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FALL 2014

Joint SLATE/Linguistics Professional Development Workshop: Job Interviewing and Negotiating

Darren Tanner (Linguistics) and Jill Jegerski (Spanish)

5:15-7:15 pm, Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Lincoln 1000

SLATE Job Search Workshop-Interviewing and negotiating Powerpoint


Laurent Dekydtspotter, Indiana University

4:00-5:00 pm, Monday, November 17, 2014

Lucy Ellis Lounge (FLB)

Second language grammatical development in the processing system: On the parser as language acquisition device

In this paper, I discuss the Universal Grammar (UG) constrained syntactic analysis of second language (L2) input in real-time from the perspective of grammar acquisition. I argue that the parser instantiates L2 grammar acquisition as feature re-assembly (Lardiere 2009) in the Full Transfer/Full Access (FT/FA) model (Schwartz & Sprouse, 1994, 1996) as LAD (P-LAD) (Dekydtspotter & Renaud, 2014). On this view, parsing involves category-based structure generation subject to licensing by a parameterized lexicon. On the P-LAD hypothesis, at any given time, the (L2) grammar corresponds to the set of representations that are accessible to the parser in real time, but the lexical licensing requirement induces immediate changes to the L1-based interlanguage lexicon as new feature matrices for categories and their exponents are entered into the lexical knowledge base of the parser under the licensing requirement. The focus of the talk is on the role of a category-based structure generation in lexical access to the lexicon. I discuss empirical evidence from on-going work pointing towards autonomous category-based computation and its interaction with lexical specification of intransitive verbs (Dekydtspotter & Seo, in progress). Focusing on the acquisition of the definite article systems in languages with grammatical gender systems, I model lexical access determined by category-based computations guided by structure minimization, showing how aspects of development follow naturally. I show how the frequent use of underspecified (“default”) forms in L2 acquisition is straightforwardly expected under this view. I consider the proposal in the light of aspects of the semantics of articles. To finish, I discuss echoes of structure minimization in early L2 development: Morphosyntactic simplicity in early stages used to motivate the Minimal Trees Hypothesis (Vainikka & Young-Scholten, 1994, 1996) seems to reflect structure minimization in category-based structure generation; whereas small changes to the L1-based (functional) lexicon (Sprouse 2006) seems to characterize structure minimization as L1-based representations are changed.


Judith F. Kroll - Pennsylvania State University

4:00pm - 5:00pm, Thursday, May 8th, 2014,

Lucy Ellis Lounge (FLB)

Bilingualism as a tool to investigate the mind and the brain

Until recently, research on language and its cognitive interface focused almost exclusively on monolingual speakers of a single language and typically speakers of English as the native language. In the past decade, the recognition that more of the world’s speakers are bilingual than monolingual has led to a dramatic increase in research that assumes bilingualism as the norm rather than the exception. This new research investigates the way in which bilinguals and second language learners negotiate the presence of two languages in a single mind and brain. A critical insight is that bilingualism provides a tool for examining aspects of the cognitive architecture that are otherwise obscured by the skill associated with native language performance. In this talk, I illustrate this approach to language processing and its neural basis and consider the consequences that bilingualism holds for cognition more generally.


Euridice Bauer -University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Curriculum & Instruction

9:15 am - 10:15 am, Thursday, May 8th, 2014,

Lucy Ellis Lounge (FLB)

Title: Understanding Students with Immigration Backgrounds: A German Case of Students’ Language and Identity in Development

In this paper we propose that teaching/learning is a process that involves world

knowledge, identity, and future construction of oneself. The goal of this qualitative research paper is to document the experiences of 2 fourth-grade students with immigration backgrounds in Germany. Using a poststructuralist approach to language and identity, we analyzed students’ views on learning in the regular classroom and in the German as a Second Language classroom. Findings from the study revealed that students had awareness and a high appreciation of their

multilingual skills. Students clearly understood the implications of having a first language that was not the dominant societal language. Students’ multilingual skills allowed them to recognize differences in their instruction and the future imagined for them by the teacher when they participated in the general literacy classroom versus the German as a Second Language classroom.

Toward the end of my talk I will discuss a new research direction titled, African Americans and Latino Students in Dual Language Classrooms: Opportunities to Develop Literacies and Much More. Details about the project appear below.

This study documents the process involved in the creation and maintenance of a new dual language program in a predominantly African-American elementary school in the Midwest.Research has shown that students placed in good dual language program perform at or near grade level. In some cases, students perform one year ahead of their grade when compared to other students from the same demographic group. African Americans in dual language programs do narrow the achievement gap. However, very little is understood regardingthe process.The goal of this research study is todocumentandunderstand how diverse students in a Spanish/English duallanguage program develop as bilingual, biliterate andbicultural beings and the impact of this process on theiridentity.


Discourse, Social Interaction, and Translation (DSIT) LAB Open House

4:00pm - 5:00pm, Tuesday, April 29th, 2014,



Nuria Sagarra -Rutgers University

4:00pm - 5:00pm, Monday, March 17th, 2014,

Lucy Ellis Lounge (FLB)

Title: Tracking Transfer: The Role of Proficiency and Cognitive Load

Inflected languages can mark semantic information (e.g., tense, number) with lexical cues (e.g., temporal adverbs, overt subjects) and morphological cues (e.g., suffixes) (Evans, 2003). Children use morphological before lexical cues to tense and number (e.g., Valian, 2006), but adult learners have persistent difficulty processing inflectional morphology (e.g., Hopp, 2010). We investigate associative learning explanations that involve the blocking of later experienced cues by earlier learned ones in the first language (L1; i.e., transfer) and the second language (L2; i.e., proficiency), as well as cognitive explanations in terms of cognitive load and resources, in two eye-tracking experiments. In Experiment 1 (Sagarra & Ellis, 2013), English (poor morphology) and Romanian (rich morphology) learners of Spanish (rich morphology) and English, Romanian, and Spanish monolinguals read sentences in L2 Spanish (or their L1 for the monolinguals) containing adverb-verb/verb-adverb congruencies/incongruencies and chose one of four pictures after each sentence (two competing for meaning and two for form). Experiment 2 (Sagarra, forthcoming) replicated Experiment 1 with an additional beginners group and with sentences containing subject-verb congruencies/incongruencies. The results of both experiments revealed that all participants, except the beginning learners, were sensitive to incongruencies. These findings are in line with studies reporting insensitivity to morphosyntactic violations at beginning but not later stages of L2 development (e.g., Sagarra, 2008; Sagarra & Herschensohn, 2010). Most importantly, monolinguals and intermediate and advanced learners of a morphologically rich L1 looked longer at verbs than monolinguals and intermediate and advanced learners of a morphologically poor L1. However, no transfer effects were observed in the beginning learners. We argue that transfer effects emerge at intermediate proficiency levels, when morphological processing is cognitively more assimilable and sensitivity to morphological agreement violations appears. This is in line with Han and Liu’s (2013) recent findings suggesting that transfer requires certain level of L2 knowledge.


Viorica Marian -Northwestern University

4:00pm - 5:00pm, Monday, March 3rd, 2014,

Lucy Ellis Lounge (FLB)

Title: Consequences of bilingualism for language processing and language learning 

A bilingual`s linguistic architecture is highly interactive and dynamic, both within and across languages. In this talk, I will show that knowing two languages changes spoken language comprehension and yields co-activation of lexical items across both languages. Using eye-tracking and mouse-tracking data, I will suggest that bilinguals recruit both bottom-up and top-down mechanisms to efficiently and seamlessly integrate information across modalities when resolving ambiguity during comprehension. Bilinguals` domain-specific experience with cross-linguistic competition shows a relationship to domain-general executive function, suggesting that bilinguals may be particularly adept at inhibiting irrelevant information. One consequence of this greater inhibitory experience is a bilingual advantage in novel language learning. Compared to monolinguals, bilinguals are better at learning a new language and show less competition from the native language when using a newly-learned language. These differences in language processing, language learning, and inhibitory control suggest fundamental changes to linguistic and cognitive function as a result of bilingualism.


SLATE Professional Development Workshop-Getting a Job in SLA

5:00 -7:00 pm ,Wednesday, February 19th, 2014

G 46, Foreign Language Building

Topics covered include:

-Timeline of the job search
-Venues to search for SLATE positions
-Which jobs to apply for
-Application materials (CV, cover letter, research statement, teaching philosophy statement)

Darren Tanner -University of Illinois at Urbana-champaign, Department of Linguistics

4:00pm - 5:00pm, Wednesday, February 5th, 2014,

Lucy Ellis Lounge (FLB)

Title:   A microvolt of learning: Using the brain’s electrical activity as a window on second language learning and processing 

            In recent years there has been enormous growth of scientific interest in how second language (L2) learners process linguistic information in real time. Concomitantly, there has been a growth of interest in studying the neural mechanisms of language processing in L2 learners and bilinguals, as neurolinguistic investigations into L2 learning can inform our basic understanding of how new linguistic information is incorporated into learners’ real-time processing systems, as well as broader questions about learning and neural plasticity in general. One method for understanding the neural dynamics of L2 learning and processing involves recording event-related brain potentials (ERPs). ERPs reflect the brain’s electrical activity associated with processing information in real-time. ERPs provide an exceptionally rich source of information about language processing, as they are direct recordings of neural activity with millisecond-level temporal resolution, they are recorded non-invasively, and provide qualitative measures of how information is processed.

            In this talk, I will provide an introduction to ERPs as they relate to language processing. I will discuss the basics of how ERPs are recorded, what information we can (and can’t) glean from ERPs, as well as research questions that ERPs are particularly well (and poorly) suited for. I will also discuss some major findings on L2 processing from my own research and that of others, which show how ERPs can reveal information about language learning and comprehension that traditional behavioral experimental methods cannot.

FALL 2013

SLATE Job Search Workshop: Interviewing and Negotiating

6:00 -8:00 pm ,Wednesday, December 4th, 2013

G 46, Foreign Language Building

Dual career placement (opens in a new window)

SLATE Job Search Workshop-Interviewing and negotiating (opens in a new window)

Negotation handout (opens in a new window)

Krister Schönström - Stockholm University - Department of Linguistics

4:00pm - 5:00pm, Tuesday, Nov 19, 2013,

Lucy Ellis Lounge (FLB)

Title: Learning a spoken language without hearing it: An L2 approach to the acquisition of Swedish by the deaf

In 2013 Sweden is celebrating the 30th anniversary of bilingual education for deaf children in deaf schools nationwide. This long tradition of bilingual education for the deaf is rather unique worldwide, along with the early recognition of deaf children as bilinguals with sign language (often L1) and Swedish (often L2) as their languages. One of my research specializations concerns the acquisition of written Swedish by deaf children. In my research I have applied different L2 theories to account for deaf bilinguals’ written Swedish outcomes.  In particular, I have been using Processability Theory (Pienemann, 1998) in order to investigate their grammatical development. My results suggest that Swedish deaf children follow an L2 grammatical development pattern as described by Processability Theory. In my talk, I will provide an account of the research on Swedish as a L2 for the deaf, providing a historical overview as well as an overview of recent research.

Judith green -University of California, Santa Barbara

4:00 pm-5:00 pm, Friday, Nov. 8, 2013

Lucy Ellis Lounge (FLB)

Title:Studying learning as a social accomplishment: An interactional Ethnographic Perspective

In this presentation, I present an Interactional Ethnographic approach to studying how opportunities for learning are socially accomplished in and across times, events, and cycles of activity constructed by students with their teacher.  To demonstrate the logic of inquiry guiding this approach, I draw on data from two multi-year ethnographic studies in a 5th grade bilingual class .  By tracing the developing opportunities for learning how to become a social scientist, I make visible principles of data analysis that support exploration of how a bilingual students working with a monolingual student who entered the class after 1 month of school co-constructed an essay and then a presentation to a research meeting led by the teacher.  Through this analysis, I make visible an approach to studying the intertextual nature of a developing class project, and how the two boys, collectively formulated and negotiated situated definitions of what one was supposed to know, do and learn as the members of the class, as they sought to become social scientists (5th grade).