Natalie Operstein
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Phonology


    My major interests in phonology focus on the internal structure of segment-level units, and the nature of phonological primes. My other interests include historical phonology, loanword phonology, and the phonology of the fortis/lenis opposition.

Spanish linguistics


    My research in Spanish linguistics focuses on diachronic phonology and language contact phenomena. My interest in Black Spanish, a variety of Spanish spoken by the African slaves in the 16th-18th-century Spain and Spanish America, goes back to my 1996 M.A. thesis “A contribution to the history of the villancico de negros”. A continuation of this research is contained in the projected critical edition of 100 villancicos de negro from Madrid National Library (with Derek C. Carr, in preparation). My interest in Spanish-indigenous language contact in Meso-America stems from my fieldwork with Zapotec and focuses on early Spanish loanwords in Meso-American languages, which provide evidence of sixteenth-century Spanish phonology, and rural Oaxacan Spanish, which shows evidence of indigenous substrata in its phonology, lexicon and syntax.

Language contact


    My interests in language contact focus on its contributions to language change and comprise the areal linguistics of Eurasia and Mesoamerica, pidgin and creole linguistics, spontaneous second language acquisition, and interaction between Spanish and the indigenous languages of Latin America.

Pidgin and creole linguistics


    My interests in this area focus on the problem of the genetic affiliation of creoles, the role played by L2 and foreigner talk in the pidginization process, creolization of earlier pidgins, Lingua Franca, and Black Spanish.

Language documentation


    I am interested in the documentation and historical-comparative study of endangered languages, and am currently working on a dictionary of Zaniza Zapotec, an Otomanguean language from western Oaxaca, Mexico. Zaniza Zapotec is closely related to Texmelucan Zapotec and Elotepec Zapotec.