Headwords and headword searches are constructed using the definition and form developed in the CD-ROM publication. To describe those searches, the relevant portion of the original User’s Guide is here cited.[1]

“The headwords largely respect the structure of the original versions of the LHA published on microfiche, though [...] a much stricter degree of consistency has been imposed. The user is strongly recommended to look upon the listing by headword as a browsing option only, and to use the search capabilities to find individual lexical items within the corpus; the [word and string] search tools will inevitably produce a greater variety of contexts, uses, and morphosyntactic features for items sought, and indeed a greater variety of lexical items themselves, than could be included under the headwords.

"Many headwords are listed with variants, that is, the principal headword which appears in the list of citations is followed by one or more forms that are lexically identical, but differ in orthography in such a way as to suggest the possibility of a difference in pronunciation (whether in the modern language or in earlier periods). The editors have taken a conservative approach to deciding what constitutes a variant, recognizing that a proliferation of variants listed as separate headwords served no useful purpose if differences were purely orthographic, particularly in early material. Thus such forms as cuaderno and quaderno, or gente and jente, ascendente and acendente (here bearing in mind the seseante pronunciation of American Spanish) have been listed under the same headword in each case, that headword having the modern spelling. On the other hand, gente and xente, or pneumático, neumático and numático, or sauce, sauz and salce have been kept as separate headwords, since the differences in spelling potentially indicate variant pronunciations. One exception to this general criterion governing headword variants was admitted: if the orthographic representation reflected a widely-recognized diatopic or diastratic variation in pronunciation present in the modern language, it was not given a separate headword. This is the case, for instance, in the presence or absence of intervocalic or word-final d (asao appears under the headword asado, maldá under the headword maldad), the preservation or loss of syllable-final s ( appears under the headword más), variation of syllable-final l and r (veldad appears under the headword verdad), and the closure of word-final mid vowels (buenu appears under the headword bueno). In a small number of examples, however, such variation has led to the acceptance by the standard language of lexical doublets (alcacel and alcacer are one such pair): when standard reference dictionaries register both items, they stand as separate headwords in the LHA.

"For headword search purposes, the user need use only the modern orthographic form: any headword which diverges from the modern standard is always accompanied by a variant which matches the modern form. Search functions will therefore identify all headwords which are lexically identical, whatever their orthographic (and, as explained above, phonetic) divergence might be. Note that in view of the divergence of alphabetic symbols with diacritics available on keyboards internationally, it was considered most convenient to provide an on-screen toolbar for users to insert accented vowels, ñ, ç into search strings [see Using Accents Help Guide on how to insert accents and diacritics].

"Since searches for context words (and others, for instance by source or location) involve culling citations from all relevant headwords and some citations were used to illustrate more than one headword, the results will in some cases produce partially identical citations. These are easily identifiable from the source information that accompanies them” (User’s Guide 7).[2]

In the current web version of the LHA corpus, the above information applies to headwords and headword searches.

The headword search box has an drop-down menu providing auto-fill options. As the user begins to type the word that he/she wishes to find, there will appear below the selection box a scrolling list of headwords contained in the LHA corpus, up to 10 at a time, in alphabetical order, beginning with the letters the user types in. This will help the user know if the word he/she would like to find is identified as a headword within the corpus. If after entering the complete word, the user still does not see the word he/she is interesting in finding, then that word is not found as a headword, as defined above. The user should use the Word or String search instead (see Context Word and String Search Help Guide for more information).

Headword searches will only produce results using accents/diacritics (for help with typing accents/diacritics, see the Using Accent Help Guide) or by using the drop-down auto-fill option, described above, to ensure the word is classified as a headword within the corpus. Once the user identifies the headword from the auto-fill option and selects it and clicks on the Search button, the results will be displayed below on the screen.

A Headword search may be combined with parameters for date (Century or Year), Location, or Source text, or any combination thereof. A Headword search may NOT be run in combination with a Word search.

If the Headword search produces a large number of results, the search will pause after 500 results are found and the user will be prompted to decide if he/she wishes the program to continue or abort the current search. In such instances, the user may wish to abort the search and limit the query using the parameters mentioned above or through the Limit function (see Limit Search Help Guide for more information).

The search results are displayed in the following format. First, the headword, with any variants subsumed under that headword, is displayed. Then, the citation information is displayed:

For example, if the user was searching for saltoatrás, upon selecting and searching on that headword, the search results will be displayed, in chronological order, as follows:

Headword: saltoatrás [saltatrás] [saltaatrás]

6 results found

Citation: [c. 1839 Cuba] me gustan más los blancos que los pardos, se me caería la cara de vergüenza si me casara y tuviera un hijo saltoatrás [VCV 322]

Citation: [1639 Perú] mestizos de negras e indios que se llaman saltatrás [RAN 57]

Citation: [1762 Santo Domingo] si el negro se mescla con grifa sus producidos son saltatrases o seminegros [PHC 1, 275]

Citation: [c. 1770 Lima] de mestizo común e india (resulta) salta atrás [RHL 14, 331]

Citation: [c. 1775 Nuevo Reino de Granada] el hijo de la cuarterona con criollo llaman saltatrás [SMN 1, 52

Citation: [1942 Ciudad de México] chamizos, moriscos, lobos, salta-atrás y torna-atrás, albarazados, castizos, jíbaros, tente-en-el-aire, no-te-entiendo y albinos, producto todos ellos de las tres razas [VAC 45]

This is the original citation information from the CD-ROM Léxico hispanoamericano. Copyright on all data is held by the Hispanic Seminary of Medieval Studies.

There are over 83,000 headwords in the corpus. If the user wishes to see the entire list of headwords, he/she may consult the alphabetic help files under the Headwords Tab on the top toolbar on the home page.

[1] For those interested in the construction and history of the Boyd-Bowman project, Léxico hispanoamericano (LHA), there is information under the History of the Project link on the About tab on this website’s home page.

[2] Peter Boyd-Bowman’s Léxico hispanoamericano 1493-1993. Eds. Ray Harris-Northall and John J. Nitti. Technical development by Jean E. Lentz. New York: Hispanic Seminary of Medieval Studies, 2003-2007. Version 2.0. April 2007.