Department of Spanish and Portuguese
Department of Spanish and Portuguese

Frederick G Hensey

Professor Emeritus

Frederick G Hensey



Language contact, codeswitching, translation and interpretation theory.


Fritz Hensey is a professor of Spanish and Portuguese teaching graduate and undergraduate courses in areas of linguistics and translation studies.  He teaches  historical linguistics and sociolinguistics as well as translation and interpretation and has lectured and given workshops in translation and interpretation in Spain, Mexico, Colombia, Nicaragua, and Taiwan.   In the area of sociolinguistics he is concerned with language rights and language issues typical of our region and of several countries of immigration, particularly in legal, medical, and social-service-areas.  I encourage my undergraduate students to learn bilingual communication skills both for vocational purposes and for linguistic enhancement. Recent areas of research:   codeswitching in Latino prose fiction and  the training of bilingual mental health workers.  


SPN 367K • Translation Prins And Pract

46605 • Spring 2012
Meets MWF 9:00AM-10:00AM WAG 208
(also listed as LAS 370S)

1.            Introduction:  Historical background; modes of interpretation and typical venues; differences between translation and interpretation.  Conference interpreting and liaison interpreting.  A discourse model of interpreting; speaking and hearing roles, talk as text and talk as activity. An overview of professional interpretation in the U.S. and elsewhere. Vocabulary building.  Preparatory exercises: shadowing, décalage (“ear-voice span”), dual tasking, and sight translation.

2.            Liaison interpreting:  Multiple roles of the interpreter in the community and particularly in the medical area, including mental health.  Ethics and protocol.  Observation and criticism of medical interpreters in action.  Community or public-service interpreters (intérpretes sociales) in the U.S. and in other countries.  Case studies.  Techniques of consecutive interpretation with and without notes, The Rozan system of note-taking: principles and typical notes.  Exercises (memory-strengthening, chunking, visualization, etc.) and hands-on practice of  consecutive interpreting of dialogs, both scripted and extemporaneous.  Accelerated consecutive as a transition to the simultaneous mode.

3.            Legal interpreting:  Multiple roles of the legal interpreter.  Interpreting in court and other legal settings (trials, hearings, depositions, etc.).  Observation and criticism of court interpreters in action.  Practice of simultaneous interpreting.  Choice of modes in different situations and venues.  Use of electronic equipment.  Accelerated consecutive and hands-on practice of both modes with both recorded and live material.  Overview of professional interpreting

SPN 345L • Intro To Hispanic Linguistics

46470 • Fall 2011
Meets MWF 11:00AM-12:00PM MEZ 2.124

SPN 367K • Translation Prins And Pract

46545 • Fall 2011
Meets MWF 9:00AM-10:00AM BEN 1.108

SPN 367K • Interpretation Prins & Prac

47215 • Spring 2011
Meets TTH 9:30AM-11:00AM BEN 1.102
(also listed as LAS 370S)

Topic description: Examination of Spanish syntax and style: the study of literary language and style, translation of idiomatic English, free composition, oral expression, rhetoric, and style. Conducted in Spanish.

SPN 383N • Lang Contact, Conflict, Change

46755 • Fall 2010
Meets TTH 9:30AM-11:00AM BEN 1.102

TTh 9:30-11:00 AM


I.  Introduction:  Language and society, major topics in sociolinguistics and sociology of language.  Speech communities, networks, repertoires;  language, dialect, and style;  bilingualism and diglossia;  language contact and language change.  Social and linguistic dimensions of contact and conflict;  language maintenance and shift;  language death.  Micro and macro levels of analysis; quantitative and qualitative approaches.   Case studies. 

II   Applications to the current situation of Spanish as a national language and a second language in the U.S. and as an official or working language in international organizations.  Standardization and change, e.g., in public administration, business, sci-tech, and other fields.  Lexical, phonological, and morphosyntactic variation and representative research procedures.  Discourse and gender.   Case studies.

III  Consequences of contact and conflict (or lack thereof) with indigenous languages of the Americas and elsewhere.  Bilingualism and diglossia, codeswitching, contact vernaculars and other features of stable extensive bilingualism; “Spanglish”.  Critical sociolinguistics and language factors in power relationships.  Language policy and planning and their implementation in public life.  Case studies. 


Three in-class presentations (25%),  three research papers (75%)


Carmen Silva-Corvalán, Sociolingüística y pragmática del español

Sara Thomason,  Language contact:  an introduction

Carmen Silva-Corvalán (ed.) Spanish in four continents

M. McGroarty (ed,),  Language Contact and Change

Supplementary readings

OTHER INFORMATION:  Course is general and comparative.

Curriculum Vitae

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