Indiana University

The Department of Second Language Studies

Kimberly L. Geeslin

Photo of Kimberly L. Geeslin

Professor, Spanish and Portuguese
Adjunct Associate Professor of Second Language Studies
Associate Vice Provost, Faculty and Academic Affairs
(812) 856-5470
Global and International Studies Building 2176

Research Interests

  • Second Language Acquisition (issues in the acquisition of Spanish by English-speakers)
  • The intersection of sociolinguistics and Second Language Acquisition (language variation and change)


  • Ph.D. 1999, M.A. 1996 University of Arizona
  • M.A. 1995 University of Arizona
  • B.A. 1993 University of New Hampshire

Personal Statement

Kimberly L. Geeslin joined the faculty of Indiana University in the fall of 1999, after receiving an M.A. in Hispanic Linguistics and a Ph.D. in Second Language Acquisition and Teaching (SLAT) from the University of Arizona. In addition to my work with the department of Second Language Studies, I currently serve as the Associate Chair of the Department of Spanish & Portuguese. My research concentrates on the intersection of second language acquisition and sociolinguistics with a particular focus on the second language acquisition of variation in second languages. The basic assumption I make when studying interlanguage development is that an analysis of language use must take into account both the linguistic structural features of a grammar, and the characteristics of the social context in which communication takes place. My recent book Sociolinguistics and Second Language Acquisition: Learning to Use Language in Context (2014, Routledge) explores this issue in depth. Similarly, my earlier book Crossing Disciplinary Boundaries to Improve the Analysis of Second Language Data: A Study of Copula Choice with Adjectives in Spanish (2005, LINCOM Europa) addresses the second language acquisition of copula choice in Spanish by English-speaking learners at different levels of proficiency and shows how the tools from sociolinguistic analyses can be applied to second language data. My other published work advocates a shift from the analysis of errors in obligatory contexts to an analysis of use that does not require a subjective evaluation of accuracy, seeks to incorporate appropriate native-speaker baselines into the research design, and explores the effects of individual characteristics on the second language acquisition of variable structures.

Most recently, I have collaborated with several co-authors to expand our current knowledge of the variationin a range of variables structures in Spanish and the degree to which individual characteristics play a role in the acquisition of these structures. As an extension of this research, I have embarked on a project in which I connect what is known about the second language acquisition of variable structures to language attitudes and language change.

Books and Edited Volumes

  • Geeslin, K. L. (Ed.). (2018). The Cambridge handbook of Spanish linguistics. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. 763 pages.
  • Díaz-Campos, M., Geeslin, K. L., & Gurzynski-Weiss, L. (2018). Lengua en contexto: Introducción y aplicación de la lingüística hispánica. New York, NY: Wiley-Blackwell. 356 pages.
  • Geeslin, K., with Long, A. Y. (2014). Sociolinguistics and Second Language Acquisition: Learning to Use Language in Context. New York, NY: Routledge.
  • Geeslin, K. (Ed.). (2014). The Handbook of Spanish Second Language Acquisition. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell.
  • Geeslin, K., & Díaz-Campos, M. (Eds.). (2012). Selected Proceedings of the 14th Hispanic Linguistics Symposium. Somerville, MA: Cascadilla Press.
  • Guijarro-Fuentes, P., & Geeslin, K. (2008). Language Acquisition, Language Variation and Copula Choice in Spanish. Special volume (11, 3, 273 - 387) of Bilingualism: Language and Congnition. Cambridge University Press.
  • Geeslin, K. (2005). Crossing Disciplinary Boundaries to Improve the Analysis of Second Language Data: A Study of Copula Choice with Adjectives in Spanish. Munich: LINCOM Publishers.
  • Lee, J., Geeslin, K., & Clements, J. C. (Eds.). (2002). Structure, Meaning and Acquisition in Spanish: Selected Papers from the Fourth Hispanic Linguistic Symposium. Somerville, MA: Cascadilla Press.
  • Selected Refereed Articles
  • Geeslin, K. L. (In Press). Sociolinguistic competence in second languages. In H. Mohebbi, & C. Coombe (Eds.), Research questions in language education and applied linguistics. New York, NY: Springer.
  • Kanwit, M., & Geeslin, K. L. (2018). Exploring lexical effects in second language interpretation: The case of mood in Spanish adverbial clauses. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 40, 579-603.
  • Solon, M., Linford, B., & Geeslin, K. L. (2018). Acquisition of sociophonetic variation: Intervocalic /d/ reduction in native and non-native Spanish. Revista Española de Lingüística Aplicada, 31(1), 309-344.
  • Geeslin, K. L. & Garrett, J. (2018). Variationist research methods and the analysis of second language data in the study abroad context. In C. Sanz & A. Morales-Front (Eds.), The Routledge handbook of study abroad research and practice. New York, NY: Routledge.
  • Geeslin, K. L., & Schmidt, L. B. (2018). Study abroad and L2 learner attitudes. In C. Sanz & A. Morales-Front (Eds.), The Routledge handbook of study abroad research and practice. New York, NY: Routledge.
  • Long, A. Y., Shin, S.-Y., Geeslin, K. L., & Willis, E. W. (2018). Does the test work? Evaluating a web-based language placement test. Language Learning & Technology, 22(1), 137-156.
  • Geeslin, K. L. (2018). Variable structures and sociolinguistic variation. In P. A. Malovrh & A. G. Benati (Eds.), The handbook of advanced proficiency in second language acquisition. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell.
  • Geeslin, K. L., Gudmestad, A., Kanwit, M., Linford, B., Long, A. Y., Schmidt, L., & Solon, M. (2018). Sociolinguistic competence and the acquisition of speaking. In R. Alonso (Ed.), Speaking in a second language (pp. 1-25). Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
  • Geeslin, K. L., & Evans-Sago, T. (2018). Contacto entre lenguas y enseñanza del español. In J. Muñoz-Basols, E. Gironzetti & M. Lacorte (Eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Spanish Language Teaching: metodologías, contextos y recursos para la enseñanza del español L2 (pp. 432-446). London and New York: Routledge.
  • Gurzynski-Weiss, L., Geeslin, K. L., Long, A. Y., & Daidone, D. (2017). Linguistic variation in instructor provision of oral input. In L. Gurzynski-Weiss (Ed.), Expanding individual difference research in the interaction approach: Investigating learners, instructors, and researchers (pp. 226-253). Amsterdam, Netherlands: John Benjamins.
  • Geeslin, K. L., & Long, A. Y. (2017). Spanish second language acquisition across the globe: What future research on non-English speaking learners will tell us. Hispania, 100(5), 205-210.
  • Linford, B., Long, A. Y., Solon, M., & Geeslin, K. L. (2016). Measuring lexical frequency: Comparison groups and subject expression in L2 Spanish. In L. Ortega, A. Tyler, M. Uno & H. I. Park (Eds.), The usage-based study of language learning and multilingualism (pp. 137-154). Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press.
  • Geeslin, K., & Gudmestad, A. (2016). Native and non-native subject form expression in Spanish: a look at the first and second person. Spanish in Context, 13(1), 53-79.
  • Kanwit, M., Geeslin, K., & Fafulas, S. (2015). The role of geography in the SLA of variable structures: A look at the present perfect, the copula contrast, and the present progressive in Mexico and Spain. Probus, 27(2), 307-348.
  • Geeslin, K., Linford, B., & Fafulas, S. (2015). Variable subject expression in second language Spanish? Uncovering the developmental sequence and predictive linguistic factors. In A. Carvalho, R. Orozco, & N. Shin (Eds.), Subject pronoun expression in Spanish: A cross-dialectal perspective.Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press.
  • Geeslin, K., & Long, A. (2015). Adquisición del español como segunda lengua: fonología. In J. Gutiérrez-Rexach (Ed.), Enciclopedia de lingüística hispánica. New York: Routledge.
  • Kanwit, M., & Geeslin, K. (2014). The interpretation of the Spanish subjunctive in adverbial clauses: A cross-sectional study. Studies in Second Language Acquisition 36(3).
  • Gudmestad, A., House, L., & Geeslin, K. (2013). What a Bayesian Analysis can do for the sociolinguistic study of subject expression in second-language Spanish. Language Learning, 63(1), 371-399.
  • Geeslin, K. L. (2013). Future directions in the acquisition of variable structures: The role of individual lexical items in second language Spanish. In C. Howe, M. Lubbers & S. Blackwell (Eds.), Selected Proceedings of the 15th Hispanic Linguistics Symposium, pp. 187-204. Somerville, MA: Cascadilla Press.
  • Geeslin, K. L., Fafulas, S., & Kanwit, M. (2013). Acquiring geographically-variable norms of use: The case of the present perfect in Mexico and Spain. In C. Howe, M. Lubbers & S. Blackwell (Eds.), Selected Proceedings of the 15th Hispanic Linguistics Symposium, pp. 205-220. Somerville, MA: Cascadilla Press.
  • Gudmestad, A., & Geeslin, K. (2013). Second-language development of variable future-time expression in Spanish. In A. Carvahlo & S. Beaudrie (Eds.), Refereed Proceedings of the 6th International Workshop on Spanish Sociolinguistics, pp. 63-75. Somerville, MA; Cascadilla Press.
  • Geeslin, K., & Fafulas, S. (2012). Variation of the Simple Present and Present Progressive Forms: A Comparison of Native and Non-native Speakers. Refereed Proceedings for the Hispanic Linguistics Symposium, Somerville, MA: Cascadilla Press.
  • Geeslin, K. (2011).Variation in L2 Spanish: The state of the discipline. Studies in Hispanic and Lusophone Linguistics 4(2), 461-517.
  • Geeslin, K. (2011). The acquisition of variation in second language Spanish: How to identify and catch a moving target. In M. Díaz-Campos (Ed.), Handbook of Spanish Sociolinguistics, pp. 303-320. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell.
  • Geeslin, K., & Gudmestad, A. (2011). The Acquisition of variation in second-language Spanish: An agenda for integrating studies of the L2 sound system. Journal of Applied Linguistics 5 (2), 137-157.
  • Geeslin, K., & Gudmestad, A. (2011). Using Sociolinguistic Analyses of Discourse-Level Features to Expand Research on L2 Variation: Native and Non-Native Contrasts in Forms of Spanish Subject Expression. In L. Plonsky and M. Schierloh (Eds.), Selected Proceedings of the 2009 Second Language Research Forum: Diverse Contributions to SLA, pp. 16-30. Somerville, MA: Cascadilla Press.
  • Gudmestad, A., & Geeslin, K. (2011). Assessing the Use of Multiple Forms in Variable Contexts: The Relationship between Linguistic Factors and Future-Time Reference in Spanish. Studies in Hispanic and Lusophone Linguistics4(1), 3-34.
  • Diaz-Campos, M., & Geeslin, K. (2011). Copula Use in the Spanish of Venezuela: Social and Linguistic Sources of Variation Spanish. Spanish in Context, 8(1), 73-94.
  • Geeslin, K. (2010). Beyond “naturalistic”: On the role of task characteristics and the importance of multiple elicitation methods. Studies in Hispanic and Lusophone Linguistics, 3(2), 501-520.
  • Geeslin, K., & Gudmestad, A. (2010). An exploration of the range and frequency of occurrence of forms in potentially-variable structures in second language Spanish. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 32, 3, 433-463.
  • Henriksen, N., Geeslin, K., & Willis, E. (2010). The Development of L2 Spanish Intonation During a Study Abroad Immersion Program in León, Spain: Global Contours and Final Boundary Movements. Studies in Hispanic and Lusophone Linguistics 3(1), 113-162.
  • Geeslin, K., & Guijarro-Fuentes, P. (2008). Variation in Contemporary Spanish: Linguistic Predictors of Estar in four Cases of Language Contact. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 11, 3, 365-380.
  • Geeslin, K., & Guijarro-Fuentes, P. (2007). The SLA of Variable Structures: Analyzing Obligatory and Variable Contexts. ITL: International Journal of Applied Linguistics, 153, 25-51.
  • Geeslin, K. & Guijarro-Fuentes, P. (2006). The Second Language Acquisition of Variable Structures in Spanish by Portuguese Speakers. Language Learning56 (1), 53-107.
  • Guijarro-Fuentes, P., & Geeslin, K. (2006). Copula choice in the Spanish of Galicia: The effects of bilingualism on language use. Spanish in Context, 3(1).
  • Geeslin, K. (2003). A comparison of copula choice in advanced and native Spanish. Language Learning, 53, 4, 703-764.
  • Geeslin, K. (2002). The second language acquisition of copula choice and its relationship to language change. Studies in Second Language Acquisition 24, (3), 419-451.
  • Geeslin, K. (2002). Semantic transparency as a predictor of copula choice in second language acquisition.  Linguistics: An Interdisciplinary Journal of the Language Sciences, 40 (2), 439-468.
  • Geeslin, K. (2001). Changing norms, moving targets and the SLA of copula choice.  Spanish Applied Linguistics, 5 (1-2), 29-55.

Courses Taught

  • The Second Language Acquisition of Linguistic Variation
  • Introduction to the Second Language Acquisition of Spanish
  • Sociolinguistics for Language Teachers
  • Linguistic Theories and the Second Language Acquisition of Spanish
  • The Second Language Acquisition of Spanish phonology
  • Methods of Teaching College Spanish

Honors and Awards

  • College of Arts and Sciences, David and Cheryl Morley Career Distinguished Teaching Award (2019)
  • College Arts & Humanities Institute, grant to support roundtable speakers at Current Approaches to Spanish and Portuguese Second Language Phonology (CASPSLaP), Fall 2017
  • Faculty Research Support Program – Seed Funding, grant to support project on “Psycholinguistic processing of variable structures in second language Spanish,” Fall 2015
  • Indiana University Trustee’s Teaching Award (2001-2002, 2007-2008, 2011-2012)
  • Department of Spanish & Portuguese, GSAC Outstanding Mentor Award, 2006, 2012
  • Indiana University FACET Award, 2005

Current Research Projects

  • The second language acquisition of geographically-indexed variants (e.g. leísmo, interdental fricative) in a study abroad setting [collaborative projects with Dr. Manuel Díaz-Campos, Sephen Fafulas, Bret Linford, and Avizia Yim Long].
  • A comparative study of advanced non-native speaker use of variable structures in Spanish (e.g., future and past time reference, copula contrast, mood use and subject expression) [collaborative project with Dr. Aames Gudmestad].
  • A study of the relationship between first language background and the second language acquisition of Spanish [collaborative project with Avizia Yim Long].
  • An investigation of the characteristics of classroom learner-directed input and the second language acquisition of variable structures in Spanish [collaborative project with Dr. Laura Gurzynski-Weiss].

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.