Author: Judy Hochberg
Extent: 352 pp
Publication: October 2016
Publisher: Bloomsbury Academic
¿Por qué? 101 Questions about Spanish is for anyone who wants to understand how Spanish really works. Standard textbooks and grammars describe the “what” of Spanish – its vocabulary, grammar, spelling, and pronunciation – but ¿Por qué? explains the “why”.
Judy Hochberg draws on linguistic principles, Hispanic culture, and language history to answer questions such as:
- Why are so many Spanish verbs irregular?
- Why does Spanish have different ways to say “you”?
- Why is h silent?
- Why doesn’t Spanish use apostrophes?
- Why does Castilian Spanish have the th sound?
Packed with information, guidance, and links to further research, ¿Por qué? is an accessible study guide that is suitable for Spanish students, instructors, native speakers, and the general reader. It is a valuable supplementary text for serious students of Spanish at all levels, from beginning to advanced.
¿Por qué? also covers topics usually left to specialized books, including the evolution of Spanish, how children and adults learn Spanish, and the status of languages that co-exist with Spanish, from Catalan to Spanish sign language to the indigenous languages of Latin America.
A masterclass in linguistic exposition – a hugely illuminating blend of historical explanation and present-day world-wide usage. English readers will especially appreciate the clarifying glosses and analogies. All languages need introductions like this one. David Crystal, Honorary Professor of Linguistics, University of Bangor, UK
¿Por qué? is valuable even for skilled Spanish speakers. It will help us to know much more and to be proud of our language. El Diario [Bloomsbury translation]