties and language choices.

Andie Faber gives a presentation in Fortaleza, Brazil
May 2012-- PhD Student Andrea Faber (Hispanic Linguistics) gave a talk on "Processing of Anaphoric Subjects with Epicene and Bigender Antecedents by Native and English L2 Speakers of Spanish" at the II Workshop em Processamento Anafórico" organized by the Universidade Federal do Ceará, in Fortaleza, Brazil.

Prof. Luiz Amaral collaborates with Prof. Tom Roeper (UMASS, Linguistics) on the theory of Multiple Grammars (MG)
Multiple Grammars (MG) is a theory of representation that was originally proposed by Roeper (1999) to explain how idiosyncratic, incompatible rules could exist in adult monolingual grammars, and how they played a role in child first language acquisition. The extension of a model that was also called Universal Bilingualism to describe the interlanguage representation in adult second language learners, and bilinguals in general, seems to be an obvious next step. Luiz Amaral (photo) and Tom Roeper are currently working on expanding the model and testing its predictions for different constructions in second and heritage language acquisition.

Prospero Garcia is now Assistant Professor at Rutgers Camden
Congratulations to Próspero on his successful dissertation defense, and his new job as a tenure track Assistant Professor at Rutgers Camden.

Beatriz Pariente-Beltran is now Spanish Language Program Director at Carleton College
Congratulations to Beatriz on her successful dissertation defense, and her new job as Language Program Director at Carlton College.

Congratulations to our MA Students (Class 2012)!
Congratulations to Dave Dericco, and Silvia Perez for successfully completing their M.A. in Hispanic Linguistics.

Beginning of the year meeting:
We had our first meeting of Hispanic linguists on August 29, 2012. We were happy to inform the members of our program that we will be searching for a new professor in Hispanic Linguistics this year. We also discussed the updates to our program and congratulated the members of our group for their achievements during the 2011/12 academic year.

Recursion in Brazilian Languages and Beyond
Luiz Amaral, Tom Roeper (UMass Linguistics) and Marcus Maia (Federal University of Rio de Janeiro) are organizing a conference on Recursion in Brazilian Languages and Beyond. The conference will take place in Rio in 2013, and the call for papers will come out in December.

Formal Approached to Heritage Language:
The Language Acquisition Research Center would like to thank all of the presenters, attendees, and organizers for making the Formal Approaches to Heritage Languages conference such a success. Over 60 researchers, students and teachers shared their r Research and provided a thoughtful and insightful forum for discussion of heritage languages. Check LARC's web site for more details.

Past Events

Christian DiCanio: "Variation in Trique tone: from coarticulation to modeling"

Michael Ramsammy: "Feature specification and coarticulation at the phonology-phonetics interface"

Bethany MacLeod's talk: "Perceptual salience and phonetic accommodation in two Spanish dialects"

Holly Cashman will give the talk "Doing knowing fútbol: gender & epistemics in interaction"
Thursday November 29 at 4:00 PM in Herter Hall 301, Dr. Holly Cashman, from the University of New Hampshire, will give the talk "Doing knowing fútbol: gender & epistemics in interaction in Spanish-language broadcast soccer discourse."