- The handbook of Hispanic linguistics ed. by José Ignacio Hualde, Antxon Olarrea, and Erin O'Rourke
The growing strength and advancement of the field of Hispanic linguistics cannot go unnoticed, as scientific investigations and curricular offerings expand in number and scope, attracting ever-wider audiences to the scholarly literature on Spanish linguistics. Thus, irrespective of one's position toward the proliferation and specialization of handbooks in linguistics, this installment in the commandingWiley-Blackwell series-The handbook of Hispanic linguistics-is welcome and overdue; it will serve as indispensable reading for the seasoned researcher and imperative reference for the novice.
In their concise editors' note, José Ignacio Hualde, Antxon Olarrea, and Erin O'Rourke state their intention to offer a 'state-of-the-art' compendium in linguistic research on Spanish. And this they achieve: the collection comprises forty original chapters on all facets of the Spanish language, including its origins, evolution, structure, use, acquisition, and processing. The editors further state that the commissioned contributions were assessed by external referees and by the editors themselves. And, indeed, they were well vetted: the chapters are uniform in their near-faultless exposition of descriptive knowledge and their elaboration of analytical accomplishments and challenges in the field of Hispanic linguistics. The outcome of their efforts is further appreciated in the organization of the volume, as the works reflect a collaborative and dynamic style through cross-referenced material between chapters. Three of the chapters are prepared by the editors, and the remaining thirty-seven by a host of international scholars, many of whom are recognized leaders in their particular areas (among them, Ignacio Bosque, Josep Maria Brucart, Manuel Carreiras, Concepción Company Company, Albert Costa, Violeta Demonte, John Lipski, Silvina Montrul, and Nuria Sebastián-Gallés); others are rising researchers in this and allied fields (e.g. Jerid Francom, Miquel Simonet, and Rebeka Campos-Astorkiza).
The impressive cohort of forty-eight specialists has furnished an encyclopedic effort encapsulated in 863 pages (plus an index) that advances the literature in Spanish linguistics and the various subdisciplines represented. Their contributions are stand-alone chapters of comparable length, but they vary in depth of theoretical treatment and, hence, in clarity. A number of the submissions are appropriate for lay audiences and linguistics students at early stages of study, but other submissions call for greater expertise. The chapters by J. CLANCY CLEMENTS, 'The Spanish-based creoles' (27-46), and CARMEN SILVA-CORVALÁN, 'Acquisition of Spanish in bilingual contexts' (783-801), stand out as offering straightforward and engaging readings on popular topics; and BOB DE JONGE and DORIEN NIEUWENHUIJSEN, in 'Forms of address' (247-62), and JOSÉ MANUEL IGOA, in 'Language impairments' (827-46), present nonexpert audiences with accessible discussions of questions of usage in normative and disordered speech, taking on themes that are often overlooked in similar compendia. Likewise, the chapters vary in purpose and impact. Some authors adopt a broad purview in contextualizing their appointed topics, as do VICTORIA ESCANDELL-VIDAL, who reviews the trends and developments in the independent study of sentence structure, meaning, and illocutionary force in 'Speech acts' (629-51), and MARÍA CARREIRA, who appraises in 'Heritage Spanish' (765-82) the growing subfield of heritage language studies in the United States. Still other chapters serve as forums for advanced argumentation, as is the case with JOSÉ CAMACHO's 'Ser and estar: The individual/stage-level distinction and aspectual predication' (453-75), which concludes with a proposal for the aspectual properties that determine the distribution of Spanish copular verbs.
Of course, individual readers could be of different minds as to the comprehensiveness of coverage of The handbook of Hispanic linguistics. While structural aspects of the language are thoroughly represented in this wide-ranging endeavor, readers interested in sociolinguistic, applied, and psycholinguistic perspectives get short shrift and should instead turn to The handbook of Hispanic sociolinguistics (Díaz-Campos...