Dissertation: teaching Spanish in Brazil

rbhatt at uiuc.edu rbhatt at uiuc.edu
Thu Mar 15 15:21:35 UTC 2007

A glaring omission of the **author** of the dissertation:  Dr. Talia Bugel.

---- Original message ----
>Date: Thu, 15 Mar 2007 11:15:45 -0400 (EDT)
>From: "Harold F. Schiffman" <haroldfs at ccat.sas.upenn.edu>  
>Subject: Dissertation: teaching Spanish in Brazil  
>To: Language Policy-List <lgpolicy-list at ccat.sas.upenn.edu>
>A Macro- and Micro-Sociolinguistic Study of Language Attitudes and
>Language Contact: Mercosur and the teaching of Spanish in Brazil
>Dissertation Director: Anna Maria Escobar
>Dissertation Abstract:
>This is a macro and microsociolinguistic study on the teaching of Spanish
>as a foreign language in Brazil after the formation of Mercosur, in 1991.
>Spanish being a pluricentric language, which variety(ies) of Spanish
>should be used for teaching the language in Brazil? The alleged lack of
>teachers trained for the task opened a breach through which the
>centripetal forces in charge of the international spread of Spanish
>entered Brazil. Such forces act side by side the centrifugal forces led by
>the agents of language use: the Spanish teachers from different origins,
>especially those from the River Plate region.
>The study explains how the centripetal forces shape the teaching of
>Spanish in Brazil, by studying: a) the voice of the Spanish media as a
>reflection of the centripetal forces, by means of Critical Discourse
>Analysis, b) the attitudes of teachers of Spanish in Brazil, their
>students, and laypeople, to the regional varieties of Spanish, by means of
>matched-guise tests and open questionnaires, and c) the use of Spanish in
>the classroom by River Plate teachers, by means of linguistic analysis of
>class recordings.
>The results expose a conflict among Spanish varieties in Brazil. One
>specifically focused on the Peninsular (Northern-Central Spain) and the
>Rioplatense varieties, and tightly tied to political, economic,
>educational and cultural factors that interplay among them in overt and
>covert dynamics. While the press analysis shows a process of
>commodification of the language aligned to the Peninsular variety, the
>study of attitudes presents a split in the participants' preferences,
>favoring the Rioplatense variety in measures of solidarity and evaluation,
>and the Peninsular variety in measures of power. When the focus turns to
>the agents of the centrifugal forces, the actual variety in use leans
>towards a pan-Hispanic combination of features favoring Latin American
>In terms of language policy and planning, such results show that the
>action of the centrifugal forces can actually limit the effects of the
>centrifugal forces. In terms of language analysis, further research is
>required to follow up on the evolution of the particular combination of
>Spanish varieties currently in use in Brazil.
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Associate Professor, Linguistics and SLATE
Department of Linguistics
University of Illinois
4088 FLB, 707 S. Mathews
Urbana, IL 61801

Email: rbhatt at uiuc.edu
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