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Chappell Named Lutcher Brown Distinguished Professor

August 26, 2020

Dr. Whitney Chappell, Associate Professor of Hispanic Linguistics at UTSA, has been chosen as one of UTSA’s Lutcher Brown Distinguished Professors for the 2020-2021 academic year.

The prestigious professorship comes with a $30,000 award for Chappell to collect oral histories in San Antonio and create an open-access bilingual corpus of recordings. More specifically, the project will document the ways in which the coronavirus pandemic has altered lives in the Hispanic community, and it seeks to amplify local voices and create connections in what can be an isolating and disorienting time.

“This is quite an honor, but hardly surprising,” noted Dr. Nathan Richardson, UTSA Modern Languages and Literatures department chair.  “Dr. Chappell is an outstanding scholar and teacher, a real rising star in her field, and the award is well deserved.”

“I feel incredibly honored to have been chosen for this professorship,” Chappell says, “and I look forward to bringing people together through this project.” She notes that her corpus will be freely available online, providing both an accessible point of pride for San Antonians and a rich data bank for local, national, and international scholars, including historians, sociologists, linguists, and economists, among many others, to explore now and in the future.

“As chair, I´m really excited to see how this award will impact not just Dr. Chappell´s career but the many students and colleagues who will benefit from engagement in her project. It´s exciting for all of us,” Richardson said.

At UTSA Dr. Chappell teaches classes on language and gender, bilingualism, sociolinguistics, Spanish phonetics and phonology, introduction to Spanish linguistics, and language and identity, among many others.

Her most recent research projects focus on the sociophonetic perception of nonstandard variants among monolingual and bilingual Spanish speakers, and her work has been published in prestigious venues like Language Variation and ChangeThe Journal of VoiceHispania, Heritage Language JournalEstudios de fonética experimental, and Studies in Hispanic and Lusophone Linguistics, among many others. Her new edited volume, Recent Advances in the Study of Spanish Sociophonetic Perception, has been called “A must-read book for students and scholars of language, variation, and change” by Dr. Manuel Díaz-Campos at Indiana University.

UTSA offers a minor in linguistics and a graduate certificate in linguistics.

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