Associate ProfessorAugusto Lorenzino
416 Anderson Hall


Spanish, Portuguese, Linguistics, Pidgins, Creoles, Dialectology, Contact languages


I had never thought about becoming a linguist, in fact, I did not even know that linguistics existed as a formal course of study and research, until later in life when I already had embarked on a career as a chemist, another passion of mine. It did not occur to me then that structure, change and development are inherent to the two fields. So, the move from chemical to language structures and mixing was not as radical as it may sound.
My research encompasses several language types and speech communities and it is formally and empirically informed by theories of contact linguistics. I could outline my research projects as follows:

(1) Pidgins Creoles and Cognitive-Based Linguistic Theory:
Cognitive-based models of language study such as grammaticalization theory applied to lexico-semantics and pragmatic-discourse in Portuguese- and Spanish-lexified Creoles as a mechanism to explain common patterns and developmental trends in comparative creolistics.

(2) Language Use, City and Identity:
By studying the Quechua and Spanish varieties spoken by urban migrants from Santiago del Estero (northwestern Argentina), living in Buenos Aires, I would like to know more about how bilingual minority groups adapt their communicative practices as an integral component for redefining identity. The study examines language choices and structural changes in language varieties used by migrant Santiagueños as a way to pose basic questions about the relationship between language, the city and identity.

(3) Language Contact and Political Borders:
Barranquenho is a mixed Spanish-Portuguese dialect spoken in the town of Barrancos in southern Portugal. I’d like to understand how theories of second language acquisition, sociolinguistics and contact linguistics can explain the fuzzy linguistic boundaries separating the regional dialects on both sides of the political Portuguese-Spanish border.

(4) Natural Second Language Learning and Representation in Literary Texts:
The application of natural second language learning and contact linguistics perspectives to representation in literary texts involving Spanish and Portuguese in contact with Indigenous languages.

Selected Publications

  • 2017: Marginalidad y delincuencia en la formación dialectal. Editorial Académica Española.
  • 2016a: “El lunfardo en la evolución del español argentino.” Estudios de literatura y lingüística 34 (Santiago, Chile).
  • 2016b: “Language and power in a novel of education”. International Journal of Language and Literature 4.
  • 2015: “Language retention and attrition in the Tonga Umbundu of São Tomé and Príncipe.” Sage Open Oct-Dec.
  • Immigrants’ languages, lunfardo and lexical diffusion in popular porteño Spanish. Papia 23. 2013.
  • ‘El contacto español-quechua en la novela de formación Shunko”. Revista Philologica Romanica 11. 2011.
  • ‘African vs Austronesian Substrate Influence on the Spanish-based Creoles’. In John Holm & Susanne Michaelis (eds.), Contact Languages: Critical Concepts in Language Studies, volume IV. New York: Routledge, pp. 309-408. 2008.
  • With Jonathan Holmquist and Lotfi Sayahi (eds.). Selected Proceedings of the Third Workshop in Spanish Sociolinguistics . Cascadilla Press. 2007
  • ‘Angolar Syntax’. In Holm and Patrick (eds.), Comparative Creole Syntax. Westminster: Battlebridge Press. 2007
  • ‘Linguistic, historical and ethnographic evidence on the formation of the Angolares: a maroon descendant community in São Tomé (West Africa)’. Portuguese Studies Review 13. 2006.
  • ‘Language and Identity: The Case of Quechua-Speaking Santiagueños’. In Ashley and Finke (eds.), Language and Identity. NY: Cummings and Hathaway. 2004.
  • “Bilingüismo y migración urbana: el quechua santiagueño.” In Lotfi Sayahi (ed.), Selected Proceedings of the First Workshop on Spanish Sociolinguistics. Somerville, MA: Cascadilla Press, pp. 53-60. 2003
  • “The mixed origins of Santiagueño Quechua syntax.” University of Kansas Papers in Linguistics 25:111-120. 2001
  • The Morphosyntax of Spanish-lexified creoles. Munich: Lincom. 2001.
  • The Angolar Creole Portuguese of São Tomé (West Africa): its grammar and sociolinguistic history. Munich: Lincom. 2000.

Courses Taught

  • Seminar in Spanish Linguistics (Variable Topics: Pidgins and Creoles, Languages in Contact, Research Methods in Dialectology)
  • Dialectology
  • Spanish Phonetics
  • History of the Spanish Language
  • Introduction to Hispanic Linguistics
  • Spanish and Portuguese language