Skip to Content

College of Arts & Sciences
Linguistics Program


Faculty & Staff Directory

D. Eric Holt

Associate Professor of Spanish and Linguistics (Languages/Spanish)
University of South Carolina

Office: Humanities Office Building 717
Email: holt@sc.edu
Website: Dr. Holt Spanish Department Site Dr. Holt Linguistics Site
Curriculum vitae: Download PDF

Education

Ph.D., Hispanic Linguistics, Georgetown University

Research Interests 

My research interests lie in phonological theory, especially as a tool for understanding aspects of the sound structure of Spanish, both modern synchronic and historical diachronic, including dialect variation past and present. A common theme to be found in my work is the application and development of issues in general linguistic theory to Spanish and dialectal data, thus providing me the opportunity to offer refinements both to previous analyses of the data and to the theory more broadly. Other work of mine has treated aspects of dialectal and historical variation, including 'sporadic sound changes' like metathesis and intrusive stop formation. 

Publications

“Main phonological changes from Latin to Portuguese.” The Handbook of Portuguese Linguistics, João Costa, Sergio Menuzzi & W. Leo Wetzels, eds. 2016. 475-470. Wiley-Blackwell.

Historical sound change in Optimality Theory: Achievements and Challenges.” In Patrick Honeybone and Joseph Salmons, eds, Handbook of Historical Phonology, Oxford University Press. 2015.

On the partially divergent phonology of Spanish, Portuguese and points in between.” Portuguese/Spanish Interfaces: Diachrony, synchrony, and contact. (John Benjamins, as the inaugural volume of its series ‘Issues in Hispanic and Lusophone Linguistics’). Patrícia Amaral & Ana M. Carvalho, eds., 2014. 123-150. (With Letânia Ferreira.)

Book review: Walker, Robin. (2010). Teaching the Pronunciation of English as a Lingua Franca. Oxford & New York: Oxford University Press. Multilingua 33.469-473. 2014. DOI 10.1515/multi-2014-0023. (With Ann Janosik [English Programs for Internationals at USC].)

[Book] (ed.): Optimality Theory and Language Change. Dordrecht, the Netherlands: Kluwer Academic Publishers. (Studies in Natural Language and Linguistic Theory 56, 459 Pp. 2003.) 

“When Small Words Collide: Morphological Reduction and Phonological Compensation in Old Leonese Contractions. Little Words: Their history, phonology, syntax, semantics, pragmatics, and acquisition. Ronald Leow, Héctor Campos, and Donna Lardiere, eds. Georgetown University Press, 2009. 21-33. (With Minta M. Elsman.) (refereed) 

Optimality Theory and language change in Spanish.” Optimality-Theoretic Advances in Spanish Phonology. Fernando Martínez-Gil and Sonia Colina, eds. Benjamins, 2007. 378-396.

“Bibliography on Optimality Theory and language variation and change in Spanish.” Optimality-Theoretic Advances in Spanish Phonology. Fernando Martínez-Gil and Sonia Colina, eds. Benjamins, 2007. 396-398.

Optimization of syllable contact in Old Spanish via the sporadic sound change metathesis.” Probus: International Journal of Latin and Romance Linguistics 16 (2004). 43-61. (Special issue on historical phonology of Romance, Jean-Pierre Montreuil, ed.)

Sobre los cambios fónicos esporádicos que optimizan el contacto silábico en el español antiguo: El caso de la metátesis” Proceedings of the XIII Congreso de la Asociación de Lingüística y Filología de América Latina (ALFAL), Universidad de Costa Rica, February 18-23, 2002. Published on CD-ROM in February, 2004.

Remarks on Optimality Theory and Language Change.” In Optimality Theory and Language Change. (D. Eric Holt, ed.) 1-30. 2003.

“The emergence of palatal sonorants and alternating diphthongs in Hispano-Romance.” In Optimality Theory and Language Change. (D. Eric Holt, ed.) 285-305. 2003.

The articulator group and liquid geometry: Implications for Spanish phonology present and past.” In Caroline Wiltshire and Joaquim Camps, eds., Romance Phonology and Variation. Philadelphia and Amsterdam: John Benjamins. 85-99. 2002.

“Comparative Optimality-Theoretic Dialectology: Singular/plural nasal alternations in Galician, Mirandese (Leonese) and Spanish.” In Héctor Campos, Elena Herburger, Alfonso Morales-Front, and Thomas J. Walsh, eds., Hispanic Linguistics at the Turn of the Millennium: Papers from the Third Hispanic Linguistics Symposium. Somerville, MA: Cascadilla Press. 125-143. 2000.

“The moraic status of consonants from Latin to Hispano-Romance: The case of obstruents.” In Javier Gutiérrez-Rexach and Fernando Martínez-Gil, eds., Advances in Hispanic Linguistics: Papers from the Second Hispanic Linguistics Symposium. Somerville, MA: Cascadilla Press. 166-181. 1999.

“The role of comprehension, reinterpretation and the Uniformity Condition in historical change: The case of the development of Cl clusters from Latin to Hispano-Romance.” In Vida Samiianed., Proceedings of the Twenty-sixth Western Conference on Linguistics (WECOL) 1996. Department of Linguistics, California State University, Fresno. 133-148. 1998.

“On the interplay of morphology, prosody and faithfulness in Portuguese pluralization.” In Fernando Martínez-Gil and Alfonso Morales-Front, eds., Issues in the Phonology and Morphology of the Major Iberian Languages. Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press. 393-437. 1997. Alfonso Morales-Front, co-author.

“From Latin to Hispano-Romance: A constraint-based approach to vowel nasalization, sonorant simplification and the Late Spoken Latin open mid vowels.” In Lise M. Dobrin, Kora Singer and Lisa McNair, eds., CLS 32: The Main Session (1996), 111-123. Significantly revised version of paper presented at the Second Annual Graduate Romanic Association Colloquium. University of Pennsylvania. March 30, 1996.

“Anti-hiatic insertion and spreading processes in Hispano-Romance.” Aleph 8 (1993), 84-92. 

In Preparation

Book: Spanish translation and adaptation of Patterns in the mind: Language and human nature, by Ray Jackendoff, BasicBooks, 1993. (Three-quarters of the text has been initially translated, with six pre-final chapters completed.)

Book: Spanish-themed volume of essays dedicated to debunking various myths about the Spanish language, and language more broadly. (Similar to Language Myths, ed. by Laurie Bauer and Peter Trudgill, Penguin Books, 1998. (Spanish- and English-language editions planned.)

Conference Presentations and Invited Talks

“Across-word linking in connected speech in L2 Spanish.” Second Language Research Forum, University of South Carolina, October 23-25, 2014.

“Linguistic factors in the acquisition of connected speech in second language Spanish: Interim results of an exploratory study.” Pronunciation in Second Language Learning and Teaching (PSLLT), UC Santa Barbara, September 4-6, 2014.

“Second language phonology of Spanish: (a) Connected speech and its perception, and (b) technology for improvement of pronunciation”. Bilingualism Interest Group, University of Florida, November 20, 2013.

“Native speaker perception of L2 connected speech in Spanish.” 3rd conference on Current Approaches to Spanish and Portuguese Second Language Phonology (CASPLaP 2012). University of South Carolina, February 16-18, 2012. (With Paul Reed.)

“Native speaker perceptions of learners’ acquisition of connected speech in Spanish” Hispanic Linguistics Symposium. University of Georgia, October 6-8, 2011. (With Paul Reed.) 

“More on linguistic factors in the acquisition of connected speech in second language Spanish.” Current Approaches to Spanish and Portuguese Second Language Phonology.University of Florida, February 22-23, 2010.

“Linguistic factors in the acquisition of connected speech in second language Spanish.” Hispanic Linguistics Symposium. University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras, Octoboer 21-24, 2009.

“On the context of acquisition of connected speech in L2 Spanish.” Georgetown University Round Table on Languages and Linguistics, March 13-15, 2009.

“On the acquisition of synalepha and resyllabification in Spanish by English-speaking advanced learners.” Current Approaches to Spanish and Portuguese Second Language Phonology. University of Minnesota, February 22-23, 2008.

Invited panelist: A research agenda for L2 phonology in Spanish and Portuguese. Current Approaches to Spanish and Portuguese Second Language Phonology. University ofMinnesota, February 22-23, 2008.

“Intersecting Paradigms: Preposition + Article Contraction and Leveling in Medieval Castile”, 52nd Meeting of the International Linguistic Association, New York City, March 30-April 1, 2007. (With Minta M. Elsman.)

“Insights from phonological theory for historical variation and change, and vice versa.” California State University, Long Beach, Department of Linguistics, March 12, 2007. (Invited lecture.)

“An OT Analysis of Preposition + Article Contraction (and Leveling) in Medieval Castile”, Georgetown University Round Table on Languages and Linguistics (GURT): Small words: Their history, phonology, syntax, semantics, pragmatics, and acquisition. Washington, DC, March 8-11, 2007. (With Minta M. Elsman.)

“Overview of dialectal phenomena and historical changes in Spanish.” California State University, Fullerton, Department of Modern Languages and Literatures, December 11, 2006. (Invited class lecture.)

“What linguistic theory can help us understand about the development of Spanish.” California State University, San Bernardino, Department of World Languages, February 27, 2006. (Invited lecture.)

“An optimality-theoretic approach to syllable contact in Old Spanish: Taming the sporadic sound change.” University of Texas at Austin, Department of Spanish and Portuguese, February 5, 2004. (Invited lecture.)

“Sobre los cambios fónicos esporádicos que optimizan el contacto silábico en el español antiguo.” Presented at the XIII Congreso de la Asociación de Lingüística y Filología de América Latina (ALFAL), Universidad de Costa Rica, February 18-23, 2002. 

“Paths of dialect formation in Galician.” University of Georgia, Linguistics Program, March 16, 2001. (Invited lecture.)

“On the divergent phonological development of the dialects of northwestern Spain.” Pennsylvania State University, Department of Spanish, Italian and Portuguese, December 11, 2000. (Invited lecture.)

“Comparing approaches to the underlying specification of Spanish vowels.” The 29th meeting of the Linguistic Association of the Southwest (LASSO 29), Benemérita Universidad Autónoma de Puebla (BUAP), Mexico, October 13-15, 2000.

“The articulator group, liquid geometry and Spanish phonology.” The 30th Linguistic Symposium on Romance Linguistics (LSRL 30), University of Florida, Gainesville, February 24-29, 2000.

“Comparative OT dialectology: Singular/plural nasal alternations in Galician, Mirandese (Leonese) and Spanish.” Third Hispanic Linguistics Symposium, Georgetown University, October 8-10, 1999.

“Underspecification, constriction-based vowel geometry and scalar raising in Asturiano.” The 73rd Annual Meeting of the Linguistic Society of America, Los Angeles, January 7-10, 1999.

“An explanation of how Hispano-Romance ch and ll both derive from Latin cl, pl, fl.” Alternate paper for the Annual Meeting of the Modern Language Association, San Francisco, December 27-30, 1998.

“Vowel harmony in Asturiano, a dialect spoken in Spain.” USC Program in Linguistics Colloquium. November 20, 1998. (45 minute lecture)

“The moraic status of consonants from Latin to Hispano-Romance: The case of obstruents.” The Second Hispanic Linguistics Symposium, The Ohio State University, October 9-11, 1998.

“What Happened to Consonant Length from Latin to Hispano-Romance?” USC Historical Linguistics Research Group (HLRG) Meeting, October 2, 1998. (45 minute lecture)

“The sonority hierarchy and NoLongVowel: Theoretical implications.” The 72nd Annual Meeting of the Linguistic Society of America, New York City, January 8-11, 1998.

“The role of comprehension, reinterpretation and the Uniformity Condition in historical change: The case of the development of Cl clusters from Latin to Hispano-Romance.” The Twenty-sixth Western Conference on Linguistics (WECOL) 1996,University of California at Santa Cruz, October, 1996.

“From Latin to Hispano-Romance: A constraint-based approach to vowel nasalization, sonorant simplification and the Vulgar Latin open mid vowels.” The Second Annual Graduate Romanic Association Colloquium, University of Pennsylvania, March 30, 1996.

“Constraint interaction and the case of Portuguese plurals.” The 48th Kentucky Foreign Language Conference. University of Kentucky, Lexington, April 20-22, 1995.

“The sonority cycle, the demisyllable and Old Spanish metathesis.” The 24th Linguistic Symposium on Romance Languages, USC & UCLA, March 10-13, 1994.

“Spreading processes in Ibero-Romance triggered by the loss of intervocalic -d-.” The Fourth Annual Graduate Student Conference, Pennsylvania State University, University Park. April 3, 1993.

“Autosegmental spreading processes triggered by consonantal loss in Early Ibero-Romance.” Presession on Portuguese Linguistics, Georgetown University Round Table on Languages and Linguistics, Washington, DC, March 10, 1993. 

Colloquia and Workshops

“Spanglish: Qué es y que no es.” Invited lecture for Prof. Nina Moreno’s SPAN 515 Introduction to Spanish linguistics, November 18, 2008. (75 minute class)

“Why do they say that in Spanish?” Students’ questions and their real answers South Carolina Foreign Language Teachers’ Association, Columbia, South Carolina, February 21, 2004. (50 minute workshop)

“‘Reflexive’ verbs, ‘no-fault se’ and other myths about the pronoun se in Spanish.” South Carolina Foreign Language Teachers’ Association, Columbia, South Carolina, March 17, 2000. (50 minute workshop)

Webpage design seminar. South Carolina Council on Foreign Language Placement and Curriculum (SCCFLPAC), Columbia, South Carolina, February 12, 2000. (4 hour workshop)

“What you need to know to improve pronunciation of Spanish.” South Carolina Foreign Language Teachers’ Association, Columbia, South Carolina, February 27, 1999.

(50 minute workshop) 

“Taller de pronunciación.” Georgetown in Quito. July 17, 1998. (1½ hour workshop)

“Introducción a la fonética y fonología contrastivas del inglés y el español.” Unidad Educativa Leonardo da Vinci, Manta, Ecuador, July 4, 1998. (1½ hour teacher in-service)