Ballantine Hall 710
Zoom-based office hours: by appointment
I am probably best known in the field of non-native language acquisition for my three-decade collaboration work with Professor Bonnie D. Schwartz of the University of Hawai‘i. Together we proposed the Full Transfer/Full Access model, which continues to be influential in formal approaches to non-native language acquisition. Prof. Schwartz and I have also published papers on the centrality of the poverty of the stimulus for evaluating evidence for the claim that adult non-native language acquisition is guided and restricted by the principles of Universal Grammar. I am also interested in investigating the role of principles of Universal Grammar in the acquisition of non-native phonology. In joint work with Professor Öner Özçelik of Indiana University, I have examined the acquisition “non-canonical” vowel harmony in English-Turkish interlanguage.
In the last couple of years, I have also turned my attention to models of third language acquisition. This has led to critical overviews of recent research co-authored with Professor Schwartz, as well as empirical investigations with students at Indiana University in my third language acquisition lab. Research questions here include the role of previously acquired languages, methodological issues, and the extent to which the acquisition of a third language can exert “backward transfer” effects on a learner’s L2 interlanguage grammar.
Beyond the field of nonnative language acquisition, I maintain interest in general linguistic theory (both syntax and phonology) and in comparative and diachronic morpho-syntax and phonology, with a special focus on the languages of Western Europe (Germanic, Romance, Celtic) and the Turkic languages. Current projects include investigation of nominal phrases (DPs/NPs) in Germanic and Turkic languages and exploration of how shifts in mainstream syntactic theories have impacted on generative nonnative language acquisition research.
My contributions to the teaching mission of the Second Language Studies Department are rooted in my publication record in the empirical and conceptual foundations of models of non-native language acquisition (including third language acquisition), my research and general interests in comparative and diachronic linguistics (especially morpho-syntax and the syntax-semantics interface, but also phonology), and my familiarity with the history and culture of the United States and Europe. I regularly teach graduate courses on non-native language acquisition, linguistic typology, and (on loan to the Department of Linguistics) historical linguistics, while my undergraduate teaching is primarily focused on a course introducing international students to “the American experience.”
In mid-February 2021, I accepted an invitation to become an Associate Editor for the journal Language Acquisition. I recognize that this appointment will be a new challenge, but I am also very excited about what I will learn. My hope is that this opportunity for service to the profession will also equip me to be a better resource and mentor for Second Language Studies Department students.