The handbook of hispanic linguistics

The handbook of hispanic linguistics. Ed. by José Ignacio Hualde, Antxon Olarrea, and Erin O’Rourke. (Blackwell handbooks in linguistics.) Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2012. Pp. 898. ISBN 9781405198820. $199.95 (Hb).

Reviewed by Natalie Operstein, California State University Fullerton

As stated in the editors’ note, this handbook aims ‘to present the state of the art of research in all aspects of the Spanish language’ (xxi). It consists of forty chapters, partially grouped in thematically-related clusters.

Spanish sound structure is covered in ‘The phonemes of Spanish’ (Rebeka Campos-Astorkiza), ‘Main phonological processes’ (Fernando Martínez-Gil), ‘Syllable structure’ (Sonia Colina), ‘Stress and rhythm’ (José Ignacio Hualde), and ‘Intonation in Spanish’ (Erin O’Rourke). Spanish word structure is discussed in ‘Derivation and compounding’ (Soledad Varela) and ‘Morphological structure of verbal forms’ (Manuel Pérez Saldanya).

Syntactic topics are addressed in ‘Structure of the noun phrase’ (M. Carme Picallo), ‘The simple sentence’ (Héctor Campos), ‘Coordination and subordination’ (Ricardo Etxepare), ‘Wh-movement: Interrogatives, exclamatives, and relatives’ (Jerid Francom), ‘Binding: Deixis, anaphors, pronominals’ (Luis Eguren), ‘Empty categories and ellipsis’ (Josep María Brucart and Jonathan E. Macdonald), and ‘Word order and information structure’ (Antxon Olarrea).

Semantics and pragmatics are emphasized in  ‘Quantification’ (Javier Gutiérrez-Rexach) and ‘Speech acts’ (Victoria Escandell-Vidal), while the following chapters cover interfaces among the various linguistic modules: ‘Morphophonological alternations’ (David Eddington), ‘Structure of the verb phrase’ (Jaume Mateu), ‘Indefiniteness and specificity’ (Manuel Leonetti), ‘Tense and aspect’ (Karen Zagona), ‘Mood: Indicative vs. subjunctive’ (Ignacio Bosque), and ‘Discourse syntax’ (Catherine E. Travis and Rena Torres Cacoullos).

Another group of chapters discusses topics related to language acquisition: ‘First language acquisition of Spanish sounds and prosody’ (Conxita Lleó), ‘The L2 acquisition of Spanish phonetics and phonology’ (Miquel Simonet), ‘Theoretical perspectives on the L2 acquisition of Spanish’ (Silvina Montrul), ‘Acquisition of Spanish in bilingual contexts’ (Carmen Silva-Corvalán), ‘Spanish as a heritage language’ (María M. Carreira), ‘Spanish as a second language and teaching methodologies’ (Cristina Sanz), ‘Reading words and sentences in Spanish’ (Manuel Carreiras, Jon Andoni Duñabeitia, and Nicola Molinaro), ‘Lexical access in Spanish as a first and second language’ (Albert Costa, Iva Ivanova, Cristina Baus, and Nuria Sebastián-Gallés), and ‘Language impairments’ (José Manuel Igoa).

Several chapters are devoted to topics of particular theoretical interest to Spanish linguistics: ‘Ser and Estar: The individual/stage-level distinction and aspectual predication’ (José Camacho), ‘Clitics in Spanish’ (Francisco Ordóñez), ‘Passives and se constructions’ (Amaya Mendikoetxea), and ‘Forms of address’ (Bob de Jonge and Dorien Nieuwenhuijsen). Diachronic linguistics is the primary focus of ‘Spanish among the Ibero-Romance languages’ (Christopher J. Pountain) and ‘Historical morphosyntax and grammaticalization’ (Concepción Company Company). ‘Spanish in contact with Amerindian languages’ (Anna María Escobar) and ‘The Spanish-based creoles’ (J. Clancy Clements) focus on language-contact phenomena, and ‘Geographical and social varieties of Spanish: An overview’ (John M. Lipski), on dialectal variation.

Most chapters in this book combine descriptive outlines with theoretical analyses, although the presentation varies with the author, some preferring the bottom-up approach, from Spanish-language data to general linguistic theory, and others opting to exemplify theoretical models with Spanish-language data. The treatment in each chapter is selective, focusing on issues that are either central to, or particularly relevant for current theoretical concerns in, the relevant field. The book is geared toward the currently most researched topics in Spanish linguistics, and it will be of interest to students and researchers seeking critical state-of-the-art overviews of some of the most important current issues in the field.