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DepositThe Making of Catalan Linguistic Identity in Medieval and Early Modern Times

The historical relationship between the Catalan and Occitan languages had a definitive impact on the linguistic identity of the powerful Crown of Aragon and the emergent Spanish Empire. Drawing upon a wealth of historical documents, linguistic treatises and literary texts, this book offers fresh insights into the political and cultural forces that shaped national identities in the Iberian Peninsula and, consequently, neighboring areas of the Mediterranean during the Middle Ages and the Early Modern Period. The innovative textual approach taken in these pages exposes the multifaceted ways in which the boundaries between the region’s most prestigious languages were contested, and demonstrates how linguistic identities were linked to ongoing struggles for political power. As the analysis reveals, the ideological construction of Occitan would play a crucial role in the construction of a unified Catalan, and Catalan would, in turn, give rise to a fervent debate around ‘Spanish’ language that has endured through the present day. This book will appeal to students and scholars of historical linguistics, sociolinguistics, Hispanic linguistics, Catalan language and linguistics, anthropological linguistics, Early Modern literature and culture, and the history of the Mediterranean.

MemberWhitney Chappell

…2013    Ph.D. in Hispanic Linguistics, The Department of Spanish and Portuguese, The Ohio State University.
2009    M.A. in English with a specialization in Linguistics, The Department of English, Northern Illinois University.
2006    B.A. in English and Spanish, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Summa cum laude.

At UTSA, I teach classes on language and gender, bilingualism, sociolinguistics, Spanish phonetics and phonology, introduction to Spanish linguistics, and language and identity, among many others. My teaching philosophy is grounded in engaged, active student learning where the classroom is a fun, dynamic, and student-centered environment. In addition to sparking my students’ interest in linguistics, my goal is to help students become more inquisitive individuals who are capable of thinking critically inside and outside of the classroom. I also conduct research, and my work has been published in Language Variation and Change, The Journal of Voice, Studies in Hispanic and Lusophone Linguistics, Spanish in Context, Heritage Language Journal, Hispanic Studies Review, Hispania, and many other peer-reviewed journals and edited volumes. In my research I am particularly fascinated by the nexus of sound and social meaning, and my research attempts to answer the following questions: How do we index our social affiliations through our use of phonetic variables? How do we use them to create closeness to or distance from certain groups? How much social information do we pick up on when we hear someone produce a particular variant? My publications delve into these questions in Central American Spanish and, more recently, in native and heritage Mexican Spanish in the United States. In pursuing these questions, my work sheds light on how phonetic variables help us construct and negotiate social identities and social memberships in Spanish. Finally, I contribute to my university through service work at the department, college, and university levels. My philosophy of service is simple: through leadership, organization, and teamwork my colleagues and I can work together to continually improve our university.