Hispanic Studies Review, Vol. 4, No. 1, 2019.

The coherence between functional patterns and cognitive construction: Spanish usted and ustedes as displaced second persons

By Miguel A. Aijón Oliva, Universidad de Salamanca, Spain.

Hispanic Studies Review – Vol. 4, No. 1 (2019): 1-25 


Spanish pronouns usted and ustedes entail an apparent discordance between reference and grammatical form, insofar as they index addressees but correlate with third-person morphemes. Their use represents a cognitive displacement from the prototypical second person as a way to construct others in discourse. This study analyzes their functional variation in a corpus of Peninsular written and oral media language and according to several features, including object marking with the particle a, object agreement through verbal clitics, and the formulation and placement of subject pronouns. While some results suggest the persistence of third-person features in usted and ustedes, they more often behave like first- and second-person forms. This is put in connection with the higher cognitive salience of addressees as against external referents. In turn, the strong preference for dative clitics and postverbal subject pronouns—the latter resembling subject-agreement morphemes—is interpreted as contributing to the functional differentiation of a grammatical paradigm not exactly assimilable to either second- or third-person ones. 

La crisis, la risa y catarsis: The 2008 Financial Crash and Comedic Representations of Spanish Emigration 

By Joanne Britland, University of Virginia.

Hispanic Studies Review – Vol. 4, No. 1 (2019): 26-39 


The 2008 financial and social crisis was and continues to be one of the greatest challenges facing Spain in recent times. Its repercussions include soaring rates of unemployment, substantial numbers of evictions, and an overall disillusionment with the nation’s political institutions. This article examines another consequence of the crisis: mass Spanish emigration. Focusing on Nacho Velilla’s 2015 film Perdiendo el norte, and Borja Cobeaga and Diego San José’s novel Venirse arriba (2014), the study draws on comedic theory and sheds light on how humor in cultural production serves as a tool to address Spanish financial, social, and political anxieties regarding the precarious economic and social predicament. 

Un discurso socio-temporal: el tiempo vigilante en Entre visillos de Carmen Martín Gaite 

Por Bruce Milton Hobson Cole, University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

Hispanic Studies Review – Vol. 4, No. 1 (2019): 40-54 


A pesar de que el tiempo es un elemento constante en la novela Entre visillos de Carmen Martín Gaite, poco se ha escrito sobre el discurso temporal que abarca y regula todas las actividades de los personajes femeninos en esta obra. Tanto en la novela como en la sociedad española de entonces, la noción del tiempo no ha servido a otra causa que a la de la subyugación de las mujeres. Entre visillos problematiza la posición de las mujeres ante esta situación ya que pocas mujeres, obligadas a perpetuar el sistema patriarcal, se escapan del ojo del tiempo que vigila el camino fértil de la mujer. 

Reading Landívar in Antigua: Luis Cardoza y Aragón at Home in Exile

By Brian Davisson, Mississippi State University.

Hispanic Studies Review – Vol. 4, No. 1 (2019): 55-65 


Guatemalan poet Luis Cardoza y Aragón’s return from exile in 1944, at the onset of the Guatemalan Revolution, presented him with considerable personal difficulties, many of which he was not able to overcome during his time in his homeland. His poetry from this period wrestles with this struggle, displaying contradictory feelings on the idea of return, and breaking from his prose works that dealt with his homecoming in more triumphant terms. He discovered in the writings of fellow exiled Colonial-era poet Rafael Landívar, however, a means of bridging his separation from the home nation by effectively guiding the earlier poet through his return to Guatemala. This article argues that Cardoza found within the works of Landívar an analogue to his own circumstance, one which would allow him to find solace in the circumstance of his troubled return. He would subsequently carry this poetic homeland with him upon his second departure from Guatemala in 1952, as a means of fixing the identity of Guatemala in terms that no longer reflected the nation’s political reality but delivered subjectivity to its marginalized classes, a group he likewise viewed as surviving a political exile.

Fenced-in Readings: Testimonio and Post-Conflict Narrative from Criticism to the U.S. Classroom 

By Eric Henager, Rhodes College.

Hispanic Studies Review – Vol. 4, No. 1 (2019): 66-79 


The problematic relationship between testimonio and its privileged readers is a matter that is frequently taken up in criticism of the genre and that echoes through a range of post-conflict fictional narratives written by Central American authors. In Horacio Castellanos Moya’s novel Insensatez (2004) and Eduardo Halfon’s short story “Lejano” (2008), marginalized voices are brought into institutional spaces where they create new tensions for privileged subjects. A critical reading of features of the two texts that intersect with multicultural learning goals as they are expressed in U.S. college mission statements suggests a series of implications for college-based readings of both testimonio and the post-conflict narratives that dialogue with it. 

Phonological Awareness and Spelling of Spanish Vowels in Spanish Heritage Language Learners 

By Amàlia Llombart-Huesca, California State Polytechnic University, Pomona.

Hispanic Studies Review – Vol. 4, No. 1 (2019): 80-97 


Spanish heritage language learners (SHL) in secondary and postsecondary education experience significant difficulties with spelling. This study focuses on a subset of errors found in Beaudrie’s (2012) corpus of SHLs’ misspellings: errors involving vowel omission, addition, and transposition. The study investigates the hypothesis that these errors are the result of underdeveloped phonological awareness (PA), defined as the ability to manipulate and discriminate speech units independent of meaning (Mattingly, 1972). Eighty-one SHL participants completed one language proficiency task and three PA tasks involving the contrast between monophthongs and diphthongs in real words and pseudowords. The results suggest that vowel misspellings involving the letters e and i are not due to orthographic interference of English spelling, but rather to difficulties in phonological segmentation and discrimination of these vowels. The paper also discusses the links between synchronic and diachronic variability in the Spanish vocalic system and the individual PA development of SHLs. 

L2 acquisition of Spanish stress in segmentally identical words 

By Christina A. Mirisis, St. Norbert College.

Hispanic Studies Review – Vol. 4, No. 1 (2019): 98-120 


This study investigates whether second language (L2) Spanish learners at different points in a university curriculum, students enrolled in either a second- or fourth-semester required Spanish language course versus students enrolled in a sixth-semester elective Spanish course, use stress as a cue to distinguish between segmentally identical words (e.g., término ‘end’ or ‘term’, termino ‘I finish’, and terminó ‘you (formal)/he/she finished’) in both production and perception. In addition to level of Spanish instruction (second/fourth semester versus sixth semester), stress position (antepenultimate, penultimate, final) also had a significant effect on learners’ production and perception accuracy. Given the effects of these factors, the L2 learners in the present study used stress as a cue to distinguish between segmentally identical words in production and perception to varying degrees. Finally, both groups of learners’ higher perception accuracy suggests that they first acquire the ability to perceive Spanish stress. 

Raza or Race? Remembering Slavery in Equatorial Guinean Literature 

By Martin Repinecz, University of San Diego.

Hispanic Studies Review – Vol. 4, No. 1 (2019): 121-135 


In recent decades, in an effort to combat the limited visibility of their works, many Equatorial Guinean writers have sought to integrate their works within a larger, Spanish-speaking cultural sphere. Their efforts invite reflection on how these writers reinforce or deviate from historical ideas of transnational Hispanic identity, such as hispanismo or Hispanidad. The present study argues that several Equatorial Guinean literary texts, including works by Donato Ndongo-Bidyogo, Francisco Zamora Loboch and Juan Tomás Ávila Laurel, aim to revise historical theories of transnational Hispanic identity by presenting the memory of slavery as an integral part of the shared heritage of Spanish-speaking countries. By enshrining a memory of the transatlantic slave trade, these writers envision a global Hispanophone identity that can be disentangled from its colonial roots, while also creating pathways for solidarity between diverse Afro-Hispanic identities in Africa, Europe and the Americas. 

Espejismos de perpetuidad: el leitmotiv de la biblioteca en Las esquinas del aire de Juan Manuel de Prada. 

Por Javier Sánchez, Stockton University.

Hispanic Studies Review – Vol. 4, No. 1 (2019): 136-151 


El ensayo analiza el leitmotiv de la biblioteca y los libros en la obra de Juan Manuel de Prada Las esquinas del aire. En busca de Ana María Martínez Sagi (2000). La novela presenta una biografía detectivesca donde el narrador/personaje reconstruye la vida de la poeta, atleta, reportera y exiliada Sagi. Al incorporarse fotografías, testimonios, artículos, cartas (elementos extra-textuales), la crítica literaria postuló que la poeta fue resucitada y embalsamada para la posteridad. Sin embargo, el leitmotiv de la biblioteca (bajo modelos de Jorge Luis Borges) nos pide ser más cautelosos. El discurso del mismo narrador/personaje realza la noción de que “la escritura es la argamasa del olvido”. Las bibliotecas (de Martel, Tabares, Gago, Gabriela y Mercedes) son cementerios laberínticos, caóticos, decrépitos y lúgubres donde privan la desintegración y el olvido. El leitmotiv de la biblioteca advierte sobre la frágil perpetuidad obtenida por medio de la escritura. 

Beauty, Love, and a Clumsy Lover in Cervantes’s Neoplatonic World: The Case of “La gitanilla” 

By Kátia Sherman, Hillsdale College.

Hispanic Studies Review – Vol. 4, No. 1 (2019): 152-164 


While critics have commented widely on the overall Neoplatonic tone of Cervantes’s “La gitanilla,” little has been said about the profound ways in which this novela ejemplar diverges from its Platonic frame. By considering Plato’s and Marsilio Ficino’s writings, this article explores the irony present in Cervantes’s articulation of the Platonic and Neoplatonic ideas of beauty and love and suggests that Juan de Cárcamo’s failure to fully embody the exemplariness of a Platonic lover points to the moral and spiritual deterioration identified by Cervantes in his own society. 

On comparison groups in heritage phonetics/phonology research: The case of bilingual Spanish vowels 

By Megan Solon, Nyssa Knarvik, and Josh DeClerck, University at Albany.

Hispanic Studies Review – Vol. 4, No. 1 (2019): 165-192 


Previous research on heritage Spanish vowel production (e.g., Ronquest, 2012, 2013; Willis, 2005) has revealed consistent and systematic differences—including asymmetry in the vowel space, condensing and fronting of back vowels, and reduction and centralization of unstressed vowels—as compared to traditional descriptions of the monolingual Spanish vowel triangle. The present study takes another look at heritage Spanish vowels (both quality and quantity), using a group of “homeland” native Spanish-speaking late Spanish-English bilinguals for comparison purposes. Data for both groups were collected via a dyadic, meaning-focused task. Results revealed no significant differences between heritage and homeland groups in overall vowel quality or vowel quantity. Both speaker groups produced some atonic vowels with distinct quality and shorter durations than their tonic counterparts, but, again, few differences were found between groups. The heritage speaker data alone appear comparable to those of previous studies; however, the comparison to native Spanish-speaking late bilinguals points to important similarities to other native speakers’ vowels not previously signaled in studies that compare production to monolingual norms. 

Comments are closed.