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Nicholas Henriksen

Associate Professor of Spanish Linguistics
Department of Romance Languages & Literatures
Courtesy appointment: Department of Linguistics
University of Michigan


  • Associate Professor, Department of Romance Languages & Literatures, University of Michigan (current appointment since 2018)
  • Assistant Professor, Department of Romance Languages & Literatures, University of Michigan (2012-2018)
  • Visiting Assistant Professor, Department of Foreign Languages & Literatures, University of Alabama at Birmingham (2011-2012)
  • Assistant Professor, Department of Foreign Languages & Literatures, Northern Illinois University (2010-2012)

Research interests

  • Laboratory phonology, experimental phonetics, and sociophonetics
  • Intonational structure and prosody
  • Sound change in Andalusian, Argentine, and Castilian Spanish
  • Second language speech learning and phonology
  • Afrikaans-Spanish bilingualism in Patagonia, Argentina

Additional Projects



  • PhD, Linguistics & Hispanic Linguistics, Indiana University, 2010
  • MA, Hispanic Linguistics, Indiana University, 2006
  • BA, Spanish & Mathematics, Rutgers University, 2003


University of Michigan

Department of Romance Languages & Literatures

Spanish 298

Introduction to Spanish Linguistics

This course provides an introduction to Hispanic Linguistics and establishes the basis for future application of linguistic principles. The first two weeks introduce basic principles and concepts in linguistic theory and linguistic structure. The remaining weeks of the semester examine the linguistic structure of the Spanish language based on the following fields of linguistic inquiry: word formation (morphology), word order (syntax), the sound system (phonetics and phonology), history of the language, and second language acquisition. The goal of this course is to provide students with a level of knowledge that enables them to succeed in future Hispanic Linguistics courses.

Winter 2022, Fall 2017, Winter 2017, Fall 2016, Winter 2016

Spanish 333

Techniques of Oral Pronunciation

This course is an undergraduate-level introduction to Spanish phonetics and phonology. The main goal of this class is to understand the sound patterns of Spanish as well as to apply this knowledge to the practice of pronunciation during the study-abroad experience. Students will learn about the consonant and vowel features of Spanish as well as issues relating to Spanish stress and intonation. After successful completion of this course, students will: be familiar with all the sounds of Spanish and how they are organized in the phonological system of the language; apply the rules of Spanish pronunciation to their own speech; use appropriate terminology to express general notions of phonetics; and recognize the vast geolinguistic diversity in Spanish.

(through CGIS) Summer 2017, Summer 2015, Summer 2014

Spanish 355

New World Spanish (Topic: Spanish in the U.S.)

This course is an introduction to the theoretical foundations and practical applications of language variation in Spanish-speaking communities in the United States. There will be a strong focus on the acquisition of Spanish as a heritage language by speakers of Spanish born and raised in the United States, exploring aspects related to most areas of linguistic analysis (phonetics, syntax, morphology, discourse). Further topics include: bilingualism and language generation; borrowings and code-switching; dialect contact; language planning; and language identity. Students will conduct informal interviews with Spanish-English bilingual speakers, who will serve as sociolinguistic informants throughout the course.

Winter 2014, Winter 2013

Spanish 410

Spanish Phonetics and Phonology

This course presents a complete overview of the Spanish sound system and establishes the basis for the application of principles at the phonetic (auditory, articulatory and acoustic) and phonological levels of linguistic analysis. The first two weeks introduce basic principles in phonological analysis and the structure of sound systems in general. During the remaining portion of the term, students examine the descriptive properties (consonants; vowels; syllables; stress; and intonation) and phonological processes relevant to the language’s sound system. A considerable amount of instructional time will focus on Spanish acoustic phonetics, hypothesis testing, and spectrographic analysis.


Fall 2022, Fall 2021, Winter 2020, Fall 2019, Fall 2017, Fall 2016, Winter 2016, Winter 2015, Fall 2014, Winter 2014, Fall 2013, Winter 2013, Fall 2012

Spanish 416

Spanish Sociolinguistics

This advanced linguistics course examines the theoretical foundations and practical applications of language variation (dialectal, social, historical) in Spanish-speaking communities. During the first third of the term, students are introduced to the theoretical and methodological foundations of sociolinguistic variation. The second third of the term is a focus on sociolinguistic issues as they relate to Spanish, and students will read quantitative articles with the goal of learning how to pose questions and solve problems in sociolinguistic research. Finally, students will spend the last weeks of the course gaining firsthand experience in sociolinguistic research and data analysis (data collection, coding, and interpretation). Students will apply their knowledge of course content in data analysis activities, research summaries, exams, and a final research paper.

Summer 2022, Summer 2021, Summer 2020, Summer 2019, Summer 2018, Winter 2017, Fall 2014, Fall 2013, Fall 2012

Spanish 487

Studies in Hispanic Linguistics (Topic: Spanish Second Language Phonology)

This course focuses on principles and current models of the acquisition of second language (L2) sounds, with a focus of the acquisition of L2 sounds in Spanish. Course topics include: L1 influences on L2 phonology; models of L2 phonology; L2 effects on L1 phonology; age effects in L2 phonology; and the acquisition of L3 phonology. Considerable attention is given to current research standards in the field. The goal of this course is to provide students with a sound foundation of the factors that influence L2 phonological acquisition and also to provide students with a level of analytical knowledge that enables them to conduct empirical research in the field of linguistics.

Fall 2020, Winter 2018, Winter 2015

Spanish 487

Studies in Hispanic Linguistics (Topic: Do you speak Andalusian?)

The goal of this course is to offer students the opportunity to understand the linguistic and cultural heritage of one of the most visited geographic areas in Spain, namely Andalusia. Primarily, the course centers on the vast sociolinguistic and dialectal variation exhibited in Andalusian Spanish, focusing on phonetic, morphosyntactic, and pragmatic structures. Further, this language variation will be framed within the dynamic lens of cultural studies, in order to understand how Andalusian linguistic practices relate to broader social phenomena such as ideology, class structures, and national formations. Michigan students will be paired with students from Jerez de la Frontera (Cádiz, Spain), who will serve as virtual linguistic informants throughout the course.

Featured in Inside Higher Ed

Winter 2021, Spring 2020

Spanish 487

Studies in Hispanic Linguistics (Topic: Phonetics, phonology, and sociolinguistic variation of Spanish and Galician)

This course presents a contrastive overview of the Spanish and Galician sound systems and establishes the basis for application of principles in phonetic, phonological, and sociolinguistic analysis for both languages. The course first offers a comprehensive survey of the descriptive properties of Spanish and Galician through transcriptions, dictations, and oral exams. After gaining knowledge in these areas, students will engage with topics related to language planning and language policies in contemporary Spain, which will allow them to develop a critical stance on the use of minoritized languages in the Iberian peninsula.

(through CGIS) Spring 2022

Spanish 342

Introduction to Contemporary Latin American Culture

This course provides an introduction to Latin American Culture in the twentieth century. Course topics include: democracy and post-dictatorship, social movements, Marxism, indigeneity and race, gender roles, immigration, and narcotrafficking. Some geographical areas of focus are Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Cuba, Guatemala, and Mexico. Students watch films about relevant course topics, and learn to argue ideas through coherent and informed critical thinking. By learning how to reason carefully from clearly stated premises, students develop the ability to frame sophisticated questions and explore pre-determined topics within the course’s disciplinary framework. Students are assessed through oral presentations, critical-thinking response papers, and a final oral interview.

Winter 2018

Northern Illinois University

Department of Foreign Languages & Literatures

Spanish 486 Spanish Applied Linguistics Summer 2011
Spanish 461 Spanish Civilization Summer 2011
Spanish 481/581 Spanish Phonology Fall 2011, Spring 2010
Spanish 301 Advanced Spanish Grammar Fall 2011, Spring 2010

Indiana University

Department of Spanish & Portuguese

Spanish 326 Introduction to Hispanic Linguistics Spring 2009, Fall 2009, Fall 2007
Spanish 310 Spanish Grammar and Composition Spring 2007, Spring 2005
Spanish 250 Second-Year Spanish II Fall 2007, Spring 2006
Spanish 200 Second-Year Spanish I Fall 2004
Spanish 105 First Year Spanish Fall 2005
Spanish 100 Elementary Spanish I Spring 2004, Fall 2003

Department of Linguistics

Linguistics 700 Seminar on First Language Acquisition (with Daniel Dinnsen) Spring 2008
Linguistics 642 Advanced Phonological Analysis (with Daniel Dinnsen) Spring 2010, Spring 2009
Linguistics 542 Advanced Phonological Analysis (with Daniel Dinnsen) Fall 2009, Fall 2008, Fall 2006

Grammar & Phonetics Instructor

León, Spain Summer 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005
Ciudad Real, Spain Summer 2004

Books Edited

Amstrong, Meghan, Nicholas Henriksen, & Maria del Mar Vanrell. (2016). Intonational grammar in Ibero-Romance: Approaches across linguistic subfields. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Refereed Journal Articles

Nicholas Henriksen, Shayna Greenley & Amber Galvano. (Accepted, minor revisions). Sociophonetic investigation of the Spanish alveolar trill /r/ in two canonical-trill varieties. Language and Speech.
Fafulas, Stephen, Nicholas Henriksen, & Erin O’Rourke. (In press). Sound change and gender-based differences in isolated regions: Acoustic analysis of intervocalic phonemic stops by Bora-Spanish bilinguals. Linguistics Vanguard.
Henriksen, Nicholas, Andries W. Coetzee, Lorenzo García-Amaya, & Micha Fischer. (2021). Exploring language dominance through code-switching: Intervocalic voiced stop lenition in Afrikaans-Spanish bilinguals. Phonetica, 78(3), 201–240.*
Szpiech, Ryan, Joshua Shapero, Andries W. Coetzee, Lorenzo García-Amaya, Paulina Alberto, Victoria Langland, Ellie Johandes, & Nicholas Henriksen. (2020). Afrikaans in Patagonia: Language shift and cultural integration in a rural immigrant community. International Journal of the Sociology of Language, 266, 33–54.*
Henriksen, Nicholas & Lorenzo García-Amaya. (2019). Falsetto in interaction in Western Andalusian Spanish: A pilot study. Revista Internacional de Lingüística Iberoamericana, 34, 101–124.
Henriksen, Nicholas. (2017). Patterns of vowel laxing and harmony in Iberian Spanish: Data from production and perception. Journal of Phonetics, 63, 106–126.
Henriksen, Nicholas & Stephen Fafulas. (2017). Prosodic timing and language contact: Spanish and Yagua in Amazonian Peru. Studies in Hispanic and Lusophone Linguistics, 10(2), 225–257.
Henriksen, Nicholas & Sarah Harper. (2016). Investigating lenition patterns in south-central Peninsular Spanish /sp st sk/ clusters. Journal of the International Phonetic Association, 46(3), 287–310.
Henriksen, Nicholas. (2016). Investigating the nature of the left periphery in Peninsular Spanish wh-question intonation. Phonetica, 73(1), 1–32.
Henriksen, Nicholas. (2015). Acoustic analysis of the rhotic contrast in Chicagoland Spanish: An intergenerational study. Linguistic Approaches to Bilingualism, 5(3), 282–321.
Henriksen, Nicholas. (2015). Syllable structure and word stress effects in Peninsular Spanish nuclear accents. Laboratory Phonology, 6(1), 53–86.
Henriksen, Nicholas. (2014). Sociophonetic analysis of phonemic trill variation in two sub-varieties of Peninsular Spanish. Journal of Linguistic Geography, 2(1), 4–24.
Henriksen, Nicholas. (2014). Initial peaks and final falls in the intonation of Manchego Peninsular Spanish wh-questions. Probus, 26(1), 83–134.
Henriksen, Nicholas. (2013). Style, prosodic variation, and the social meaning of intonation. Journal of the International Phonetic Association 43(2), 153–193.
Henriksen, Nicholas. (2012). The intonation and signaling of declarative questions in Manchego Peninsular Spanish. Language and Speech 55(4), 543–576.
Henriksen, Nicholas & Lorenzo J. Garcia-Amaya. (2012). Transcription of intonation of Jerezano Andalusian Spanish. Estudios de Fonética Experimental 21, 109–162.
Henriksen, Nicholas, Kimberly L. Geeslin & Erik W. Willis. (2010). The development of L2 Spanish intonation during a study abroad immersion program in León, Spain: Global contours and final boundary movements. Studies in Hispanic and Lusophone Linguistics 3, 113–162.
Henriksen, Nicholas. (2009). Wh-question intonation in Peninsular Spanish: Multiple contours and the effect of task type. Journal of Portuguese Linguistics 8(1), 47–74.
Henriksen, Nicholas. (2008). A reanalysis of paradigmatic variation in the Old Spanish imperfect. Studies in Hispanic and Lusophone Linguistics 1, 287–316.

Refereed Conference Proceedings and Book Chapters

Henriksen, Nicholas & Kelly Kendro. (Forthcoming). Laxing vowel harmony. In Handbook of Vowel Harmony, ed. by H. van der Hulst & N. Ritter. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Henriksen, Nicholas. (2021). Second and third language acquisition of Romance phonology. In Manual of Romance Phonetics and Phonology, ed. by C. Gabriel, R. Gess, & T. Meisenburg, pp. 435–461. Berlin/New York: De Gruyter.
Henriksen, Nicholas, Stephen Fafulas, & Erin O’Rourke. (2020). Intervocalic phonemic stop realization in Amazonian Peru: The case of Yagua Spanish. In Spanish Phonetics and Phonology in Contact: Studies from Africa, the Americas, and Spain, ed. by R. Rao, pp. 142–161. Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Company.
Henriksen, Nicholas, Lorenzo García-Amaya, Andries W. Coetzee, & Daan Wissing. (2019). Language contact in Patagonia: Durational control in the acquisition of Spanish and Afrikaans phonology. In The Routledge Handbook of Spanish Phonology, ed. by S. Colina & F. Martínez-Gil, pp. 416–438. New York: Routledge.*
Henriksen, Nicholas. (2019). Future directions for sociophonetic research in Spanish. In Recent Advances in the Study of Spanish Sociophonetic Perception, ed. by W. Chappell, pp. 328–340. Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Company.
Alberto, Paulina, Ana Silva, Andries W. Coetzee, Lorenzo García-Amaya, Victoria Langland, Ryan Szpiech, Ellie Johandes, & Nicholas Henriksen. (2019). Los otros afro-argentinos: narrativas raciales de la colectividad sudafricana de la Patagonia del siglo XX. In Estudios Latinoamericanos 4: Actas de las Sextas Jornadas del GEALA, ed. by E. Lamborghini, M. Ghidoli, & J. F. Martínez Peria, pp. 175–190. Buenos Aires: Editions of the CCC Cultural Center of the Floreal Gorini Cooperation.*
Coetzee, Andries, Lorenzo García-Amaya, Jiseung Kim, Daan Wissing, & Nicholas Henriksen. (2019). Velar Palatalization in Patagonian and South-African Afrikaans: Language and Settlement History in an Expatriate Community. In Proceedings of the 19th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences, Melbourne, Australia 2019, ed by S. Calhoun, P. Escudero, M. Tabain & P. Warren, pp. 1610–1614. Canberra, Australia: Australian Speech Science and Technology Association Inc.*
Henriksen, Nicholas, Meghan E. Armstrong, & Lorenzo García-Amaya. (2016). The intonational meaning of polar questions in Manchego Spanish spontaneous speech. In Interdisciplinary approaches to intonational grammar in Ibero-Romance, ed. by M. Armstrong, N. Henriksen, & M. Vanrell, pp. 181–206. Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Company.
Henriksen, Nicholas. (2016). Convergence effects in Spanish-English bilingual rhythm. In Proceedings of Speech Prosody 2016.
Henriksen, Nicholas. (2015). Secondary correlates of question signaling in Manchego Spanish. In The phonetics-phonology interface. Representations and methodologies, ed. by J. Romero & M. Riera, pp. 211–237. Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Company.
Coetzee, Andries, Lorenzo García-Amaya, Nicholas Henriksen, & Daan Wissing. (2015). Bilingual speech rhythm: Spanish-Afrikaans in Patagonia. In Proceedings of the 18th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences, ed. by The Scottish Consortium for ICPhS 2015. Glasgow, UK: The University of Glasgow.
Armstrong, Meghan E., Nicholas Henriksen, & Christian DiCanio. (2015). Sociophonetic analysis of young Peninsular Spanish women’s voice quality. In Hispanic linguistics at the crossroads: Theoretical linguistics, language acquisition and language contact, ed. by R. Klassen, J. M. Liceras & E. Valenzuela. Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Company.
Henriksen, Nicholas. (2013). Suprasegmental phonology in second language speech. In The handbook of Spanish second language acquisition, ed. by K. Geeslin, pp. 166–182. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell.
Geeslin, Kimberly L., Lorenzo G. García-Amaya, Maria Hasler-Barker, Nicholas Henriksen & Jason Killam. (2012). Variability in the L2 acquisition of perfective past time reference in Spanish in an abroad immersion setting. In Selected proceedings of the 15th Hispanic Linguistics Symposium, ed. by K. Geeslin & M. Díaz-Campos, pp. 197–213. Somerville, MA: Cascadilla Proceedings Project.
Henriksen, Nicholas & Erik W. Willis. (2010). Acoustic characterization of phonemic trill production in Jerezano Andalusian Spanish. In Proceedings of Laboratory Approaches to Spanish Phonology 4, ed. by M. Ortega-Llebaria, pp. 115–127. Somerville, MA: Cascadilla Proceedings Project.
Geeslin, Kimberly L., Lorenzo J. García-Amaya, Maria Hasler-Barker, Nicholas Henriksen & Jason Killam. (2010). The development of variation in clitic pronouns among Spanish L2 learners in an abroad immersion program. In Selected proceedings of the 12th Hispanic Linguistics Symposium, ed. by C. Borgonovo, M. Español-Echevarría & P. Prévost, pp. 246–259. Somerville, MA: Cascadilla Proceedings Project.
Henriksen, Nicholas. (2009). Imperfect variation and class marking in the Old Spanish third conjugation. In Romance Linguistics 2007, ed. by P. Masullo, E O’Rourke & C.-H. Huang, pp. 143–156. Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Company.
Henriksen, Nicholas. (2007). Unexpected hiatus and base-identity in the Spanish verbal paradigm. In IUWPL6: Phonological opacity effects in Optimality Theory, ed. by A. Farris-Trimble & D.A. Dinnsen, pp. 17–33. Bloomington, IN: IULC Publications.

* publications supported by University of Michigan Humanities Collaboratory Project-Funding grant, project title From Africa to Patagonia: Voices of Displacement.

Public Essays

Henriksen, Nicholas & Matthew Neubacher. (2021). Un-muting voices in a pandemic: Linguistic profiling in a time of crisis. High Stakes Humanities: Being Human during COVID-19, ed by K. Hass, pp. 344-356. University of Michigan Press.
Henriksen, Nicholas, Ian K. Cook, Ella Deaton, Ellie Johandes, Kelly Kendro, Paulina Alberto, Andries W. Coetzee, Lorenzo García-Amaya, Victoria Langland, Ana Silva, & Ryan Szpiech. (2020). Collaboration transcending crisis: An innovative faculty-student collaborative model. Inside Higher Ed.*
Silva, Ana M., Paulina L. Alberto, Andries W. Coetzee, Lorenzo García-Amaya, Ellie Johandes, Victoria Langland, Ryan Szpiech, & Nicholas Henriksen. (2019). La asombrosa historia de los gauchos sudafricanos de la Patagonia. Viva, 5 May 2019, 16–20.*
Szpiech, Ryan, Andries W. Coetzee, Lorenzo García-Amaya, Paulina L. Alberto, Victoria Langland, & Nicholas Henriksen. (2019). Language and identity: lessons from a unique Afrikaans community in Patagonia. The Conversation. [Republication in Spanish]*
Henriksen, Nicholas, Andries W. Coetzee, Lorenzo García-Amaya, Paulina L. Alberto, Victoria Langland, Ryan Szpiech, & Joshua Shapero. (2018). From Africa to Patagonia: Voices of Displacement. Babel, 24, 16–21.*


The Michigan Daily. (2021). Students, faculty embrace collaborative learning in another online semester.
Discover Rackham, University of Michigan Rackham Graduate School. (2020). Speaking their legacy.
University of Michigan LSA Magazine. (2019). Last Words: LSA researchers work to document a lesser-known version of the Afrikaans language before the last generation of speakers is gone.
CapeTalk (South Africa). (2019). Afrikaans in Patagonia.
Litnet. (South Africa). (2019). Revisiting the end of the world: an interview on language identity and displacement.
The Michigan Daily. (2019). Collaborative humanities project brings professors and students together to understand cultural identity.
The Times (United Kingdom). (2019). Boers of Patagonia keep Afrikaans alive.
NPR: Stateside. (2018). UM laboratory shows students, parents the real-world value of a humanities education.
The Michigan Daily. (2017). University researchers study bilingualism in Argentina from a linguistic and sociocultural perspective.


SHAPE Shorts Podcast. (2021). Beyond the Microscope: Humanities & Science.
MyEducation Podcast. (2020). Zoe, Amber and Ellie (Part 1 & Part 2).
Inside Higher Ed. (2020). Socially distant yet intellectually close. (Authors: Zoe Phillips, Amber Galvano, Ellie Maly, Jessica Czapla, Natalie Dakki, Sarah Khansa, Vidhya Premkumar, Stepan Topouzian, & Tommy Wiaduck)
BBC. (2019). Patagonia’s last Boers keeping Afrikaans alive.
Times Higher Education. (2019). Women in STEM: how to combine science and humanities research. (Author: Ellie Johandes)
Die Burger (South Africa). (2019). Dis ons land die, maar Afrika is my regte land.
Rapport (South Africa). (2019). Die Afrikaners van Argentinië. (Author: Dawie Boonzaaier)
El Patagónico (Argentina). (2014). Cineasta sudafricano está rodando un documental sobre los bóers.

* publications supported by University of Michigan Humanities Collaboratory Project-Funding grant, project title From Africa to Patagonia: Voices of Displacement.

Nicholas Henriksen

University of Michigan
4108 Modern Languages Building
812 East Washington Street
Ann Arbor MI 48109 USA