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Photo of Cabrelli, Jennifer

Jennifer Cabrelli, PhD

Associate Professor and Director of Undergraduate Studies (Spanish)

Hispanic and Italian Studies

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers


Building & Room:

1712 UH


601 S. Morgan St.

Office Phone:

(312) 996-0925

Drop-In Hours and Classes - Spring 2022
Tuesday 02:00pm – 03:15pm SPAN 202
03:30pm – 04:45pm SPAN 510
05:00pm – 06:00pm Drop-In Hours
Thursday 12:45pm – 01:45pm Drop-In Hours
02:00pm – 03:15pm SPAN 202
03:30pm – 04:45pm SPAN 510


The foundation of my research program is a phonetically-driven approach to phonological acquisition. The study of phonology relies heavily on phonetic information, both in how it is produced and received, and phonological systems are arranged in great part by variable and gradient phonetic constraints that facilitate ease of articulation and perception. This approach blurs the lines between phonetics and phonology, and recognizes the intrinsic interdependence of the two areas of study. Via laboratory-based experimental paradigms, I use data from acoustic analysis of speech production and from speech perception tests to inform phonological acquisition theory. In addition to non-native acquisition, I am interested in phonological attrition, or the modification of an existing linguistic system, and how acquisition and modification (or lack thereof) might inform ongoing debates on the nature of language and its cognitive representation. While my most recent work reflects my focus on the multilingual acquisition of phonetics and phonology, its implications for theories of non-native language acquisition more generally mirror my interest in multilingualism in its many forms. My range of interests is evident in my publication record and covers the acquisition of phonetics and phonology, syntax, and semantics by learners of Spanish, Portuguese, and English as a first, second, and third (or more) language.

Selected Grants

National Science Foundation, Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement Grant (BCS #1823909). UIC (2018-2020), PI; co-PI Sara Stefanich

National Science Foundation, Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement Grant (BCS #1132289). University of Florida (2011-2013), co-PI; PI Jason Rothman

Selected Publications

Sequeros-Valle, J., Hoot, B., & Cabrelli, J. (2020). L2 Spanish clitic left dislocation: Data from speeded production. Language Acquisition. doi: 10.1080/10489223.2020.1769628

Cabrelli, J., Luque, A., & Finestrat, I. (2019). L1 Brazilian Portuguese phonotactic restructuring as a result of L2 English contact. Journal of Phonetics, 73, 55-69.

Cabrelli, J., & Pichan, C. (2019). Initial phonological transfer in L3 Brazilian Portuguese and Italian. Linguistic Approaches to Bilingualism. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1075/

Cabrelli, J. (2019). Plotting individual trajectories in the acquisition of L2 prosodic constraints. Invited commentary for special Epistemological Topic/Keynote Issue: Prosodic effects on L2 grammars (Authors: Lydia White & Heather Goad). Linguistic Approaches to Bilingualism, 9, 822-826.

Stefanich, S., Cabrelli, J., Hilderman, D., & Archibald, J. (2019). The morphophonology of intraword code-switching: Representation and processing. Frontiers in Communication. doi: 10.3389/fcomm.2019.00054

Cabrelli Amaro, J., Campos-Dintrans, G., & Rothman, J. (2018). The role of L1 phonology in L2 morphological production: L2 English past tense production by L1 Spanish, Chinese, and Japanese speakers. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 40, 503-527.

Cabrelli Amaro, J. (2018). Testing the Phonological Permeability Hypothesis: Differential L3 influence on L1 and L2 phonological systems. International Journal of Bilingualism, 21, 698-717.

Cabrelli Amaro, J. (2017). The impact of Portuguese in the study of third language acquisition (invited contribution to the centenary issue). Hispania, 100(5), 55-62.

Cabrelli Amaro, J. (2017). The role of prosodic structure in L2 Spanish stop lenition. Second Language Research, 33, 233-269.

Cabrelli Amaro, J., & Wrembel, M. Investigating the acquisition of phonology in a third language. International Journal of Multilingualism, 13(4), 395-409.

Publication Aggregators

Professional Leadership

Associate Editor, Linguistic Approaches to Bilingualism

Associate Editor, Hispania

Editor, Issues in Hispanic and Lusophone Linguistics (2014-2019)

Notable Honors

2018-2019, Graduate Mentoring Award, UIC Graduate College

2018-2019, Teaching Recognition Program Award, UIC Office of the Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs

2017-2018, Grant Support Program, UIC Office of Social Science Research


PhD, University of Florida
MA, Middlebury College in Spain
BA, Michigan State University

Research Currently in Progress

  • Cabrelli, J. (expected 2022). A guide to conducting research in third language acquisition. New York: Routledge.
  • Stefanich, S., & Cabrelli, J. Representation of Spanish and English nasals in heritage Spanish: Shared or separate? Submitted to Languages.
  • Sequeros-Valle, J., Hoot, B., & Cabrelli, J. Clitic-doubled left dislocation in heritage Spanish: Judgment versus production data. Submitted to Languages.
  • Cabrelli, J., & Iverson, M. (in preparation). L2 transfer is overcome faster than L1 transfer in L3 morphosyntactic development. To be submitted to International Journal of Bilingualism and Bilingual Education (October 2020).
  • Stefanich, S., & Cabrelli, J. (in preparation). Creating a novel L2 category from an L1 segment sequence: Redeployment of English /n j/ in the acquisition of L2 Spanish /ɲ/. To be submitted to Frontiers in Psychology (November 2020).
  • Cabrelli, J., Pichan, C., Rothman, J., & Serratrice, L. (in preparation). Initial L3 transfer of phonology and morphosyntax by English/heritage Spanish bilinguals learning Italian.
  • Cabrelli, J., Finestrat Martínez, I., & Luque, I. (in preparation). L2 English effects on L1 Brazilian Portuguese phonotactics: Evidence from production data.
  • Snape, N., Cabrelli, J., & Herrera, C. (in preparation). Stability of L2 English accent in Japanese returnees.