Introducción a la lingüística hispánica actual: teoría y práctica is a book designed to introduce undergraduate students in Hispanic Linguistics to the theoretical and practical aspects of the analysis of language. The target audience of the book is undergraduate students in Hispanic Linguistics in the United States; however, the book can also be used to teach native speakers. Prior knowledge in the field of Linguistics is not necessary to fully understand the concepts presented in the text due to its introductory level. The book is organized in eight chapters plus an introduction and a bilingual glossary. Each chapter is supplemented with a section of exercises, suggestions for research projects, additional readings, and a list of concepts introduced in the chapters
The introductory chapter covers basic content related to the introduction to language, communication, the comparison between animal communication and language, communicative functions, neurolinguistics, core evidence of linguistics, and current issues of contemporary linguistics. All these topics are meant to initiate students with the basic terminology of linguistics as well as the methodologies applied to the study of language. The authors offer a theoretical orientation towards generative approaches as one of the most representative frameworks in contemporary linguistics.
The second chapter is concerned with the phonetics and phonology of Spanish. The chapter begins with a description of vowels and consonants in terms of their phonology, which means the structural relationships they have in Spanish. An inventory of phonemes and their description is presented. The chapter also includes a section on syllabification and phonological transcription. [End Page 335] The fourth section of the chapter is dedicated to an articulatory description of the sounds of Spanish. A practical section on phonetic transcription is also presented. The last section of the chapter is a short explanation of suprasegmentals with a focus on lexical accent and intonation.
The third chapter is dedicated to the morphology of the Spanish language. The first section presents the basic concepts of the field distinguishing between different types of affixes (prefixes and suffixes) and types of words according to their structure. The authors then provide sections on derivational morphology, other procedures for the creation of new words, a description of grammatical categories, and inflectional morphology of nouns and verbs.
Chapter 4 presents a general overview of Spanish syntax. The authors begin this chapter explaining four general principles which are descriptive of the creativity of language. Then, a description of the concept of grammatical phrases (syntagmas) is introduced. The chapter moves to describe the syntactic functions, the notion of argument and adjuncts, the x-bar theory, the distinction between compound sentences and simple sentences, and finally word order.
In chapter 5, the authors provide an overview of semantics and pragmatics. The sections on semantics focus on the distinction between denotative and connotative meaning, semantic roles, lexical semantics, metaphors, and idiomatic expressions. The sections on pragmatics present an overview of deixis, speech acts, politeness research, and the study of irony and humor.
The history of Spanish is described in chapter 6. A general introduction to diachronic linguistics is provided at the beginning of the chapter. The second section is concerned with the influences of pre-Romanic languages in the Iberian Peninsula. The third section focuses on the evolution of Latin until the first Spanish texts appear. The fourth section illustrates the particulars of two linguistic changes from Medieval Spanish to Contemporary Spanish. The two last sections provide examples of similarities between Romance languages as well as linguistic borrowing in Spanish.
Chapter 7 is dedicated to dialectal variation in the Spanish-speaking world. The first section presents introduction to basic concepts of linguistic variability. The second section provides a description of three main dialectical areas of Peninsular Spanish (Castilian, Andalusian, and Canary). The third section offers a general perspective of dialectal (areas) of Latin America, including Caribbean, Mexican-Central American, Andean, River-Plate, and Chilean Spanish. The last section is dedicated to US Spanish.