Spanish by birth, Vaquero lived most of her life in Puerto Rico. She earned her degree at the University of Salamanca (1959) and completed two doctoral degrees, one in Spanish linguistics at the University of Puerto Rico (1965) and another in Romance philology at the Complutense University of Madrid (1978). From 1968 to 2003, she was a professor in the Spanish Studies department and the graduate program in linguistics at the Río Piedras campus of the University of Puerto Rico. She also taught courses as a visiting professor in universities in Málaga, Navarra, Valladolid and at Menéndez Pelayo in Santander.
Vaquero was known for her research in dialectology, lexicography and philology. She conducted an acoustic analysis of the consonants and vowels of Puerto Rican Spanish and dedicated herself to studying the Spanish spoken in the Antilles and the lexiconlexicon: The vocabulary of a language or of a region, a given activity, semantic field, etc. of Puerto Rico. She also organized and participated in symposia on dialectology of the Spanish-speaking Caribbean and international congresses on the Spanish of the Americas.
Among Vaquero published works are Léxico marinero de Puerto Rico y otros estudios (1986); El español de Puerto Rico: historia y presente (2001); Palabras son palabras (1997); El español de América (1996); Palabras de Puerto Rico: con material recogido para el Atlas lingüístico de Hispanoamérica (1995); Política y lengua: el español en Puerto Rico (1993) and El léxico indígena en el español hablado en Puerto Rico (1983). Along with Spanish linguist and professor Amparo Morales, she produced the Tesoro lexicográfico del español de Puerto Rico (2005), which conveys the lexical richness of the Spanish spoken on the island.
In 1991, she joined the Puerto Rican Academy of the Spanish Language and became its secretary in 1994. She was also a member of the Spanish Royal Academy (1991), the National Academy of Letters of Uruguay (1996), and the North American Academy of Spanish Language (2001).
Among the recognition she earned during her life was the publication of Estudios de Lingüística Hispánica: homenaje a María Vaquero (1999). In 2007, she was named a professor emeritus at the University of Puerto Rico.
She died in 2008 in Pamplona, Spain, at 70 years of age.
Portal Academia Puertorriqueña de la Lengua Española
Autor: Grupo Editorial EPRL
Published: January 17, 2010.