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AACL 2008 – March 13-15, Brigham Young University. Project for the Sociolinguistic Study of the Spanish Language of Spain and the Americas (PRESEEA) LAURA CAMARGO Universitat de les Illes Balears. HISPANIC SOCIOLINGUISTICS.

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Project for the Sociolinguistic Study of the Spanish Language of Spain and the Americas (PRESEEA)

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AACL 2008 – March 13-15, Brigham Young University

Project for the Sociolinguistic Study of the Spanish Language of Spain and the Americas (PRESEEA)


Universitat de les Illes Balears

hispanic sociolinguistics

a) Social Dialectology:the works by Manuel Alvar in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria’s speech; studies handling sociolinguistic material from regional atlases; research conducted by Jose Pedro Rona in Hispanic America.

b) Sociology of Language:special relevance of the studies carried out by Yolanda Lastra on Mexican bilingual situations or by Escobar on bilingualism in the Andean regions.

hispanic sociolinguistics3

c) Variationist Sociolinguistics:Humberto López-Morales, Carmen Silva-Corvalán, and Beatriz Lavandera are among the Hispanic pioneers in this field. Other important researchers are those focused on Caribbean Spanish (Orlando Alba), on the Spanish spoken in the Uruguayan-Brazilian border (Adolfo Elizaincín), and on Peruvian Spanish (Rocío Caravedo).

background issues from pilei to preseea
  • The project for the study of the literate norm of the main cities of Ibero-America and the Iberian Peninsula (PILEI) –promoted by Lope Blanch in the mid 60s– is the clearest and closest antecedent of PRESEEA.
  • Data offered by PILEI applied only to the literate, accurate and educated uses.
background issues from pilei to preseea5
  • PILEI could not meet all the requirements for the collection of a linguistic corpus which was suitable for the basic research on speech.
  • It was essential to give account of the variability of speech within the Hispanic urban varieties.
  • PRESEEA collects Spanish urban varieties ofspeakers representing all kinds of educational background.
short history of preseea
  • PRESEEA arose in Seville in 1992,during the “Congreso de la Lengua Española”, after C. Silva-Corvalán’s proposal.
  • PRESEEA’s first official meeting was held in 1993,during the ALFAL Conference celebrated in Veracruz.
  • PRESEEA 1994-1998: composition of the methodological guidelines of the Project (F. Moreno-Fernández 1996) and acceptance by the first working groups.
preseea 1999 2008
PRESEEA 1999-2008
  • After the constitution of the first working teams the number of groups has increased every year.
  • 33 teams are now actively working in the Project.
preseea working teams
1. PRESEEA – ALCALÁ (ES) – F. Moreno, A. Cestero, I. Molina and F. Paredes

2. PRESEEA – BARCELONA (ES) – Antonio Torres Torres

3. PRESEEA – BARRANQUILLA (CO) – Yolanda Rodríguez Cadena

4. PRESEEA – BOGOTÁ (CO) – Nancy Rozo Melo

5. PRESEEA – CÁDIZ (ES) – Miguel Casas Gómez

6. PRESEEA – CARACAS (VE) – Paola Bentivoglio and Irania Malaver

7. PRESEEA – CIPOLLETTI (AR) – César A. Fernández

8. PRESEEA – CULIACÁN (MX) – Maritza López Berríos

9. PRESEEA – GRANADA (ES) – Juan Antonio Moya Corral

10. PRESEEA – GUATEMALA (GU) – Lucía Verdugo

11. PRESEEA – LAS PALMAS (ES) – José Antonio Samper Padilla

12. PRESEEA – LÉRIDA (ES) – María Ángeles Calero

13. PRESEEA – MADRID (ES) – F. Moreno, A. Cestero, I. Molina and F. Paredes

14. PRESEEA – MÁLAGA (ES) – Juan Villena Ponsoda

15. PRESEEA – MEDELLÍN (CO) – Maria Claudia González Rátiva

16. PRESEEA – MÉRIDA (MX) – Leonor Rosado Robledo

17. PRESEEA – MÉXICO (MX) – Pedro Martín Butragueño and Yolanda Lastra

preseea working teams9

18. PRESEEA – MIAMI (EU) – Humberto López Morales

19. PRESEEA – MONTERREY (MX) – Lidia Rodríguez Alfano

20. PRESEEA – MONTEVIDEO (UR) – Adolfo Elizaincín

21. PRESEEA – OVIEDO (ES) – Álvaro Arias

22. PRESEEA – PALMA DE MALLORCA (ES) – Laura Camargo

23. PRESEEA – PEREIRA (CO) – Mireya Cisneros

24. PRESEEA – QUITO (EC) – Rosario Gómez


26. PRESEEA – SAN MIGUEL (SA) – Fabrizio Fornara y Edwin Trejos

27. PRESEEA – SANTIAGO DE CHILE (CH) – Luis Prieto y A. Matus


29. PRESEEA – SEVILLA (ES) – Manuel Ariza Viguera

30. PRESEEA – VALENCIA (ES) – José Ramón Gómez Molina

31. PRESEEA – VALLEDUPAR (CO) – Donald Calderón

32. PRESEEA – VALPARAÍSO (CH) – Luis Prieto y Alfredo Matus

33. PRESEEA – ZARAGOZA (ES) – María Antonia Martín Zorraquino

main goals of preseea
  • The main goal is to coordinate sociolinguistic researchersfrom Spain and Hispanic America in order to collect a methodologically homogeneous corpus.
  • The project’s basis is collaboration: one offers his/her own information to receive information from other researchers.
general principles of preseea
  • A basic sociolinguistic methodology. Involved teams are committed to collecting sociolinguistic materials considering the methodology of the project. This procedure guarantees a collection of homogeneous and comparable samples (Moreno- Fernández 2005).
  • Materials’ edition and publication. All linguistic materials collected by the PRESEEA groups must comply with the established transcription guidelines (Moreno-Fernández et al. 2008).
methodological issues
  • PRESEEA fits theoretical principles mostly based on the variationist sociolinguistic proposals (Moreno-Fernández 1998).
  • The project’s guidelines are flexible enough to allow its application in any Hispanic urban community.
  • The project also requires a coordination that is settled in the University of Alcala (Spain) and in trust of Professor Francisco Moreno-Fernández.
methodological issues speech communities
Specific characteristics for urban communities suitable for being included in PRESEEA should not be very exclusive:

They should be Spanish-speaking urban communities (either monolingual or bilingual) with a traditionally settled population and with a certain sociological diversity.

methodological issues sampling
The study of those communities with populations between 500,000 and 1,500,00 inhabitants is carried out with samples of 54 informants. For bigger cities, the sample will consist of 72, 90 or even 108 informants.

The number of speakers by sample’s quota must be above the 0,025 of the total population, as it is the usually considered canonical level of representativeness (Labov 1966).

sampling quotas with uniform affixation
SAMPLING: Quotas with uniform affixation

The general proposal is to prepare samples by quotas with uniform affixation.

  • They result from dividing the relative universe in subpopulations, layers or quotas and assigning an equal number of informants to each one of those quotas.
  • Social variables used to divide the universe are gender, age, and educational level.
the proto type sample
The proto-type sample


Generation 1 Generation 2 Generation 3



Educ. Level 1.3 3 3 3 3 3


Educ. Level 2.3 3 3 3 3 3


Educ. Level 3.3 3 3 3 3 3


Proto-type sample by quotas. (M: men; W: women)

methodological issues data collection
  • Collection of PRESEEA materials is achieved through the recording of semiguided interviews.
  • All PRESEEA Corpus materials must be gathered through interviews recorded with a tape recorder at sight.
  • Regarding the ethical issue, it is worth noticing that all informants gave their consent to use the recordings for our research purposes(Milroy and Gordon 2003).
methodological issues data collection18
  • The idea is to present a corpus with elements for the linguistic and sociolinguistic analysis that goes beyond phonetics and morphology. Nevertheless, difficulties related to the collection of discursive variants, not to mention the controversial case of syntactic ones, are well known.
  • In order to create a corpus “with a grammar and discourse bias” (Moreno-Fernández 2005) a list of morpho-syntactical variables has been elaborated.
morpho syntactical variables
Morpho-syntactical variables

1. - Presence and position of subject.

2. - Arguments’ order.

3. - Address forms, with special attention to the use of tú/usted and vosotros/ustedes.

4. - Verbal uses and values, with special attention to indicative – subjunctive uses.

5.- Semi–auxiliary verbs of epistemic, dynamic, and deontic modality: haber de/ que, tenerque, deber (de), poder, ser capaz de.

6. - Variation in reflexive constructions (agreement and frequency).

7. - Uses of ser and estar.

morpho syntactical variables20
Morpho-syntactical variables

8. - Uses of haber and estar.

9.- Direct and indirect style.

10.- Pleonastic Deictics

11.- “Leísmo”, “laísmo”, “loísmo”

12. - Clitics’ duplication.

13. - Clitics’ position.

14. - Direct and Indirect Objects’ position.

15.- Verbal agreement in impersonal uses.

16. - Impersonality (markers se, tú).

17. - Uses of haber and hacer (hay/hace niebla...)

18. - Use of periphrases.

data collection the interview
DATA COLLECTION: The interview

In order to elicit all kinds of variables interviews are structured considering the next thematic modules:

1. Greetings

2. Weather

3. Place where one lives

4. Family and friendship

5. Customs

6. Danger of death

7. Important anecdotes in one’s life

8. Desire of economic improvement

9. Final remarks and farewell

transcription and storage
  • Regarding the transcription system, it seems logical to resort to an international system, admitted in industrial means and used in a considerable number of countries. That is the reason why PRESEEA follows the XML international conventions, an adapted and simplified version of SGML.
http www linguas net preseea
  • Finally, distribution of information and communication between PRESEEA groups are effective through the project’swebsite ( and mailing list (
http www linguas net preseea24
  • PRESEEA’s website contains very detailed information about every relevant issue for the project. Besides, in the near future, it will become the most powerful tool for PRESEEA, as many of the transcriptions and interviews will be freely accessible online in both searchable text and audio recording formats.
some references

-CAMARGO, L. (forthcoming). “Spanish and Catalan in contact in the Balearic Islands: The co-construction of cultural and discursive identities in a bilingual community”.

-LOPE BLANCH, J. (1986). El estudio del español hablado culto. Historia de un proyecto. México: UNAM.

-MORENO FERNÁNDEZ, F. (1996). “Metodología del ‘Proyecto para el estudio sociolingüístico del Español de España y de América’ (PRESEEA)”, Lingüística, 8 , 257-287.

-MORENO FERNÁNDEZ, F. (2005a). “Project for the Sociolinguistic Study of Spanish from Spain and America (PRESEEA). A corpus with a grammar and discourse bias”. In Takagaki, T. et al. (eds.), Corpus-Based Approaches to Sentence Structures. Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 265-288.

-MORENO FERNÁNDEZ, F. (2005b). “Corpus para el estudio del español en su variación geográfica y social. El corpus PRESEEA”. Oralia, 8, 123-139.

-MORENO FERNÁNDEZ, F., A.M. CESTERO, I. MOLINA, and F. PAREDES (2000). “La sociolingüística de Alcalá de Henares en el «Proyecto para el Estudio Sociolingüístico del Español de España y América» (PRESEEA)”, Oralia, 3: 149-168.

-MILROY, L. and M.GORDON (2003). Sociolinguistics: Method and Interpretation. Oxford: Blackwell.

-ROMERA, M. (2006). “Aspectos metodológicos de la recogida de datos en situaciones de contacto de lenguas: la selección de hablantes en el caso de Palma”. Paper read at the I Jornadas de Lingüística Hispánica de la Universitat de les Illes Balears.

-SILVA-CORVALÁN, C. (1994). “Direcciones en los estudios sociolingüísticos de la lengua española”. Actas del Congreso de la Lengua Española. Sevilla: Instituto Cervantes, 399-415.


AACL 2008 – March 13-15, Brigham Young University

Thank you!

Universitat de les Illes Balears

PRESEEA – Palma de Mallorca