A Brief History of the Spanish Language

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University of Chicago Press, Sep 15, 2008 - Language Arts & Disciplines - 248 pages
2 Reviews
Spanish is the fourth most widely spoken language in the world and a language of ever-increasing importance in the United States. In what will likely become the introduction to the history of the Spanish language, David Pharies clearly and concisely charts the evolution of Spanish from its Indo-European roots to its present form. An internationally recognized expert on the history and development of this language, Pharies brings to his subject a precise sense of what students of Spanish linguistics need to know.

After introductory chapters on what it means to study the history of a language, the concept of linguistic change, and the nature of language families, Pharies traces the development of Spanish from its Latin roots, all with the minimum amount of technical language possible. In the core sections of the book, readers are treated to an engaging and remarkably succinct presentation of the genealogy and development of the language, including accounts of the structures and peculiarities of Latin, the historical and cultural events that deeply influenced the shaping of the language, the nature of Medieval Spanish, the language myths that have become attached to Spanish, and the development of the language beyond the Iberian Peninsula, especially in the Americas. Focusing on the most important facets of the language’s evolution, this compact work makes the history of Spanish accessible to anyone with a knowledge of Spanish and a readiness to grasp basic linguistic concepts.

Available in both English and Spanish editions, A Brief History of the Spanish Language provides a truly outstanding introduction to the exciting story of one of the world’s great languages.

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Anyone who speaks a language understands that they have a history. Words, phrases, and pronunciations have changed over time, bringing with them new constructions, new ideas, and new ways of ... Read full review


1 Language Change
2 The Genealogy of Spanish
3 External History of the Iberian Peninsula up to the Thirteenth Century
4 The Latin Language
Morphology and Syntax
7 From Medieval Castilian to Modern Spanish
8 History of the Spanish Lexicon
9 Spanish Dialectology
Rudiments of Spanish Phonetics and Phonology
Glossary of Linguistic Terms
Works Cited
Index of Spanish Words Cited
Subject Index

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About the author (2008)

David Pharies is professor of Spanish and Linguistics and chair of the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures at the University of Florida and editor-in-chief of the bestselling University of Chicago Spanish Dictionary, Fifth Edition.

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