Indiana University

The Department of Second Language Studies

Laurent Dekydtspotter

Photo of Laurent Dekydtspotter

  • Professor and Chair of Second Language Studies
  • Professor of French and Italian Department
(812) 855-2221
Morrison Hall 214

Research Interests

  • Psycholinguistics: behavioral (judgments, reading times, reaction times, etc.) and brain (event related potential) measures
  • Grammatical area: phrasal semantics and grammatically computed pragmatic inferences
  • Second language theory: Fundamental properties of second language grammar and processing, and parser-grammar relations


  • PhD, Linguistics, Cornell University, 1995
  • MA, TESOL/Linguistics, Washington State University, 1989
  • MA, English, Université Catholique de l'Ouest, 1987
  • BA, English, Université Catholique de l'Ouest, 1985

Personal Statement

Most of Dekydtspotter's research addresses second language learners' interpretation of sentences. His primary interests reside in the role of natural language syntax in the real-time integration of information from context, pragmatics, prosody, lexical and semantics involved in interpreting a second language. Learners' knowledge of the interpretation of sentences that are not licensed in the learner's native language raises fundamental issues of learnability. Learners' interpretative preferences during sentence processing can shed light on language design in second language use. Generally structure may function as a built-in selection mechanism chunking information and deciding what must be in the focus of attention with revealing effects in conditions of reduced capacity. Syntactic analysis in real time might also play a critical role enabling the development of second language grammatical knowledge. Research in progress addresses these fundamental hypotheses.

Selected Publications

  • Dekydtspotter, L. & Seo, H-K. (2016) Transitivity in the processing of intransitive clauses: a category-based prediction in low-intermediate learners of English. Studies in Second Language Acquisition . doi:10.1017/S0272263116000188.
  • Dekydtspotter, L. & Farmer, K. (2015) Antecedent priming in the processing of subject cleft sentences in English-French acquisition. In Katrin Schmitz, Pedro Guijarro-Fuentes and Natascha Müller (eds.), (pp. 66-93). The acquisition of French in multilingual contexts. Buffalo, N.Y. Multilingual Matters.
  • Dekydtspotter, L. & Renaud, C. (2014) On second language processing and grammatical development: The parser in second language acquisition. Linguistic Approaches to Bilingualism, 4(2), 131–165.
  • Dekydtspotter, L, M. McGuire, & Mossman, S. (2013). Movement and Binding-Driven Efficiencies in L2 Sentence Processing: On the Role of UG-Constrained Acquisition in L2 Cognition. In Erik Voss, Shu-Ju Diana Tai, and Zhi Li (eds.), (pp. 104-117) Selected Proceedings of the 2012 Second Language Research Forum, Somerville, MA: Cascadilla Press.
  • Dekydtspotter, L. (2013) On the nature and development of semantic knowledge in second language acquisition. In Julia Herschensohn and Martha Young-Scholten (eds.), (pp. 461-481) The Cambridge Handbook of Second Language Acquisition. Cambridge University Press.
  • Dekydtspotter, L. & A. K. Miller. (2013) Inhibitive and facilitative priming induced by traces in the processing of wh-dependencies in a second language. Second Language Research, 29, (currently available at OnlineFirst, doi:10.1177/0267658312467030)
  • Dekydtspotter, L., Wang, Y.-T., Kim, B., Kim, H-J., Kim, H.-K., & Lee, J.-K. (2012) Anaphora under Reconstruction during Processing in English as a Second Language. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 34, 561–590.
  • Darcy, I., Dekydtspotter, L., Sprouse, R. A., Scott, J. H.G., Glover, J., McGuire, M., & Kaden, C. (2012) Direct Mapping of Acoustics to Phonology: On the lexical encoding of front round vowels in L1 English-L2 French acquisition. Second Language Research, 28, 1–36.
  • Dekydtspotter, L. (2009) Second Language Epistemology, Take Two. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 31, 291-321.
  • Dekydtspotter, L. & Renaud, C. (2009) On the contrastive analysis of features in second language acquisition: Uninterpretable gender on past participles in English–French processing. Second Language Research, 25, 251–263.
  • Dekydtspotter, L., Donaldson, B. Edmonds, A. C., Liljestrand Fultz, A., & Petrush, R. A. (2008) Syntax and prosodic computations in the resolution of relative clause attachment ambiguity by English-French learners. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 30, 453–480.
  • Dekydtspotter, L. & Hathorn, J. (2005) Quelque chose (...) de remarquable in English-French Acquisition: Mandatory, Informationally Encapsulated Computations in Second Language Interpretation. Second Language Research, 21, 291-323.
  • Dekydtspotter, L. & Outcalt, S. (2005) A Syntactic Bias in Scope Ambiguity Resolution in the Processing of English-French Cardinality Interrogatives: Evidence for Informational Encapsulation. Language Learning, 1, 1-37.
  • Dekydtspotter, L, Sprouse, R. A., & Swanson, K. (2001) Reflexes of the Mental Architecture in Second Language Acquisition: The Interpretation of Discontinuous Combien Extractions in English-French Interlanguage. Language Acquisition, 9, 175-227.
  • Dekydtspotter, L. (2001) The Universal Parser and Interlanguage: Domain-Specific Mental Organization in the Comprehension of Combien Interrogatives in English-French Interlanguage. Second Language Research, 17, 93-145.
  • Dekydtspotter, L & Sprouse, R. A. (2001) Mental Design and (Second) Language Epistemology: Adjectival Restrictions of Wh-Quantifier and Tense in English-French Interlanguage. Second Language Research, 17, 1-35.
  • Dekydtspotter, L., Sprouse, R. A., & Thyre, R. (1999/2000 ) The Interpretation of Quantification at a Distance in English-French Interlanguage: Domain-Specificity and Second Language Acquisition. Language Acquisition, 8, 265-320.
  • Dekydtspotter, L, Sprouse, R. A., & Anderson, B. (1998) Interlanguage A-bar Dependencies: Binding Construals, Null Prepositions and Universal Grammar. 1998. Second Language Research, 14, 341-358.
  • Dekydtspotter, L, Sprouse, R. A., & Anderson, B. (1997) The Interpretive Interface in L2 Acquisition: the Process-Result Distinction in English-French Interlanguage Grammars. Language Acquisition, 6, 297-332.

The learning of second and foreign languages is a rich and fascinating process involving linguistic, psychological, cultural, and social dimensions. The Indiana University Department of Second Language Studies is dedicated to teaching and research on the structure, acquisition, and use of nonnative language in both instructed and contact contexts.