Department of Spanish and Portuguese

College of Letters & Science

Specialization in Spanish Linguistics

We believe that Ph.D. candidates should be encouraged to gain familiarity not with a single approach to linguistic analysis, but with the advantages of considering linguistic topics from multiple theoretical standpoints. Thus linguistic theory is to be seen as a tool to be manipulated in the analysis of both the current varieties of Spanish and in the historical development of these varieties, including as wide a view as possible of their various spoken and written manifestations. It is important for the candidate, therefore, to develop both an understanding of linguistic concepts and of the way they may be applied to language data. This program is designed to provide such an integrated approach.
The Hispano-Romance Philology/Linguistics Ph.D. program in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at the University of Wisconsin-Madison offers three areas of concentration:
  • Description and Development of Peninsular Spanish
  • Description and Development of American Spanish
  • Applied Spanish Linguistics
In the doctoral program the student selects a major from the three areas; the other two automatically become supporting fields. The major is the area of specialization; the student is expected to have a thorough knowledge of the currents, primary works and critical bibliography pertaining to it. The student is expected to be familiar with the most significant linguistic schools and approaches (Neogrammarian, Structuralist, Transformational-Generative, Sociolinguistics, Contrastive Analysis, Input Hypothesis (Monitor Model), Universal Hypothesis, Pragmatics, Discourse Analysis, Processing Instruction, etc.) as well as the most important currents and developments in the two supporting fields; additionally, the student must have a good knowledge of critical bibliography. The program of studies leading toward the Ph.D. in this Department provides multiple opportunities for the development of analytical skills, and integrated with those skills an extensive knowledge of theoretical issues. The selection of the major and supporting fields is made by the beginning of the second semester of doctoral studies. Any subsequent change should be recorded promptly in the departmental office.