Indiana University

The Department of Second Language Studies


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Research Areas

Faculty in the Department of Second Language Studies represent a number of key research areas, the details of which can be explored on webpages for research labs, research groups, and individual faculty members.

Acquisition of syntax and semantics (L1, L2, and L3 acquisition)

Faculty research with a focus on interpretive semantics in sentence processing is conducted by Laurent Dekydtspotter, in collaboration with students in the Second Language Acquisition and Sentence Processing Lab. Research examining lexical semantics and syntax is conducted by Rex Sprouse and David Stringer, who lead the Syntax and Semantics L2 Research Group. Mike Iverson pursues research on syntax in the contexts of heritage languages and third language acquisition.

Language revitalization

Research on endangered languages and language revitalization is conducted by Phil LeSourd, whose work focuses on Maliseet-Passamaquoddy, an Eastern Algonquian language spoken in New Brunswick (Maliseet) and Maine (Passamaquoddy). Research by David Stringer on biocultural diversity examines the links between language revitalization and biodiversity conservation.

Second language assessment and testing

Research on language assessment is the department is led by Sun-Young-Shin, who examines issues of validity in language assessment tools and explores the extent to which various factors affecting test performance are relevant to and representative of the constructs being measured. The Language Assessment Lab (LAL) serves as the hub of faculty and student research in this area.

Second language pedagogy

Faculty research in this area is conducted by Kathleen Bardovi-Harlig, Debra Friedman, and Yucel Yilmaz. Kathleen Bardovi-Harlig collaborates with students in the Pragmatics Research Group to determine instructional effects on L2 pragmatics. Yucel Yilmaz conducts experimental research investigating the relative effects of different types of instruction (e.g., corrective feedback) on second language development in collaboration with students in the Instructed SLA Lab. Debra Friedman’s work examines language socialization in educational conexts.

Second language phonology

Faculty research in this area is led by Isabelle Darcy, who collaborates with students and other faculty in the Second Language Psycholinguistics Lab. The lab’s research program covers all domains of phonology and how they are acquired and represented in the bilingual mind. Rex Sprouse and Öner Özçelik pursue joint research that examines the role of universal phonological principles in nonnative acquisition.

Second language pragmatics

Research on the development of second language discourse and pragmatics is conducted by Kathleen Bardovi-Harlig, and has inspired numerous collaborative projects by the Pragmatics Research Group investigating speech acts and formulaic sequences.

Second language tense and aspect

Research on the second language development of tense-mood-aspect systems is led by Kathleen Bardovi-Harlig. Her current work expands previous research on tense-aspect to include the expression of the future and modality.

Language socialization

Language socialization research in the department is led by Debra Friedman , who examines the linguistic contexts of novices participating in the valued practices of a community under the guidance of more experienced members. This research encompasses language socialization practices in educational settings in the Ukraine and in the United States.


Faculty in the Department of Second Language Studies have authored a number of books, articles, manuscripts, and other resources, which can be found on their individual webpages.

Research Labs

Explore and learn more about our different research labs by clicking the links below.

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.