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
Ballantine Hall 730

Research Interests

  • Psycholinguistics: behavioral (judgments, reading times, reaction times, etc.) and brain (electroencephalography) 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., Miller, A. K., Iverson, M., Xiong, Y., Swanson, K. & Gilbert, C. (2021). Minimal brain adaptation for representational prioritization in non-native parsing: Evidence from a time-frequency analysis of recursion in wh-dependencies in French. Journal of Neurolinguistics, 59. doi: 10.1016/j.jneuroling.2021.101002 
  • Xiong, Y., Dekydtspotter, L. & Newman, S. (2019) When Embeddedness Matters: Electrophysiological Evidence for the Role of Head Noun Position in Chinese Relative Clause Processing. Journal of Neurolinguistics, 51, 236-257. 
  • Dekydtspotter, L. & Gilbert, S. (2019) When nonnative speakers show distinction: Syntax and task interactions in long-distance anaphoric dependencies in French. In Deborah Arteaga (ed.), (pp. 68-92). L2 Grammatical Representation and Processing: Theory and Practice.Blue Ridge Summit, PA.Multilingual Matters. 
  • Dekydtspotter, L., Miller, K., Gilbert, C., Iverson, M., Leal, Tania, & Swanson, K., (2019) An Electrophysiological Investigation of Domain-Specific Procedures in (Nonnative) French. In Hope Wilson, Nicole King, Eun Jeong Park, and Kirby Childress (eds.) (pp. 48-61) Selected Proceedings of the 2017 Second Language Research Forum, Somerville, MA: Cascadilla Press. 
  • Dekydtspotter, L. Black, M., Frimu, R. & Panwitz, A. (2018) Animacy-based processing loads in anaphora resolution in (non-native) French Evidence for privileged interface representations. In Jacee Cho, Michael Iverson, Tiffany Judy, Tania Leal and Elena Shimanskaya (eds.), (pp. 95-119). Meaning and Structure in Second Language Acquisition. In honor of Roumyana Slabakova.John Benjamins Publishing Company. 
  • 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.
  • Rodica Frimu & Laurent Dekydtspotter. (2021) On feature-based vocabulary selection mechanisms in late insertion: third person number agreement in the French future tense. Glossa: a journal of general linguistics 6(1): 121, pp. 1–31. DOI: