Franny Brogan

E-mail: franny.brogan@gmail.com Office: Rolfe Hall 4337

Education

  • Candidate in Philosophy. Hispanic Languages and Literatures (track: Hispanic Linguistics), University of California, Los Angeles (2016)
  • M.A. Spanish (track: Hispanic Linguistics), University of California, Los Angeles (2014)
  • B.A. Spanish and Comparative Literature, University of California, Davis (2010)

Research

Broadly, my research interests include Spanish sociophonetics and phonology, phonetically-based phonology, consonant lenition, models of phonological variation, Optimality Theory, diachronic sound change, language and dialect contact, and dialectology.

My dissertation examines the Spanish of El Salvador, which has not been the subject of a major research study for more than three decades (Lipski 1983, 1984, 1985) and has yet to be examined quantitatively by any work to date, to my knowledge. However, Lipski’s descriptive accounts suggest that Salvadoran Spanish is a dialect rich in sociolinguistic variation that merits more empirical investigation. With the goal of adding to the vast body of sociolinguistic research on other dialects of Spanish, this dissertation examines the sociophonetic phenomenon of /s/ weakening, the process by which the sound /s/ is variably pronounced as a glottal fricative [h] or is deleted entirely. This phenomenon is prevalent in approximately half of the Spanish-speaking world, yet has developed independently in various regions over time. While accounts of /s/ weakening in other dialects focus on identifying its best predictors (i.e., which linguistic environments and macro social groups most favor or disfavor its use), my dissertation aims to engage frameworks across disciplines in order to situate this phenomenon within formal theory and explain not only when it occurs, but why. My analysis, formulated within an Optimality Theoretic (OT) framework (Prince & Smolensky 1993/2004), shows that patterns of variation in /s/ weakening depend on the need for speakers to minimize articulatory effort while simultaneously preserving perceptual distinctions for their listeners. A departure from typical OT analyses, I build my model using 14,400 tokens of /s/ weakening from real speech data, which I collected in El Salvador in 2015. Preliminary findings, reveal that patterns of /s/ weakening in Salvadoran Spanish are extremely well accounted for within my OT model, which could be easily replicated and modified to examine other dialects of Spanish from a theoretical perspective. This dissertation is significant not only in that it represents the first major contemporary study on an understudied dialect, but also because it engages cross-disciplinary frameworks to offer a nuanced analysis of a pervasive phonological phenomenon.

 

Articles

Manuscripts under review

Brogan, Franny D. (submitted). Reconsidering /s/ weakening in Central America: A sociophonetic account of so-called theta in Salvadoran Spanish. Under review for: J. Cabrelli Amaro and K.L. Geeslin (Eds.), Issues in Hispanic and Lusophone Linguistics. Amsterdam: John-Benjamins.

Brogan, Franny D. and Mariska Bolyanatz (submitted). Exploring sociophonetic methodologies: A novel approach to onset /s/ weakening in Salvadoran Spanish. Under review for: Language Variation and Change.

Journal Articles

Brogan, Franny D. and JyEun Son. (2015). Native Language Transfer in Target Language Usage: An Exploratory Case Study. Voices, 3(1): 47-62.

Presentations

  • Brogan, Franny D. Reconsidering /s/ weakening in Central America: A sociophonetic account of so-called theta in Salvadoran Spanish. Presentation at the Hispanic Linguistics Symposium. Georgetown University, Washington DC. October 10, 2016.
  • Brogan, Franny D. Sociophonetics in El Salvador and Santiago de Chile: /s/ in tierras bajas Presentation at the 8th Workshop on Spanish Sociolinguistics. The University of San Juan, Puerto Rico. April 14, 2016.
  • Brogan, Franny D. Factores que favorecen la nivelación dialectal: un estudio de caso de las realizaciones de /b d g/ en el español de Los Ángeles. Presentation at the 25th Conference on Spanish in the United States (SiUS) and 10th Conference on Spanish in Contact with Other Languages. The City College of New York, NY. March 27, 2015.
  • Brogan, Franny D. Contact, Assimilation and Language Endangerment: The Case of Judeo-Spanish in the United States. Presentation at the 5th Annual Workshop on Immigrant Languages in the Americas. The University of California, Los Angeles. October 18, 2014.
  • Franny D. Salvadoran Spanish Intonation: Continued Work toward a Comprehensive ToBI. Presentation at the 1st Symposium on Intonation and Tone in the Spanish-speaking World. The University of Massachusetts, Amherst. October 10, 2014.
  • Brogan, Franny D. Salvadoran Spanish Intonation: Preliminary Work toward a Comprehensive ToBI. Presentation at the Ohio State Congress on Hispanic and Lusophone Linguistics (OSUCHiLL). The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio. April 12, 2014.
  • Brogan, Franny D. Teaching Portuguese to Spanish Speakers: Using our Knowledge of Language Transfer to Improve Material Development. Presentation at the American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese (AATSP) Southern California. The University of California, Los Angeles. October 26, 2013.
  • Brogan, Franny D. La educación bidireccional: Dos lenguas compartidas en las escuelas de Los Ángeles. Presentation at the Spring Conference of the Center for Studies of Spanish in the United States. The University of California, Los Angeles. June 13, 2013.
  • Brogan, Franny D. and JyEun Son. Native Language Transfer in Target Language Usage: An Exploratory Case Study. Presentation at the Why Spanish Matters Conference. The University of California, Los Angeles. May 16, 2013.