Margarita Jara, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Spanish


Margarita Jara is associate professor of Spanish at UNLV since 2013. She obtained a B.A in Hispanic languages and literatures with mention in Hispanic linguistics in the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú. She received her master’s degree and doctorate in Hispanic Linguistics, as well as the Certificate of Latin American Studies from the University of Pittsburgh. Before arriving at UNLV, she taught at the Universidad de Lima (1993-2001) and other educational institutions in Peru, her native country. She also worked training bilingual indigenous teachers in Peruvian Amazonian communities (1988-1992).

Her dissertation is on the use of the preterit and present perfect in the Spanish of Lima. Her research interest is focused on the areas of Spanish dialectology and sociolinguistics, linguistic variation, language ideologies, and Spanish in contact. Her recent publications appear in peer-reviewed journals such as Lexis (2013), Sociolinguistic Studies (2012), Revista Internacional de Lingüística Iberoamericana (2012), Spanish in Context (2011), Studies in Hispanic and Lusophone Linguistics (2011) and Signo & Seña (2009). Her book titled “El perfecto en el español de Lima: Variación y cambio en situación de contacto lingüístico” [The  Perfect in Lima’s Spanish: Variation and Change in a language contact situation] was published by the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú Press in 2013. It explores the alternation of past perfect form in the oral speech of Lima Spanish, examines the constraints placed on past form variation within narrative discourse due to linguistic and social factors, and analyzes the effect of Andean Spanish and bilingualism. Currently, Jara is doing research on Peruvian Amazonian and Andean Spanish. 

Additional Information

Spanish sociolinguistics and dialectology, language variation and change, language in contact, bilingualism, language ideologies.