Photo of Cabrelli, Jennifer

Jennifer Cabrelli, PhD

Assistant Professor

Hispanic and Italian Studies


Building & Room:

1712 UH

Office Phone:

(312) 996-0925

Office Hours

Office Hours - Fall 2019
Monday 01:45pm – 02:45pm
Wednesday 01:45pm – 02:45pm


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

Edited Volumes

  • Wrembel, M., & Cabrelli Amaro, J. (2018). Investigating the acquisition of phonology in a third language. Routledge Special Issues as Books (SPIB). London: Routledge.
  • Cabrelli Amaro, J., Flynn. S, & Rothman, J. (2012). Third language acquisition in adulthood. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.


Journal Articles

  • Cabrelli Amaro, J., Campos-Dintrans, G., & Rothman, J. (2017). The role of L1 phonology in L2 morphological production: L2 English past tense production by L1 Spanish, Chinese, and Japanese speakers. Advance online publication. Studies in Second Language Acquisition. doi: 10.1017/S0272263117000122
  • Cabrelli Amaro, J. (2017). The role of prosodic structure in L2 Spanish stop lenition. Second Language Research, 33(2), 233-269.
  • Cabrelli Amaro, J. (2017). The role of Portuguese in the study of multilingualism. Hispania,100.
  • Cabrelli Amaro, J. (2016). Testing the Phonological Permeability Hypothesis: L3 phonological effects on L1 versus L2 systems. Advance online publication. International Journal of Bilingualism doi:10.1177/1367006916637287
  • Slabakova, R., Cabrelli Amaro, J., & Kang, S. K. (2016). Regular and novel metonymy: Can you curl up with a good Agatha Christie in your second language? Applied Linguistics, 37, 175-197.
  • Cabrelli Amaro, J., & Wrembel, M. (2016). Advances in the acquisition of third language phonology. Special issue of International Journal of Multilingualism.
  • Slabakova, R., Cabrelli Amaro, J., & Kang, S. K. (2014). Acceptability of regular and novel metonymy in native Korean, Spanish, and English. Metaphor and Symbol, 28(4), 275-293.
  • Cabrelli Amaro, J. (2013). Methodological issues in L3 phonological acquisition research. Studies in Hispanic and Lusophone Linguistics, 6(1), 101-117.
  • Cabrelli Amaro, J. & Rothman, J. (2010). L3 acquisition and phonological permeability: A new test case for debates on the mental representation of non-native phonological systems. International Review of Applied Linguistics in Teaching, IRAL, 48(2/3), 273-294.
  • Rothman, J. & Cabrelli Amaro, J. (2010). What variables condition syntactic transfer?: A look at the L3 initial state.  Second Language Research, 26(2), 189-218.

Book Chapters

  • Cabrelli Amaro, J., & Iverson, M. (in press, 2018). Third language acquisition. In K. Geeslin (Ed.), The handbook of Spanish linguistics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Cabrelli Amaro, J., Iverson, M., Giancaspro, D., & Halloran, B. (in press, 2018). The roles of the L1 and L2 in L3 development. In K. V. Molsing, C. Becker Lopes Perna, & A. M. Tramunt Ibaños (Eds.), Linguistic approaches to Portuguese as an additional language. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
  • Cabrelli Amaro, J. (2017). Regressive transfer in L3 syntactic development. In A. Hahn & T. Angelovska (Eds.), L3 syntactic transfer: Models, new developments and implications (pp. 173-194). Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
  • Cabrelli Amaro, J., Amaro, F., & Rothman, J. (2015). The relationship between L3 transfer and structural similarity across development: The case of raising across an experiencer. In H. Peukert (Ed.), Transfer effects in multilingual language development (pp. 21-52). Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
  • Rothman, J., Cabrelli Amaro, J., & De Bot, K. (2013). Third language acquisition. In J. Herschensohn & M. Young-Scholten (Eds.), The Cambridge handbook of second language acquisition (pp. 372-393). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Cabrelli Amaro, J. (2012). L3 phonology: An understudied domain. In J. Cabrelli Amaro, S. Flynn, & J. Rothman (Eds.), Third language acquisition in adulthood (pp. 33-60). Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
  • Cabrelli Amaro, J., Flynn, S., & Rothman, J. (2012). Third language acquisition in adulthood. In J. Cabrelli Amaro, S. Flynn, & J. Rothman (Eds.), Third language acquisition in adulthood (pp. 1-6). Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
  • Cabrelli Amaro, J., Iverson, M., & Judy, T. (2009). N-drop at the L3 initial state and its relationship to the L2 steady state. In A. Pires & J. Rothman (Eds.), Minimalist inquiries into child and adult language acquisition: Case studies across Portuguese(pp.177-198). Berlin/New York: Mouton de Gruyter.

Publication Aggregators

Professional Leadership

Editor, Issues in Hispanic and Lusophone Linguistics (John Benjamins)

Associate Editor, Linguistic Approaches to Bilingualism (starting 2020)

Associate Editor, Hispania

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