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Charles R. Hale, Director SRH 1.310, 2300 Red River Street D0800, Austin, TX 78712 • 512.471.5551

Sergio Romero

Assistant Professor Ph.D. Linguistics, University of Pennsylvania

Fellow of Peter T. Flawn Centennial Assistant Professorship in Spanish Language and Literature, LLILAS and Department of Spanish & Portuguese
Sergio Romero


  • Phone: 512.232.4525; 512.232.2420
  • Office: BEN 4.104; SRH 1.323
  • Office Hours: T 11:30-12:30 PM, W 2:00-3:00 PM, TH 11:00 - 12:00 PM


Language variation and change; linguistic anthropology; Christian registers in indigenous languages; Mayan languages; Nahuatl; Quechua

LAS 381 • Lang & Index In Latin Amer

39638 • Fall 2015
Meets W 100pm-400pm CMA 3.134
(also listed as ILA 386 )
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This course will explore the social and cultural roles of language variation and change in Latin America. First, building on classic work in variationist sociolinguistics and linguistic anthropology, we will consider the complex articulation of linguistic variation with macro- and micro-social phenomena. Taking a comparative perspective, we will contrast different analytic approaches such as Labov’s variationist sociolinguistics, Michael Silverstein’s work on indexicality and Mary Bucholtz’s recent work in socio-cultural linguistics. Second, we will examine the concept of “language ideology” in the work of scholars like Kathryn Woolard, Paul Kroskrity, Judith Irvine, Susan Gal, Michael Silverstein and Asif Agha. Armed with an understanding of the creative tension between representation and practice in language, we will study how cultural categories (ethnicity, race, social class, gender) and power relations are realized in naturally occurring linguistic interaction. Throughout the course we will discuss the role of sociolinguistic and ethnographic methods in the study of identity in interaction. Case studies will focus on Latin America – both indigenous and non-indigenous- and social issues pertaining to language contact in this area.


1)            The challenges of the study of language variation

2)            Language structure and linguistic practice

3)            Indexicality and communication

4)            Cultural categories and sociolinguistic variation

5)            Performance, identity and indexicality

6)            Language ideologies and communicative practice

7)            Ethnicity and gender in Latin American languages


Final paper                            50%

Paper presentation                 10%

Participation                          20%

Short presentations               20%


Agha, A. (2007). Language and social relations. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.

Hanks, W. (1988). Referential Practice. Chicago, University of Chicago Press.

Irvine, J. and S. Gal (2000). Language ideology and linguistic differentiation. Regimes of Language: Ideologies, Polities, and Identities. P. Kroskrity. Santa Fe, School of American Research: 35-83.

Kroskrity, P. (2000). Regimes of language: Ideologies, politics and identities. Santa Fe, School of American Research.

Labov, W. (1994). Principles of Language Change Vol. 1. Internal Factors. Cambridge, Blackwell Publishers.

Romero, S. (2015). Language and Ethnicity among the K’ichee’ Maya. Provo, University of Utah Press.

Schieffelin, B., K. Woolard and P. Kroskrity (1998). Language ideologies: Practice and theory. New York/Oxford, Oxford University Press.

Silverstein, M. (1976). Meaning in anthropology. Shifters, linguistic categories and cultural descriptions. Albuquerque, University of Mexico Press: 11-55.

Silverstein, M. (1981). The Limits of Awareness. Austin, Southwest Educational Development Library.

Silverstein, M. (2003). "Indexical order and the dialectics of sociolinguistic life." Language & Communication 23: 193-229.

Silverstein, M. (2003). "The Whens and Wheres— As Well As Hows—of Ethnolinguistic Recognition." Public Culture 15(3): 531-557.



LAS 328 • K'Ichee' Peoples: Cul/His/Lang

39644 • Spring 2015
Meets TTH 200pm-330pm SRH 1.313
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This course is an introduction to the life and language of the K’ichee’ Maya, an ethnically diverse people speaking related varieties of the same language in the western highlands of Guatemala.

LAS 392S • Lang/Christnty In Col Lat Amer

40669 • Spring 2013
Meets TTH 500pm-630pm MEZ 1.204
(also listed as SPN 383M )
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This seminar will explore the cultural and linguistic implications of the encounter between Native American and Catholic religious traditions after the European conquest. Focusing especially on Mesoamerica and the Andes, we will examine the development of the Spanish missionary project, the dilemmas of translating Christian theology and ritual, the rise of pastoral registers in indigenous languages, the notion of syncretism and its problems, the development of Native American Christianity in the Colonial period and the rise of indigenous ‘folk Catholicism’. Special attention will be given to the Nahua of Central Mexico, the Maya of Yucatan and Highland Guatemala and the Quechua of Southern Peru and Bolivia. We will do extensive readings of indigenous primary sources, and detailed analysis of key texts. Participants will be required to have a reading knowledge of Spanish and/or Portuguese. Knowledge of Nahuatl, a Mayan language or Quechua would be desirable. 


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