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Estilita Cassiani

Estilita Cassiani
Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese Graduate Student
Estilita Cassiani


Estilita Cassiani Obeso is a graduate student in the Department of Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese at The Penn State University. She is pursuing a Ph.D. in Spanish and Language Science while she teaches Spanish. Estilita was born in Barranquilla, Colombia, where she received her B.A. in Spanish and Literature at the Universidad del Atlántico. She is a member of the Palenquero community, located in the village of San Basilio de Palenque, Colombia.

Project Summary:

Estilita has always been passionate about the Humanities, the study of Spanish in contact with other languages, and sociolinguistics. Her research focuses on the study of the phonology and morphology of the Afro-Hispanic creole Palenquero. When Estilita is not conducting research, she likes to spend time watching documentaries and writing stories. She also enjoys dancing folkloric and Latino music as well as to attend discussions about art, culture, race, and gender dynamics.
I was awarded a PIRE grant to go to Palenque, Colombia to examine the Palenquero verbal system, in particular, which structures young and adult speakers prefer to use in order to express present, past, and future references. The proposed research responds to the need for more quantitative and variationist methods to explain the variable use of tense, mood, and aspect (TMA) between fluent adult speakers and younger L2 learners of Palenquero. My research advisor is Dr. John Lipski and my PIRE partner is Marianne Dieck at the University of Antioquia, Colombia.