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Jill Robbins, Chair 150 W 21st Street, Stop B3700, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-471-4936

Spring 2006

SPN 386 • History of the Spanish Language: Old Spanish

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
47260 TTh
8:00 AM-9:30 AM
BEN 1.118

Course Description

This course examines the phonological, morphosyntactic, and lexicosemantic evolution of Spanish up to the medieval period as reflected in texts dating mostly from the 12th to the 15th centuries. The aim is for participants to develop a basic knowledge of the linguistic processes involved, to build a bibliography of available resources, and to acquire experience in reading and commentary of selected texts in verse and prose. Course structure is as follows: 1. Historical and linguistic background: the Latin heritage, Latin in Spain, effects of occupation and reconquest, and the development of castellano toward the status of supraregional norm. Examination of early documents.

2. Phonological evolution: processes of phonological change, transmission of popular and learned vocabulary, development of the vowel and consonant systems, characteristics of medieval phonology and its further evolution. Orthography and pronunciation. 3. Morphosyntax: processes of morphological change, evolution of the major parts of speech (nouns, adjectives, pronouns, verbs, etc.), function words (prepositions and conjunctions), and the syntax of conditional sentences. 4. Lexicon and semantics: vocabulary inherited from Latin and pre-Roman languages and borrowings from others (arabisms, gallicisms, amerindianisms, etc.), types of word formation, nature and causes of semantic change and its consequences. 5. Text commentary: Study of examples of formal text commentary. Each of the above sections will provide guided exercises in commentary of medieval texts in terms of the specific linguistic domain (phonology, etc.).

Grading Policy

Three essays reflecting research on the above topics plus in-class presentations ( 75%); in-class presentations and other participation (25%).


Ralph Penny, A history of the Spanish language R. l. Trask, Historical Linguistics Thomas Lathrop, Curso de gramática histïrica espa ìola: selections D. Gifford and F. Hodcroft, Textos lingüðsticos del medioevo espa ìol


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