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Review of  Spanish in Contact: Issues in Bilingualism

Reviewer: Liliana Paredes
Book Title: Spanish in Contact: Issues in Bilingualism
Book Author: Ana Roca John B. Jensen
Publisher: Cascadilla Press
Linguistic Field(s): Applied Linguistics
Subject Language(s): Spanish
Issue Number: 8.1356

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[****editor's note: the following is the second in two reviews about
this volume. The first review can be found at: ***]

Roca, Ana and John Jensen, Eds (1996)_ Spanish in Contact. Issues in
Bilingualism. Somerville: Cascadilla Press

Reviewed by Liliana Paredes, <>

This book contains a selection of articles presented at the XII
Symposium on Spanish and Portuguese Bilingualism (Miami, 1991). For this
publication, the authors have revised, expanded and updated their papers,
and in spite of the wide range of topics and lines of investigation, all
of the articles have in common the analysis of a contact situation
between Spanish and another language.

In the Introduction, Roca and Jensen suggest that in spite of the
multidisciplinary approaches that can be used to analyze cases of
bilingualism, linguistics has the most to teach about what happens when
two languages come together' because in linguistics contact between
unlike entities can often shed new light on the nature of the entities
themselves.' Thus, the reader may expect that the selected articles will
contribute to understanding the nature of the languages under examination,
and therefore, the nature of the contact between them. Keeping
this in mind, the reader may also expect that the articles address the
issue of the similarities and differences between the languages in contact
in order to better understand what determines the outcome of the contact.

The book is organized in three parts. Part I presents three articles
about contact situations in Spain. The first article discusses the contact
between Spanish and Basque; the second examines the role of Spanish-Basque
bilingualism in the acquisition of a third language (English); and the third
article examines language attitudes in Barcelona. Part II includes four
essays discussing contact issues in Latin America. The first paper offers
a profile of the language situation in Mexico; the second examines the
contact between Spanish and Quechua in Peru; the third analyzes the bilingual
situation (Spanish-Guarani) in Paraguay; and the fourth explores the
contact situation of Spanish and English in an Anglo community in
Argentina. Finally, all but one of the seven articles in Part III, deal
with contact issues between Spanish and English in the
United States. In the following paragraphs I will briefly describe and
discuss each article.

The articles in Part I address issues of language contact in Spain.
In the first paper, Helebiduntasuna Euskadin: el Bilinguismo en el Pais Vasco,
Robert M. Hammond examines some influences of Spanish on Basque alongside the
influences that Basque has had on Spanish. One of his goals is to demonstrate
that such language influences have an implication for
language change. The data presented by Hammond cover the lexical,
phonological, and syntactic levels of language. Hammond provides a list of
lexical items in order to illustrate the influence of Basque on Spanish and
vice versa. The influence of Basque on Spanish is shown to
occur in the form of lexical derivations, whereas the influence of
Spanish on Basque seems to occur in the form of lexical borrowings. In
addition to the individual lexical items, Hammond
introduces a list of what he calls Basque calques, arguing that they may
have been borrowed from Spanish. Hammond does not offer a complete
explanation of why these examples are evidence of an outcome of language
contact. At the phonological level, Hammond describes the
inventory of vowels and consonants in Basque. Then, he mantains that
there is Basque influence on certain Spanish phonemes. One example of
this influence is the presence of an assibilated /r/
in Spanish. It is not clear if Hammond is refering only to an influence
on Basque Spanish or general Spanish, but in any case, the existence of the
assibilated form in other varieties of non-Peninsular Spanish raises a
question of its origin from a Basque-Spanish contact. At the
syntactic level, Hammond suggests Basque influence on certain Spanish
structures (uses of verbs of motion as auxiliaries, maintenance of the
three degrees of demonstratives). According to Hammond, Spanish influence
on Basque is observed in the unexpected' word order of
descriptive adjectives and nouns (Noun + Descriptive Adj.) and in the
presence of variability in right and left-gapping in Modern Basque.
The examples presented for the syntactic influence of
Spanish into Basque are interesting as a source of data, but more
research is needed in order to provide solid evidence indicating that
these instances of speech represent the outcome of
language contact. Finally, Hammond claims that the linguistic influences
he has discussed in his work as the direct result of language contact
appear to be important predictors of language
change' (9). Hammond bases his claim on the concept of the
sociolinguistic history of the speakers as 'the primary determinant
of the linguistic outcome of language contact' (Thomason
and Kaufman, 1988:35). However, Hammond's discussion of the
sociolinguistic history of the speakers (of Basque and Spanish) is
limited since he mentions the terms substratal and
superstratal influences without an in-depth discussion of these terms and
their implications. Thus, it is difficult for the reader to understand
what specific predictions are made for Spanish or Basque in terms of
language change.

The study presented by Cenoz in Learning a Third Language: Basque,
Spanish and English is based on the Interdependence Hypothesis, which
states that proficiency in one language can be transfered to another
provided that there is adequate exposure and motivation.
Cenoz's hypotheses state that: 1. Bilingualism will have a positive
effect on achievement of a third language (English), and 2. Bilingualism
will have a positive effect on the different
dimensions of English proficiency. What is important in Cenoz's study is
the fact that instruction of the third language is given in the
minority language (Basque), therefore, the level
of proficiency in this language (level of bilingualism) will determine
the level of proficiency attained in the third language. The subjects
of the study are Spanish monolingual students and
Spanish-Basque bilingual students. Six independent variables are
examined: school model (defined as language of instruction),
intelligence (IQ), socioeconomic status, attitudes towards
learning English, motivation, and exposure to the English language. As
dependent variables, five tests of achievement were given to measure
proficiency in English (speaking, listening, reading,
writing, and vocabulary and grammar).

Results of the statistical analysis support Cenoz's first hypothesis
indicating that students instructed in Basque, bilingual students,
achieved higher scores in English than students
instructed in Spanish (monolingual students). It is interesting to note
that motivation, language exposure, and socioeconomic status are the
factors that have a positive effect on the acquisition
of English, regardless of language of instruction or, in other words,
bilingualism. The effect of the independent variables on the
dependent variables (language skills) is examined next. For
three of the language skills examined (vocabulary and grammar, speaking,
and writing), motivation is an excellent predictor of achievement.
Achievement in reading and listening is better predicted by a factor
of intelligence. Bilingualism, on the other hand, is not the most
significant factor affecting the level of achievement in English. It is
the second most significant factor to predict oral proficiency, but
its significance decreases as a predictor of achievement in
other language skills. However, as stated by Cenoz, bilingualism clearly
has a positive effect on the achievement of English in general and on
the different dimensions of English proficiency in particular.
Doyle's study Referents of Catalan and Spanish for Bilingual Youths
in Barcelona explores the attitudes of Barcelona's teens towards Spanish
and Catalan. Doyle's analysis is qualitative and quantitative and is an
attempt to examine the results of the normalization
program in Catalonia. Doyle's methodology includes a survey applied to
school students whose parents fall into three categories: immigrant',
mixed', and native of Catalonia.' Doyle's study
shows the importance of the instrumental and integrative value of Catalan
for the subjects. Additionally, it is very interesting to observe that
proficiency in Catalan, another factor examined in this paper, is
significantly related to the integrative value of the language, whereas
instrumentality of the language has no relation to proficiency in
Catalan. The role of Catalan for the subjects is apparent. One aspect of
it is related to factors of ethnic and national identity.
Also, Catalan is considered a cultural asset, especially by the children
of immigrants, and in general Catalan is considered a vehicle of
communication (instrumental value). Spanish, on the
other hand, is mainly valued as a symbol of the state and as a useful
communicative tool. Doyle's anlysis of the value of Spanish to the
subjects of the research indicates that Spanish is
not threatened by the expansion of the Catalan language. Doyle's final
conclusion states that the normalization program has succeed in
promoting the identification of the Catalan language and
nation. A consequence of this is the erosion of the asymmetrical
relationship of Spanish and Catalan.

Part II starts with A Profile of Language Issues in Contemporary
Mexico by Margarita Hidalgo. In this paper Hidalgo examines current
language issues in Mexico, exploring the relationship between language
policy, bilingualism, indigenous langauges, national standard
dialect, and regional Spanish dialects. Hidalgo's first sections of the
paper offer an historic account of language policies during Colonial
and Independence periods in Mexico. Then, Hidalgo examines language
policies during the Twentieth Century. According to Hidalgo, it has
been just recently that Mexico has proclaimed itself to be a multilingual
and pluricultural nation. The past fifteen years have been characterized
by a policy of pluralism. The status of the indigenous languages varies.
The common trend is a process of Castilianization, even if there is
bilingual education. Another linguistic issue is the status of Indian
Spanish in modern Mexico because it entails the issue of language
proficiency in Spanish among bilingual (indigenous)
people. Indian Spanish is the farthest from the standard variety of
Spanish in Mexico; therefore, it has become the most marginal social
variety in Mexico. Standard Mexican Spanish is linked to
a prestigous variety of Castilian spoken in the 17th century. Since the
beginning of the 20th century, it has been the variety used in formal
education, mass media, and official affairs. Its
urban character has facilitated its expansion as the norma culta.'
Hidalgo also addresses the topic of popular Mexican-Spanish . Popular
Mexican-Spanish has its origins in rural areas which
are characterized by their isolation from urban areas and by the absence
of adequate formal education. The presence and spread of popular
Mexican-Spanish in urban Mexico is due to factors of intense
rural-to-urban mobilty, urbanization, and industralization. From a
dialectological perspective, Yucatecan Spanish seems to be an independent
dialect that is due primarily to the contact between Spanish and
Maya. Differences between this dialect and others appear not only in
the lexicon but also in the pronunciation and syntax. Given this profile of
language questions in Mexico, Hidalgo concludes that Standard Mexican
Spanish (SMS) has become a superimposed national dialect which has
to be acquired by speakers of indigenous languages, regional dialects,
and popular Mexican Spanish. This is not to say, however, that
SMS is a static variety. The contact with other forms of Spanish is
definitely a source of change in SMS. Additionally, the democratized
and massified higher education resulted in the decline
of traditional language forms. Thus, the sociolinguistic reality of
post-colonial Mexico is an intricate organism with five major
multidimensional spheres deeply interwoven' (70).

In The Spanish of the Peruvian Andes: The Influence of Quechua on
Spanish Language Structure, Carol Klee examines the contact between
two typologically different languages: Quechua and Spanish. The purpose
is to analyze three subsystems of Andean Spanish as well as
the Spanish interlanguage in order to determine to what extent Quechua
has influenced the Spanish of the region. Klee's ultimate goal is to
determine if, as proposed by Thomason and Kaufman (1988), any linguistic
feature can be transferred from any language to any other
language'; or if there are structural constraints on the features to be
transferred, as proposed by Silva-Corvalan (1990, 1993). The three
structures examined are the clitic pronoun system, word
order, and the past tense system. Over sixty subjects were selected to
carry out the research; this paper presents the results of the analysis
of 20 of the speakers. The subjects were selected
according to factors of sex, age, and social class. Language proficiency
(supposely in both languages) was determined by the speaker's report
on language usage. There seems to be an interaction between the factors
of social class, language proficiency, and level of education
achieved by the subjects of the research. Thus, the reader may wonder
which of these factors (if any) better explains the outcome of the
contact and how to isolate the effect of each of these
factors on language performance. Finally, if proficiency in any of the
languages in contact determines the level and amount of
transfer/interference, then an adequate measure of language
proficiency is needed. Klee's analysis of the data allows her to conclude
that there has been, in fact, interference from Quechua in the three
subsystems examined. The clitic system has been
symplified as the result of a strategy used in the acquisition of a
second language. The use of DOV word order -more common to Quechua-
is extended among certain speakers but following
the structure and the pragmatic use of Spanish. With respect to the past
tense system, speakers' usage of the present perfect and the past
perfect tenses reflect the expression of an obligatory
category of Quechua on the basis of a reinterpretation of the semantic
system of these Spanish tenses. Since none of these new' uses of
Spanish represents a radical change in the syntactic
structure of Spanish, Klee mantains that her research supports
Silva-Corvalan's proposal that the grammars of the languages in
contact need to be compatible in order to admit foreign influence.

In Language, Affect and Nationalism in Paraguay, Russinovich
examines the bilingual situation in Paraguay. The starting point of
Russinovich's study is the general assumption that bilingualism in
Paraguay is stable, and that both Spanish and Guarani are
seen with positive affect. The findings of this paper are interesting
since they challenge previous beliefs and offer a
different view of the Paraguay linguistic situation, which is not stable.
Furthermore, language attitudes are divergent, and there is a clear
diglossic situation. After a careful and detailed
review of census data, Russinovich determines that less than 50% of the
population in Paraguay was functionally bilingual and that Spanish
monolingualism covers approximately only 5% of the population, whereas
monolingualism in Guarani covered about 43% of the population in 1982.
Russinovich's concludes that Paraguay is characterized by different
language-usage norms depending mostly on the regional area (rural,
urban, the capital), although age, gender, and education also play roles
as determinants of linguistic norms. These norms range from Guarani
monolingualism to a bilingual continuum and, at the other extreme of the
scale, Spanish as the favored form of communication.

Cortes-Conde examines a case of possible stable bilingualism in Is
Stable Bilingualism Possible in an Immigrational Setting? The Anglo-Argentine
Case. The Anglo-Argentine community in Buenos Aires has apparently the
best of conditions to mantain a stable bilingual situation. Cortes-Conde
examines this situation with the goal of proving that language
maintenance and language shift are complex processes in any bilingual
situation. In fact, CC concludes that the community she examines is undergoing
language shift towards Spanish, in spite of the perfect' conditions
for language maintenance. The instrumental value of
Spanish is one of the reasons for the shift. What is interesting for the
author is that language shift does not imply individuals' loss of the
mother tongue. The loss occurs at the community level.

Part III consists of seven articles, of which the first one is
English Calques in Chicano Spanish by Smeand and Clegg. The authors
examine a corpus of Chicano Anglicisms in order to
apply their taxonomy of lexical borrowing (based on a previous taxonomy
by Otheguy and Garcia, 1988). In this paper, the authors focus on
calques and attempt to determine whether the calques are formally
convergent or divergent. It is important to mention that it is not
unproblematic to determine when a certain lexical item is a calque. This
is one of the limitations that the authors aknowledege. As a comment,
I consider that the reader of this article must be familiar with theories
and taxonomies of lexical borrowing in order to obtain a comprehensive
understanding of the new taxonomy proposed by the authors in this paper.

Yavas' study Differences in Voice Onset Time in Early and Later
Spanish-English Bilinguals examines the voice onset time (VOT)
values of the English stops /p, t, k/ in the speech
of bilinguals. The goal of this article is to determine the role of age
as a factor affecting the ability to obtain native-like pronunciation
of English. The author examines two groups of bilinguals whose age of
English acquisition are six and twelve respectively and whose exposure to
English has been about 14 years. Also, the author includes a control
group of Englishindentity of L-indexing between a governor and the trace' (199). monoliguals in order to have a point of reference for
the production of native VOTs. It is interesting that among the sentences
given to the subjects to read, the researcher included 10
examples that can be considered instances of codeswitching (134).
However, it would have been useful if the author had explained the
rationale behind these examples, and, moreover, if the
analysis would have distinguished between the two different sets of
sentences (as two independent variables). Yavas' results show that
early bilinguals' (age 6) speech is equal or very
similar to that of the English monolinguals. Late bilinguals'
performance, although different from the monolinguals, is still within
the possible limits of the native range. The final conclusion
of this paper is that the ability to acquiring native-like pronunciation
somewhat declines with the increase of age.

Bilinguals in Little Havana: The Phonology of a New Generation by
MacDonald is a study that attempts to replicate an early analysis of
phonological variation in English, with the goal of exploring possible
explanations that account for such variability. The author examines
two Cuban groups which are from two different social backgrounds. Four
English phonemes are selected for the analysis, and eight possible
variants are considered (145). These are at least two questions the reader
may wonder about with respect to the analysis in particular and the study
in general. First, it would have been worthwhile to incorporate in the
analysis an examination of the phonetic contexts in which these
particular phonemes were realized, in order to eliminate
other possible influences. Second, it seems questionable to argue that
the two groups of subjects analyzed are totally comparable. Observe,
for instance, that the mean arrival age for the Mariel
group is 9.4, whereas the mean arrival age for the comparable' group is
7.8. I consider this problematic since the author's main conclusion
states that age at arrival is the primary explanatory factor for the
phonetic variability found among the speakers. Additionally, the first
study done by the author considered three different groups according to
age at arrival in the USA. In the present study, the analysis only
considers one group of individuals that is, then, compared with one
of the groups previously examined. However, the conclusions of the paper
are drawn from the results obtained for all the groups included in the
author's first study.

Spanish in Contact with Itself and the Phonological Characterization
of Conservative and Radical Styles by Guitart does not fit the orientation
of Part III of this volume. Guitart's interests are focused on the
contact of lects of the same language. Some of the theory of
languages in contact is used to explore dialects in contact. Guitart
examines in particular the possibility of diglossic relationship
between lects (the extremes being High' and Low'), and
proposes the existence of different degrees of proficiency (including an
interlect parallelling the notion of interlanguage) in the lects that
a speaker may use. Another concept incorporated in
Guitart's study is style. He argues that a bilectal speaker has a
repertoire of styles covering a range that goes from Low to High.
Low and High are then associated with what Guitart has
proposed as radical' and conservative' varieties of Spanish. Guitart's
core analysis focuses on the lect contact situation between
Castilian and Andalusian in Southern Spain. The author
examines the occurrences of the sibilant phonemes in these two dialects
in Spain. Although it was not the purpose of the study, it would have
been useful if the author had presented examples of real speech
exhibiting the uses of radical and conservative styles. His description of
the uses is not rigorous in the sense that it only provides general
information and not specific evidence of what is proposed. Finally,
Guitart concludes that formal schooling does not guarantee automatic
control over the High style (the conservative variety of Spanish). Also,
Guitart suggests that in situations of lect contact there is switching
between the radical and conservative varieties within the same discourse.

Lipski, in Patterns of Pronominal Evolution in Cuban-American
Bilinguals, examines the use of overt vs. null subject pronouns among
Spanish-English bilinguals. The author's goal is to demonstrate that
there is no resetting of a pro-drop parameter among the bilinguals he studies.
The author also proposes that the syntactic and referential properties
related to overt and null subjects tend to converge, particularly when
the level of bilingualism favors English. Lipski presents and analyzes
data from bilingual and monolingual speech. From these data,
grammaticality judgments are requested from three different groups of
individuals: monolingual Spanish speakers, balanced bilinguals, and
English dominant bilinguals. The focus of study is on
transitional bilinguals, however, this study prompts Lipski to question
the definition of this type of bilinguals, partly because they do
not represent an homogeneous group. Therefore, Lipski's
conclusions are preliminary and not conclusive. Furthermore, Lipski
forsees the need to define an empirical measure to identify
transitional bilinguals objectively especially because transitional
bilinguals' speech provide valuable data of real bilingual performance.

Spanish-English Code-Switching: Conditions on Movement by D'Introno
is one of the two articles in this section that examines cases of
code-switching. The author's goal is to analyze code-switching examples
of balanced Spanish-English bilinguals. The focus of analysis are cases
of impossible utterances' and the goal is to explain them following the
Government and Binding theory (Chomsky 1981, 1986). D'Introno's review
and extension of Woolford's (1983,1984) study results in a proposal of
incorporating a universal condition on empty categories generated by
movement rules. This condition is related to the Empty Category Principle
and requires the 'identity of L-indexing between a governor and the trace'

The last paper of this book is Code-Switching in Generative Grammar
by Toribio and Rubin. The authors' goal is to propose a new model of
analysis for the study of syntactic aspects of language contact, among
which they include code-switching. The focus of their analysis are
cases of intrasentential code-switching and the authors examined them
from a Minimalist perspective. I find this paper interesting because it
proposes the incorporation of non-linguisitic factors into the study
of code-switching, and therefore, into the study of bilingualism. In
particular, level of proficiency has a significant effect on language
use. Thus, different bilingual behavior depends on how bilingual
speakers of different levels of proficency interpret the
constrains that structure code-switching.

The contributions to this volume vary in terms of content,
methodology, perspective, and also in terms of quality. Many of the
studies have the potential of motivating further research in
the area of languages in contact. In particular, I think that level of
proficiency in the analysis of bilingual data needs to be considered
in any study of bilingualism. Also, I agree with the authors
who propose that language samples and grammatical judgements from
unbalanced or transitional bilinguals (in this sense, data from the
interlanguage of bilingual speakers) provide a valuable source of data.
Thus, this book can be considered an important contribution to the field
of bilingualism and languages in contact.


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