Project director
Dr. Alba Arias Alvarez
Dr. Arias Álvarez teaches Hispanic Linguistics at the department of Modern Languages at Roanoke College. She has a PhD in Hispanic Linguistics by The University of Massachusetts Amherst, where she focused on Puerto Rican Spanish. Her areas of interests are Spanish in the US, Language attitudes and identities and Sociophonetics. She created the Virginia Corpus of Spanish Variation in order to document the linguistic pluralism of Virginia. Dr. Arias believes that it will allow future generations to analyze language variation and change by different Spanish communities in Virginia. Moreover, since some Spanish varieties are still very stigmatized in Spanish classrooms, educators and users in general could benefit immensely from instruction regarding the linguistic variation found in Virginia.

Undergraduate Research Assistants and Interviewers 

Lydia Ramirez

Hello, my name is Lydia Ramirez. Currently, I am pursuing a minor in Spanish at Roanoke College. I am involved with this project because I value language and I am fascinated by the diversity in the Latino community. This project allows me to actively participate in the local Latino community and learn of various variations of Spanish. My contribution lets me help other students, professors and the general public understand that there are Spanish variation in Spanish speakers.

Sophia Kachur

I’m Sophia Kachur, a political science major and a Spanish minor. I joined the project because in itself the corpus is a great resource, but the making of it is also an incredible experience. Transcribing interviews is an amazing help in listening comprehension, especially in the differentiation between accents. The point of the corpus is to show variation in Spanish and the beauty in that, and learning that as I’m trying to learn the Spanish language is such an important a foundational lesson. So, I’m working for the corpus because it’s a cool project and at the same time it helps me with my own Spanish abilities!


Edgar Lacayo

I am Edgard Lacayo. I am one of the student Research assistants in this Project. I am a sophomore at Roanoke College, and am majoring in Business Administration. I am from Nicaragua, and was immediately interested when I saw the position. I was excited to see a position that required me to speak Spanish. It is my native language and I am working in this project because I think that it I important to study the different varieties of Spanish that exist in Virginia. There are a lot of Latinos in Virginia and they come from very different parts of Latin America such as El Salvador, or Peru, and it is important to study how these varieties interact, and change when they come in contact with each other.

Caroline Powell

Caroline Powell is the digital tools assistant working on this project. She is a freshman and psychology major at Roanoke College. She became interested in this project because it combined her knowledge of technology and her interest in learning languages, especially Spanish.