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Learning Goals


The goals of the First Examination are:

  1. To provide students with solid preparation in two areas of sociolinguistics and working familiarity with the main themes that run across the humanities and social sciences
  2. To support their professional development as Spanish teachers and language educators
  3. To consolidate students´ knowledge of the grammatical structure of Spanish
With these goals in mind, the First Examination consist of three components:
  1. The sociolinguistics and politics of Spanish
  2. Language pedagogy
  3. The structure of Spanish
COMPONENT 1: The Sociolinguistics and Politics of Spanish
The first component of the exam will be organized around
  • one set of research paradigms and
  • two sets of topics
  1. Social dialectology, variationism and linguistic attitudes
  2. Glottopolitical studies, linguistic ideologies and the political economy of language
  3. Linguistic ethnography
  4. Interaction, discourse, and textual analysis
  5. Linguistic history and the archive
Typically at the beginning of their second semester in the program, students will meet with the Hispanic sociolinguistics track coordinator and choose two research paradigms. In close consultation with the coordinator and a three-member faculty examination committee, students will then develop a list of ten article-length texts for each of the research paradigms. The examination committee will mentor students as they select these texts and guide their reading to connect the chosen research paradigms’ relevance to the study of the items in the following topics lists.
  1. Set 1. Topics that articulate research across the humanities and social sciences:
  • Nationalism; colonialism and neocolonialism; imperialism; globalization; capitalism and neoliberalism; class; identity, ethnicity and race; indigeneity; mestizaje; hybridization; migration and diaspora; border; gender and sexuality; social movements; memory and history; literacy and writing.
  1. Set 2. Sociolinguistic topics and their relevance in Latin America, the Iberian Peninsula and the US:
  • Variation in Spanish; interaction and politeness in Spanish; dialects and attitudes; Spanish in contact with other languages; the defense of minoritized languages in conflict with Spanish; the officialization of bilingualism and multilingualism; language policy and regional integration (EU, Mercosur); Spanish as a minoritized language in the US; the standardization of Spanish and the normative question; the intralinguistic, social and political history of Spanish; teaching Spanish as a FL; teaching Spanish to heritage speakers.
The exam for this component will be take-home. The examination committee will prepare four questions for each student, two from each of the chosen research paradigms, that will be handed to them on the day when the first examination is scheduled by the program. Students will select one question from each paradigm, write responses (each of approximately 2000 words) and turn them in seventy two hours later.
COMPONENT 2: Language pedagogy
Under the supervision of and with advise from the examination committee, typically in the course of their first and/or second semester in the program, students will design two syllabi for undergraduate courses that will be submitted to the examination committee on the day when the first examination is scheduled by the program.
  • One for a sociolinguistics course
and one from the following two categories:
  • An elementary/intermediate or advanced course for speakers of languages other than Spanish
  • A course for heritage speakers
Each syllabus must contain
  • an introductory description to the course including learning goals and a rationale for the course’s structure and contents
  • a detailed identification of contents, assignments and homework for each lesson
  • an evaluation system linked to the course’s learning goals
  • a statement of the teaching methodology to be used
COMPONENT 3: The structure of Spanish
This will be a four-hour sit-down exam: two in the morning and two in the afternoon of the day when the first examination is scheduled by the program. Students will be given six questions selected by the examination committee out of the twenty questions listed below, three from each bloc. Students will have to answer two out of the three from each bloc.
  1. Las vocales del español comparadas con las del inglés: fonética y fonología
  2. Sonidos consonánticos nasales y su distribución fonológica
  3. Diferencias dialectales en el inventario fonémico
  4. Las consonantes fricativas y africadas y su comportamiento dialectal
  5. Las consonantes líquidas y su comportamiento dialectal
  6. Las consonantes oclusivas en español e inglés
  7. Alternancia morfofonológica entre diptongo y vocales medias
  8. La estructura silábica del español
  9. El sistema acentual del latín y el español
  10. La entonación en español
  1. El pronombre personal: formas y distribuciones, expresión y omisión (caps. 19 a 21)
  2. El pronombre personal: Leísmo, laísmo, loísmo; sistemas de tratamiento (caps. 22 y 23)
  3. Transitividad e intransitividad (cap. 24)
  4. Construcciones con se (cap. 26)
  5. La variación en las subordinadas sustantivas (cap. 34)
  6. El modo en las subordinadas sustantivas, relativas y adverbiales (caps. 49 y 50)
  7. Discurso directo y discurso indirecto (cap. 55)
  8. Los actos de habla (cap. 60)
  9. Los marcadores del discurso (cap. 63)
  10. Las funciones informativas: tema y foco (cap. 64)
The questions have been elaborated from the following two texts:
  • Ignacio Bosque and Violeta Demonte. 1999. Gramática descriptiva de la lengua española. Madrid: Espasa.
  • José Ignacio Hualde. 2014. Los sonidos del español. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Day 1
10:00 a.m.                   Submit syllabi (C2)
10:00-12:00 a.m.       Examen de fonología del español (C3)
2:30-4:30 p.m.           Examen de sintaxis del español (C3)
4:30 p.m.                    Receive set of four questions and select two (C1)
Day 2
4:30 p.m.                     Submit answers to C1 questions

Second Examination learning goals 

In preparation for the Second Examination, students develop annotated bibliographies and acquire a high level of competency in the traditional and current pursuits of the two areas of concentration which they have selected in consultation with the Examination Committee. Through research and writing of an 8000-word paper, they demonstrate their ability to conduct well-designed, thoroughly implemented original research and to make significant contributions to the field of concentration. The oral presentation of their research prepares them to present their work in professional forums.


First Examination learning goals: 

The purpose of the First Examination is to perform a literary critical reading of a set of 24 particular texts. In preparation for the First Examination, it is expected that students will develop their ability to use basic knowledge of critical and theoretical concepts in the analysis of literary texts from different periods in the fields of Latin American, Iberian and Latino Cultures. It is also expected that students will acquire a general knowledge of literary history in these fields and engage critically with bibliographies on the works selected for the examination. 

Second Examination goals: 

The Second Examination is designed to evaluate the students’ general knowledge of Hispanic or Luso-Brazilian cultural and literary traditions as well as their capacity for critical thinking. The exam is based on a reading list for each of two areas. In preparation for the Second Examination students must develop a solid grounding in all periods of the Hispanic or Luso-Brazilian literatures from the Middle Ages to the present.