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School of Languages, Linguistics and Film

Professor Ralph Penny

Professor Emeritus of Romance Philology and Research Professor



Ralph Penny, Professor Emeritus of Romance Philology and Research Professor, is currently participating in an extensive project aimed at digitizing the data collected by the researchers involved in the Atlas Lingüístico de la Pení­nsula Ibérica (ALPI). Only one volume of maps has been published (in 1962), but with the recent discovery of the complete set of fieldworkers’ completed questionnaires, it has become possible for dialectologists and language historians to exploit an enormously rich source of data. Thanks to the work of David Heap at the University of Western Ontario, these completed questionnaires are now available on the web (at However, they are currently only in photographic form, so that the archive is not searchable, and rather laborious to consult. The current project, funded by the Spanish research council, and involving a number of scholars from Spain, Portugal and Canada, and myself, aims to agree a system of retranscription of the data, simplifying the enormously elaborate system used by the original investigators and converting it to the now-standard IPA system of phonetic transcription. A series of seminars are planned to take place in Madrid, to carry the project forward and set in train the web-based publication of a fully searchable data-set. A further project comprises work on the distribution of linguistic features across the northern Peninsular dialect continuum, with the aim of clarifying the relationship there between isoglosses, politico-administrative boundaries, and language allegiances.



  • 'Early Medieval Iberia: How many Languages?', in Early Medieval Spain: A Symposium, ed. Alan Deyermond & Martin Ryan, PMHRS, 63 (London: Department of Hispanic Studies, Queen Mary, University of London, 2010), pp. 25-35.

  • 'Languages: Spanish', 'Languages: Portuguese', 'Languages: Catalan', in Oxford Dictionary of the Middle Ages, ed. Robert E. Bjork (Oxford: OUP, 2010).

  • '¿Existe una 'frontera' entre 'gallego' y 'asturiano'?',Revista de Historia de la Lengua Española, 4 (2010): 47-61.

  • 'Vowel Harmony and Metaphony in Iberia: A Revised Analysis', Estudos de Lingüí­stica Galega, 1 (2009): 113-24. E. Bjork (Oxford: OUP, 2010).

  • 'Spanish Language', in Encyclopedia of the Modern World, ed. Peter N. Stearns (New York: Oxford University Press, 2008). [ISBN13: 9780195176322]

  • 'Robert Lawrence ('Larry') Trask', biography in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, online ed. (Oxford: OUP, 2008).

  • 'La pertinencia de la dialectologí­a y de la sociolingüí­stica para la historia del español: unidad y divergencia en el romance peninsular', in Actas del VIII Congreso Nacional de Jóvenes Investigadores de Historiografí­a e Historia de la Lengua Española (Barcelona, 2-4 abril 2008) (Barcelona: Universidad), pp. 47-57.

  • 'Language Contact in Spain: a Historical View', in Language Contact and Minority Languages on the Littorals of Europe, ed. Sture Ureland, Anthony Lodge, & Stefan Pugh, Studies in Eurolinguistics, 5 (Berlin: Logos, 2007), pp. 175-85. ISBN 978-3-8325-1644-4.

  • 'Prólogo', in Peter Trugill & J. M. Herní¡ndez Campoy, Diccionario de sociolingüí­stica (Madrid: Gredos, 2007), pp. 9-10.

  • 'What Did Sociolinguistics Ever Do for Language History?: The Contribution of Sociolinguistic Theory to the Diachronic Study of Spanish', Spanish in Context, special issue Language Variation and Change, 3:1 (2006), 49-62.

  • 'The Spanish-Speaking Caribbean', inSociolinguistics/Soziolinguistik: An International Handbook of the Science of Language and Society/Ein internationales Handbuch zur Wissenschaft von Sprache und Gesellschaft, 2nd ed., ed. Ulrich Ammon, Norbert Dittmar, Klaus J. Mattheier, & Peter Trudgill (Berlin & New York: Walter de Gruyter, 2006), pp. 2081-82.

  • A History of the Spanish Language, 2nd ed. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002) [Spanish translation: Gramí¡tica histórica del español, 2a ed. (Barcelona: Ariel, 2005)].

  • 'Northern Peninsular Dialect Distribution: Do Phonological Isoglosses Delimit Areas of Language Allegiance?', in Antes y después del 'Quijote': en el cincuentenario de la Asociación de Hispanistas de Gran Bretaña e Irlanda (Valencia 2005), Publicaciones de la Biblioteca Valenciana (Valencia: Biblioteca Valenciana, 2005), pp. 461-72.

  • 'Evolución lingüí­stica en la Baja Edad Media: evolución lingüí­stica: evoluciones en el plano fonético', in Historia de la lengua española, ed. Rafael Cano (Barcelona: Ariel, 2004), pp. 593-612.

  • 'Continuum dialectal y fronteras estatales: el caso del leonés medieval', in Orí­genes de las lenguas romances en el Reino de León, siglos IX-XII (León 15 al 18 de octubre de 2003), I (León: Centro de Estudios e Investigación 'San Isidoro', Caja España de Inversiones, & Archivo Histórico Diocesano, 2004), pp. 565-78.

  • Variation and Change in Spanish (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000) [Spanish translation: Variación y cambio en español (Madrid: Gredos, 2004)].

  • 'Historical Romance Linguistics: A Sociolinguistic Perspective', La corónica, 31.2 (Spring 2003): 83-88.

  • 'Ambigüedad grafemí¡tica: correspondencia entre fonemas y grafemas en los textos peninsulares anteriores al s. xiii', in Lengua romance en los textos latinos en la Edad Media: sobre los orí­genes del castellano escrito, ed. Hermógenes Perdiguero Villarreal (Burgos: Universidad & Instituto Castellano y Leonés de la Lengua, 2003), pp. 221-28.

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  • 'Procesos de clasificación verbal española: polaridad de vocales radicales en los verbos en -er e -ir', inPulchre, bene, recte: estudios en homenaje al Prof. Fernando Gonzí¡lez Ollé, ed. Manuel Casado Velarde & Carmen Saralegui Platero (Pamplona: EUNSA, 2002).

  • 'Dialect Contact, Koineization, and the Language of the Poema de Mio Cid', in 'Mio Cid' Studies: 'Some Problems of Diplomatic' Fifty Years On, ed. Alan Deyermond, David G. Pattison, & Eric Southworth, PMHRS, 42 (London: Department of Hispanic Studies, Queen Mary, University of London, 2002), pp. 91-102.

  • 'Contacto de variedades y resolución de la variación: aspiración y pérdida de /h/ en el Madrid del s. XVI', inActas del V Congreso Internacional de Historia de la Lengua Española (Valencia, 31 de enero-4 de febrero de 2000), 2 vols, ed. Juan Sí¡nchez & Marí­a Teresa Echenique Elizondo (Madrid: Gredos, 2002), i, pp. 397-406.

  • (With Ma.-Lourdes Garcí­a-Macho) Gramí¡tica histórica de la lengua española, II, Morfologí­a(Madrid: Universidad Nacional de Enseñanza a Distancia, 2001).

  • 'Spanish', 'Judeo-Spanish', 'Mozarabic'. Entries inEncyclopedia of European Languages, ed. Glanville Price (Oxford: Blackwell, 1998), pp. 256-57, 303-04, 417-26. [Spanish translation: Enciclopedia de las lenguas de Europa (Madrid: Gredos, 2001), pp. 185-95, 352-53, 402-03.]


  • 'Standard versus Dialect: Linguistic (Dis)continuity in the Iberian Peninsula', in Essays in Hispanic Linguistics Dedicated to Paul M. Lloyd, ed. Robert Blake, Diana Ranson & Roger Wright (Newark, Del: Juan de la Cuesta, 1999), pp. 43-55.

  • 'La grafí­a de los textos notariales castellanos de la Alta Edad Media: ¿sistema logogrí¡fico o fonológico?', inEstudios de grafemí¡tica en el dominio hispí¡nico, ed. José Manuel Blecua, Juan Gutiérrez & Lidia Salas, Aguas Vivas, 1 (Salamanca: Univ. & Instituto Caro y Cuervo,1998), pp. 211-23.

  • '¿En qué consiste una historia del castellano?', in Actas del IV Congreso Internacional de Historia de la Lengua Española (La Rioja, 1-5 de abril de 1997), 2 vols, ed. Claudio Garcí­a Turza, Fabií¡n Gonzí¡lez Bachiller, & Javier Mangado Martí­nez (Logroño: Asociación de Historia de la Lengua Española, Gobierno de La Rioja, & Universidad de La Rioja, 1998), II, pp. 583-94.

  • 'The Language of Gonzalo de Berceo, in the Context of Peninsular Dialectal Variation', in The Medieval Mind: Hispanic Studies in Honour of Alan Deyermond, ed. Ian Macpherson & Ralph Penny (London: Tamesis, 1997), pp. 327-44.

Articles forthcoming:

  • 'La historia de la lengua española en Gran Bretaña e Irlanda', in Actas del VIII Congreso Internacional de Historia de la Lengua Española (Santiago de Compostela septiembre de 2009), pp. 2417-24.

  • 'European Linguistic Expansion: The Case of Judeo-Spanish', in Proceedings of the Fifteenth British Conference on Judeo-Spanish Studies (Queen Mary, University of London, June 2008) (London: Queen Mary, University of London).

  • 'Variation in Judeo-Spanish: The Question of Competing Norms', in Beatrice Schmid Festschrift (Basel).

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