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A Brief History of the Spanish Language [Paperback]

David A Pharies

Price: £21.00 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

1 May 2007
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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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press; New edition edition (1 May 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0226666832
  • ISBN-13: 978-0226666839
  • Product Dimensions: 20 x 14 x 2 cm
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 836,667 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

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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The one constant in our world and our universe is change. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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Amazon.com: 4.7 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Untangles History: Spanish 21 Aug 2008
By Readalots - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
David Pharies' "A Brief History of the Spanish Language" (2007 298-page paperback) will soon become a languages study classic. In this handy quick-read the good professor presents the etymology for the language spoken by 325 million people in 21 countries. This authoritative study is convincing and well researched with six pages of bibliography, an eleven-page glossary of Spanish words, nine helpful maps, and a usable 18-page "Index of Spanish Words Cited".

Beginning his history of Spanish, Dr. Pharies reviews hundreds of its words with regard to syntax, grammar, conjugations, lenition, vocalic merger, declensions, and much more. This "romantic" language has it roots in ancient Latin, is influenced by the early medieval Visigoths and Muslims, matured by Renaissance French, and polished by modern English. Pharies deduces that much has been adopted from other languages because Spanish authorities have been tentative in establishing language boundaries.

Aside from the significant history proffered here this great little book is readable and quickly accessed. Pharies' scholarship is directly presented and easily found. The non-Spanish speaker will find helpful his translation for all Spanish quoted. Native speakers will be delighted by the discussions for the origins of long used words (from Latin's "bracchia" to Spanish "brazos" for "arms") and beloved phrases (from "Et pues que entro en..." to "Y despues gue entro en..." for "And after he entered..."). The perplexing disappearance, in recent years, of "vosotros" is carefully offered.

Pharies reviews Visigothic (in Spain form 629 to 711), Arabic (Muslims occupied the peninsula from 718 to 1492), and Castilian (united Spain in 1492) contributions to Spanish. The "reconquesta" of the Iberian Peninsula completed by the late 15th century "Reyes Catolicos" is effectively analyzed. The author considers Spanish's development from its prominent authors (king Alfonso, Juan de Mena, Fernando de Rojos, Miguel Cervantes, etc.). The elusive history of Sephardic Spanish is presented. Finally, this book dispels the myth of the lisping king Felipe 2 as the origin of "th" sound for "s". Pharies untangles confusion about Spanish

Although much of Pharies has a technical edge, the linguistically untrained will find here much of interest. This book is recommended to everyone with an interest in Spanish, history of Spain, or language development.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Language history made accessible 7 Dec 2010
By Paige C. - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I was assigned this book for a class this semester, and it has made Spanish linguistic history really interesting and accessible for me (I've never taken a Spanish language history course before). The author gives great introductions and includes information in sidebars that highlights and gives details to more interesting topics.
I would highly recommend this book for anyone who is interested in knowing more about the history of the Spanish language!
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Brief History of the Spanish Language 4 Jun 2009
By Elias Rivers - Published on Amazon.com
It's the best available, with a minimum of technical terms. Some terms are difficult, but can't be avoided. Set up to be used as a textbook.
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