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Department of Modern Languages

Dr. Earl Brown


Associate Professor of Spanish and Director of Graduate Studies


Leasure Hall 9D, (785) 532-6539

Personal Webpage



At the undergraduate level, Dr. Brown has taught: intro to Spanish linguistics, Spanish for heritage speakers, history of the Spanish language, Spanish phonetics and phonology, advanced Spanish grammar, intermediate Spanish grammar, intro to Spanish-English translation, Spanish writing and conversation, senior thesis for Spanish majors, and Spanish language courses, as well as applied linguistics in English. At the graduate level, he has taught in Spanish: intro to Spanish linguistics, the history of the Spanish language, Spanish-English bilingualism in the US; and in English: intro to linguistics, intro to corpus linguistics, and theories of second language acquisition. He enjoys working with students of various linguistic backgrounds and strives to take advantage of and build upon the strengths of all students, whether they are native- or heritage-speakers of Spanish or second-language learners.


Dr. Brown's research centers on language variation and change in Spanish, especially its sound system. In most of this research he employs the phonetics software Praat (praat.org) and uses corpus linguistics techniques of text manipulation and searching with the programming language R (r-project.org). While at a previous institution, Dr. Brown created a corpus of sociolinguistic interviews of native speakers of Mexican Spanish living in Salinas, California: the Corpus of Mexican Spanish in Salinas, California.

Recent publications

    • Brown, Earl K. In preparation. "The company that word-boundary sounds keep: The effect of contextual frequency on word-final /s/ in a sample of Mexican Spanish." Invited chapter in festschrift volume in honor of Joan Bybee. Read the abstract here.

    • Brown, Earl K., and Mary T. Copple. In press. "Constructing two phonological systems: A phonetic analysis of /p/, /t/, /k/ among early Spanish-English bilingual speakers." International Journal of Bilingualism. Read the manuscript here.

    • Gradoville, Michael S., Earl K. Brown, Richard J. File-Muriel. In press. "The effect of variable intercepts on findings in sociophonetic data: Some observations from Caleño Spanish" Journal of Research Design and Statistics in Linguistics and Communication Science.

    • Brown, Earl K. In press. "On the utility of combining production data and perceptual data to investigate regional linguistic variation: The case of Spanish experiential gustar 'to like, to please' on Twitter and in an online survey." Journal of Linguistic Geography. Read the manuscript here.

    • Brown, Earl K., Michael S. Gradoville, Richard J. File-Muriel. 2014. "The variable effect of form and lemma frequencies on phonetic variation: Evidence from /s/ realization in two varieties of Colombian Spanish." Corpus Linguistics and Linguistic Theory, 10: 213-241. Read the abstract here.

    • Brown, Earl K., and Esther L. Brown. 2012. "Syllable-final and syllable-initial /s/ reduction in Cali, Colombia: One variable or two?" Colombian Varieties of Spanish, ed. by Richard File-Muriel and Rafael Orozco, 89-106. Madrid: Iberoamericana.

    • File-Muriel, Richard, and Earl K. Brown. 2011. "The gradient nature of s-lenition in Caleño Spanish." Language Variation and Change, 23: 223-243. Read the abstract here.

    • Brown, Earl K. 2011. "Paradigmatic Peer-Pressure: Word-medial, Syllable-initial /s/ Lenition in Dominican Spanish." In Selected Proceedings of the 5th Conference on Laboratory Approaches to Romance Phonology, ed. by Scott Alvord, 46-58. Somerville, MA: Cascadilla Proceedings Project. Read the full paper here.


PhD, Hispanic Linguistics, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, 2008
MA, Spanish Linguistics, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah, 2003
BA, Spanish, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah, 2001