Christina Isabelli, PhD
Illinois Wesleyan University
Department of Hispanic Studies

Introduction to Spanish Linguistics (FR)
 Spanish 373
  - Fall 2016

IL Wesleyan University
PO Box 2900
Bloomington, IL 61702

309-556-3284 (fax)

email me



Azevedo, M. (2009). Introducción a la lingüística española. 3rd Edition. New Jersey: Prentice Hall 
Articles for oral presentations
A bilingual dictionary - I recommend a dictionary that has phonetic transcriptions of Spanish words. (The New World)
Optional readings
Glosario lingüí­stico
PREREQUISITE - SPN 303 or equivalent.


Linguistics is the scientific study of language, which is one of the most characteristic human attributes. In contrast to other language-related disciplines, linguistics is concerned with describing the rule-governed structures of languages, determining the extent to which these structures are universal or language-particular, positing constraints on possible linguistic structures, and explaining why there is only a fairly narrow range of possible human languages.


This course provides an introduction to Spanish linguistics and establishes the basis for the application of linguistic principles. The content included is an overview of linguistic rules with a focus on Spanish. The course begins with an introduction to the description and organization of data dealing with phonology (how sound patterns form words). Building on this, the discussion continues with topics in morphology (word formation and verbal inflection) and the description and organization of data dealing with syntax (how words combine to form phrases and sentences). Finally the course ends by analyzing the regional variations of Spanish (dialectology) where the students apply the first three concepts (phonology, morphology and syntax) to contrast and compare the regional categories of Spanish use world-wide including the following six modalities: Peninsular (Northern/Southern Spain), Atlantic (Canary Islands/Latin America), USA, Equatorial Guinea, Judeo-Spanish and Creoles.


This course emphasizes formal reasoning and critical thinking skills in which we examine and define different linguistic skill sets including: how to parse sound, word, and sentence structures of Spanish; language change; the social factors that affect language; and the rules that govern the apparently vast number of different languages. 


Course Goal:

The goal of this course is to provide students with a level of knowledge that enables them to make connections between the structure of Spanish and relevant issues in contemporary Hispanic linguistics, such as generative grammar, language variation, bilingualism, and Spanish in the United States. Thus, course readings and activities will include discussions of research in language acquisition, sociolinguistics and historical linguistics in order to apply the theoretical constructs (formal systems) studied.


General Education Objectives – Formal Reasoning:

In keeping with the overall goals of the General Education program, in particular the goals of enabling students to use formal methods of reasoning in problem solving, and of developing students’ capacities for critical thinking, courses in the category of "Formal Reasoning" seek to:

  • familiarize students with several formal systems
  • promote the understanding of formal systems and their use in identifying, analyzing and solving problems
  • provide a real-world context for the use of formal reasoning
  • convey an appreciation of formal systems