John M. Ryan
Coming to UNC from Arizona State University where he completed both his master’s and Ph.D. in Spanish linguistics, John Ryan joined the HSS faculty in the Fall of 2011 as Assistant Professor of Spanish Linguistics in the Department of Hispanic Studies. John’s scholarly interest lies in the emergence of verbs in both first and second language learners of Spanish and other languages. In addition to teaching Spanish and linguistics, John is a member of the Linguistic Society of America, the Modern Language Association, and the Linguistic Association of the Southwest and has conducted research on the acquisition of the Spanish copulas ser and estar by English-speaking students and more recently, on the acquisition of intransitive verbs by children and the nature of relexified diminutives in Modern Spanish. He has published in journals, including Hispania, and recently published his first book, The Genesis of Argument Structure: Observations of a Child’s Early Speech Production in Spanish.
The Early Verb Project
John’s work on verbs has expanded to the review of other child datasets including Italian, French, and English, and with the collaboration of Elly van Gelderen of Arizona State University, will soon include Catalan, Dutch, German, and Portuguese as well. The larger project, aptly called the Early Verb Project, promises to be the first comprehensive cross-linguistic study of early verb emergence in children. Thanks to the support of both a 2012 UNC Summer Support Initiative Grant and a Research Dissemination and Faculty Development Grant, John was a visiting scholar at Arizona State University during the summer of 2012 to begin work on the drafting of two grant proposals, one intended for the National Science Foundation and the other for National Institutes of Health, in anticipation that both will be submitted sometime in 2013.
The Spanish Diminutive Project
A new project to capture John’s interest is the relexification of diminutives in Modern Spanish. With the assistance of a 2012 UNC New Project Grant, John will partner with Victor Parra-Guinaldo, also of Arizona State University, to catalog the entirety of historically diminutive forms in Spanish that have become relexified, i.e., the diminutive suffix morpheme has lost its separate “diminutive” meaning and has adjoined to the word root, becoming reanalyzed along with that root as an entirely new single word root or morpheme. Utilizing both Stahl and Scavnicky’s Reverse Dictionary of the Spanish Language (1973) and the online Diccionario de la Real Academia Española, John plans to categorize all words that have been relexified from earlier diminutive forms and determine the frequencies in which they appear as well as any correlations with gender, phonological, or semantic constraints.
Over the years, John has enjoyed a second career in grant writing and administration for Georgetown and Arizona State Universities with such units as the Hispanic Research Center and the Office of the Vice President for Education Partnerships where he contributed toward the improvement of educational opportunities for the Latino community. John’s work has taken him to such places as Spain, Italy, France, Panama, the Dominican Republic, and Puerto Rico, where he has made presentations in both English and Spanish. Other positions John has held were undergraduate advisor for Spanish majors at Arizona State University; cultural coordinator for the American Institute for Foreign Study’s Summer Program in Salamanca, Spain; and English instructor for Centro Británico, also in Salamanca. Before attending college, John was one of five winners of the then prestigious Herencia Española National Essay Contest. Since 1981, John has been a member of Georgetown University’s Lamba Beta Chapter of Sigma Delta Pi, the National Collegiate Hispanic Honor Society,.
The Genesis of Argument Structure: Observations of a Child’s Early Speech Production in Spanish. Lambert Academic Publications. 2012. UNC Michener Library Catalog Number P118 .R92 2012
“La intransitividad dividida en los niños monolingües hispano e italo hablantes.” Revista de Filología Románica In press.
With Barbara A. Lafford, Ph.D. “The Acquisition of Lexical Meaning in a Study Abroad Environment: The Spanish Prepositions Por and Para. Hispania 78: 528-547. 1995.
With Barbara A. Lafford, Ph.D. “Acquisition of Lexical Meaning in a Natural Environment: Ser and Estar and the Granada Experience.” Hispania 75: 714-22. 1992
Proceedings and Book Chapters
“A Child’s Early Overuse of the Imperative to Express Agentivity in Spanish.” Proceedings of the Generative Approaches to Language Acquisition in North America (GALANA) Conference, September 2008, Cascadilla Press. 2009.
Bartalesi-Graf, D. Voci dal Sud: A Journey to Southern Italy with Carlo Levi and His Christ Stopped at Eboli. By New Haven: Yale University Press, 2011. Pp. 419. ISBN 9780300137446. Appeared on 6/28/12 on eLanguage: Digital Publishing in Linguistics http://elanguage.net/blogs/booknotices/?p=2165
Clivio, G., Danesi,M., & Maida-Nicol, S. An Introduction to Italian Dialectology. Munich: LINCOM, 2011. Pp. 216. ISBN 9783862880416. Appeared on 7/4/12 on eLanguage: Digital Publishing in Linguistics http://elanguage.net/blogs/booknotices/?p=2180
Face, T. Perception of Castilian Spanish Intonation: Implications for Intonational Phonology. LINCOM Europa, 2011. Pp. 103. ISBN 9783862880461. Appeared on 7/11/12 on eLanguage: Digital Publishing in Linguistics http://elanguage.net/blogs/booknotices/?p=2188
Mugica, P. de. Gramática del Castellano Antiguo: Primera Parte: Fonética. LINCOM Classica, 2011. Pp.. 96. ISBN 9783862900787. Appeared on 4/12/12 on the Linguist List http://linguistlist.org/issues/23/23-1847.html
Resnick, M. & Hammond, R. Introducción a la historia de la lengua española. By Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press, 2011. Pp. 490. ISBN 9781589017320. Appeared on 5/26/12 on eLanguage: Digital Publishing in Linguistics http://elanguage.net/blogs/booknotices/?p=2144