1st Edition

Bringing Linguistics into the Spanish Language Classroom
A Teacher's Guide

ISBN 9780367111960
Published March 31, 2021 by Routledge
168 Pages

USD $39.95

Prices & shipping based on shipping country


Book Description

Bringing Linguistics into the Spanish Language Classroom is a practical, time-saving resource that allows teachers to easily integrate the most interesting and important findings of Hispanic linguistics into their Spanish language classes.

Teachers will find classroom-ready explanations and PowerPoint slides for each topic covered, as well as instructions and materials for in-class activities and take-home projects that will engage students in this fresh take on the target language. Slide presentations for each chapter are available online at www.routledge.com/9780367111960.

The book covers aspects of Spanish from the trilled r to the personal a, from Indo-European origins to modern dialects, and from children’s first words to adult speech errors. An innovative set of five linguistics-based essential questions organizes and contextualizes this wide range of material:

  • How is Spanish different from other languages?
  • How is Spanish similar to other languages?
  • What are the roots of Spanish?
  • How does Spanish vary?
  • How do people learn and use Spanish?

Fully customizable to teacher and student interest, proficiency level, and time available in class, this book is ideal for Spanish language teachers looking to incorporate valuable linguistic insights into their curricula, even if they lack prior knowledge of this field. It is an excellent resource for Hispanic linguistics courses as well.

Table of Contents




Why linguistics?

How to use this book

More about the essential questions

Chapter 1: How is Spanish different from other languages?

Spanish in the world

Speakers and countries

The Academy system

The Nobel Prize in Literature

Language features

The inverted ¿ and ¡ marks

The eñe

The th sound

The mega-preposition en

The two imperfect subjunctives

The variety of Spanish past tenses

Gendered first and second person pronouns

Chapter 2: How is Spanish similar to other languages?

Limited capitalization

Five vowels

Simple syllables

The trilled r

Special locative

Multiple 'you' pronouns

Frequent irregular verbs

Preterite and imperfect


The personal a

Chapter 3: What are the roots of Spanish?

External history

A bird’s-eye view of the history of Spanish

Spanish as an Indo-European language

Spain before Latin

The Roman conquest

After Rome

The Reconquista

Spanish comes to the Americas

Modern times

Internal history

The sound changes that shaped Spanish words

Sources of Spanish words

Changes in meaning

Por and para

The many descendents of Latin ille ‘that’

The evolution of the Spanish verb system

Irregular yo verbs (-zco and -go)

Stem-changing verbs

The extreme irregularity of ser and ir

Drastic changes in the Latin noun system

Chapter 4: How does Spanish vary?

Dialects and multilingualism

Spanish dialects

Multilingualism in Spain

Multilingualism in Latin America


Language features

Variation in Spanish pronunciation

Weakening or deletion of final s

Yeísmo, seseo, and ceceo

Deleting d between vowels

Puerto Rican r



Subject pronouns

Non-standard verb forms

Variation in verb use

Chapter 5: How do people learn and use Spanish?

Learning Spanish

Motherese ("baby talk")

Order of acquisition of consonants

First words

Learning semantic contrasts

Noun agreement

Order of acquisition of verb tenses

Learning to conjugate

Second-language learning

Using Spanish

Speech errors

Language and thought

Spanish "Pig Latin"

Appendix A: In-class activities

Appendix B:. Take-home projects

Appendix C: Slides


View More



Judy Hochberg has a PhD in linguistics from Stanford University and teaches Spanish at Fordham University, New York. She is the author of ¿Por qué? 101 Questions about Spanish (2016) and blogs at spanishlinguist.us.


"This book is a very timely resource for teachers who are keen to develop a basic linguistic awareness in students of modern languages and who need to develop confidence in this area themselves. It focusses on a number of aspects of the Spanish language which are known to be of particular interest (as well as often being popularly misunderstood) and explains them in an easily accessible way, while remaining authoritative and academically rigorous. At the same time, it is remarkable just how much ground is covered, which will surely whet the learners' (and indeed teachers') appetite for deeper knowledge. The briefings in English provided for teachers are followed by invaluable 'Teacher talk' sections giving the essential information in Spanish; they are accompanied by in-class and take-home activities, and are accompanied by a set of attractive powerpoint presentations (in Spanish). Professor Hochberg has set an admirable model for similar enterprises."

Christopher Pountain, Queen Mary University of London, UK