This book studies the differences of pronunciation and grammar that exist within the Spanish-speaking world, and traces their origins in the frequent mixing of dialects in Spanish-speaking communities from the Middle Ages to the present day. It emphasizes the subtlety and seamlessness of language variation, both geographical and social, and shows how the constant process of mixing has rendered Spanish particularly subject to leveling of its linguistic irregularities and to simplification of its structures, both in Europe and later in the Americas.
' ... a concise review and exposition of yet another intensely studied area of Hispanic linguistics ... an indispensable resource for students and scholars alike. A unique contribution to the body of literature on Hispanic dialectology.' Journal of Sociolinguistics 'Penny's book would serve students of dialectology or history of the Spanish language equally well. Philologists will find a wealth of dialectal information not normally presented with the traditional historical topics, and sociolinguists will benefit from the historical perspectives. Put quite simply, Penny's book is the most linguistically accurate account we have to date for the development of the Spanish language in all of its diversity, a distinct service to the field.' Bulletin of Hispanic Studies 'The book will soon become an indispensable classic, being a much-needed overview written by probably the only expert with the necessary combination of talents. And it is so accessibly written, with clearly organized and self-contained sections, that the interested non-specialist will also be fascinated and intrigued.' Hispanic Research Journal 'Overall, it is impressive to see how the multiplicity of theoretical insights in linguistics can so perfectly accommodate other languages. Acquiring a copy of this book is like having many linguistics books at the same time.' Forum for Modern Language Studies ' ... an extremely valuable contribution to Spanish linguistics in general.' Modern Language Review