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v2.1 Reference

Varieties of Spanish in the United States

Thirty-three million people in the United States speak some variety of Spanish, making it the second most used language in the country. Some of these people are recent immigrants from many different countries who have brought with them the linguistic traits of their homelands, while others come from families who have lived in this country for hundreds of years. John M. Lipski traces the importance of the Spanish language in the United States and presents an overview of the major varieties of Spanish that are spoken there.

Varieties of Spanish in the United States provides—in a single volume—useful descriptions of the distinguishing characteristics of the major varieties, from Cuban and Puerto Rican, through Mexican and various Central American strains, to the traditional varieties dating back to the sixteenth and eighteenth centuries found in New Mexico and Louisiana. Each profile includes a concise sketch of the historical background of each Spanish-speaking group; current demographic information; its sociolinguistic configurations; and information about the phonetics, morphology, syntax, lexicon, and each group's interactions with English and other varieties of Spanish. Lipski also outlines the scholarship that documents the variation and richness of these varieties, and he probes the phenomenon popularly known as "Spanglish."

The distillation of an entire academic career spent investigating and promoting the Spanish language in the United States, this valuable reference for teachers, scholars, students, and interested bystanders serves as a testimony to the vitality and legitimacy of the Spanish language in the United States. It is recommended for courses on Spanish in the United States, Spanish dialectology and sociolinguistics, and teaching Spanish to heritage speakers.

About the Author

John M. Lipski is Edwin Erle Sparks Professor of Spanish and Linguistics in the Department of Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese at The Pennsylvania State University. He is the author of several books, including Latin American Spanish, El español de América, and A History of Afro-Hispanic Language Contact. He is also editor of the journal Hispanic Linguistics.


"Belongs in the personal library of every linguist who specializes in the Spanish of the United States."—Language Problems and Language Planning

"An engaging style and impeccable publication . . . Obligatory reading for teachers involved in bilingual or heritage language education."—Modern Language Journal

"A very welcome addition to our accumulation of knowledge on the subject of Spanish in the United States. It has the advantage of being accessible to, and usable by, a wide spectrum of interested readers, both in linguistics per se and in the sociology of language. The author is to be congratulated for a job well done, well organized, and exquisitely presented."—Journal of Sociolinguistics

"The book shares with the rest of Lipski's work the fruits of his broad reading, wide-ranging fieldwork, impeccable scholarship, excellent organization, and exceptional clarity. Varieties of Spanish in the United States is a valuable and important contribution to the fields of Hispanic dialectology and language contact phenomena, and will be of interest to specialists and non-specialists alike."—Revista Internacional de Linguistica Iberoamericana

"This book offers a wealth of information in mostly very accessible and well-structured form."—Bulletin of Spanish Studies


"This book provides an impressive amount of useful information about Spanish in the U.S. The reader will not only learn about the past and present vitality of Spanish in the U.S. but also about the extensive scholarship devoted to documenting its many varieties."—Carmen Silva-Corvalán, University of Southern California

"Specialists in the field will celebrate the publication of Varieties of Spanish in the United States, which is the first book-length scholarly treatment not limited to a particular region or variety of Spanish in the United States. Lipski is the person best-suited for this undertaking, given the breadth of his command of the relevant literature and his own fieldwork."—Rena Torres Cacoullos, University of New Mexico

"Varieties of Spanish in the United States is a top-notch production by a scholar with a breadth of field that few can match. John Lipski covers the field thoroughly, with a sure and confident voice. Specialists will welcome this thorough volume, majors and graduates will get a foundational understanding of the research that has gone on for the past fifty years, and instructors will naturally reach for it."—Otto Santa Ana, University of California, Los Angeles

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