Institutt for fremmedspråk

LIAS: Linguistic Identity and Attitudes in Spanish-speaking Latin America.

The LIAS-project aims to study attitudes towards Latin-American Spanish and how they form the linguistic identity of its speakers.


The LIAS-project (2009-2012) is the first study of attitudes towards Latin-American Spanish including all the capitals of the Spanish-speaking countries as well as Miami, in the United States.

This project is funded by the Norwegian Research Council's Latin America Research Program.


Project Summary

Objetive. The LIAS-project aims to study how native speakers of Spanish identify with the Spanish they speak, their loyalty to it, and the social prejudice, acceptability or stigma associated with it and with the type of Spanish spoken in other Hispanic countries. This research-based knowledge is essential for policy makers, business, industry, NGOs, translators, teachers, scholars and students, in any communication exchange with the Hispanic countries.

Brief History. The LIAS-project work started with a Seminar on Linguistic Attitudes funded by the Department of Foreign Languages at the University of Bergen on September 18th 2008. Professors Humberto López Morales (ASALE, RAE) and Atanasio Herranz (RAE) gave two conferences on the subject. In June the same year, a grant application was sent to the Norwegian Research Council (NRC) in order to fund a feasibility study of a larger project on this topic in all the Spanish-speaking countries. This pre-project received a grant from the NRC in August 2008 and the feasibility study was carried out in September-October 2008 by the project directors, a professional administrator and 12 linguists in 12 capitals in Latin America (Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Uruguay, Puerto Rico and Venezuela). The pre-project estimated the budget, the data gathering logistics and assessed the feasibility of a larger project. The pre-project found several intersting studies in most of these countries, but all of them had a local or very limited geographical perspective and were carried out with different methodologies and small samples. These facts rendered them difficult to compare.  Based on these results, a grant proposal was sent to the NRC's Latin America Program on November 26th, 2008. The LIAS project received funding and started activities with an opening Conference held at Eafit-University, in Medellín, Colombia, in September 2009.

Project Plan. As the first project of this kind, covering the whole Hispanic World, the LIAS-project is based on a global geographical perspective and applies a common methodology to study Spanish-speakers attitudes towards the Spanish variants spoken in the Hispanic countries. In addition, Miami (Florida) will be included because of the special conglomerate of native speakers of Spanish from all over the continent living in this city. If additional funding is available, interviews in Los Angeles will also be carried out. The data will be gathered by 28 researchers in the capitals of their native countries applying a structured questionnaire to a stratified sample of 400 speakers per capital. The data will be gathered in 2010. The analysis will be the main task in 2011 and a final conference will be held in 2012 to present the main findings and the reports from the studies in  each country, as well as the general project results.