The Bilingualism Research Laboratory focuses on the underlying linguistic mechanisms of bilingual phenomena such as code-switching, blending and borrowing, as well as specific issues that arise in the grammars of heritage speakers and in acquisition. We are interested in gaining an understanding of bilingualism for its own sake as well as in deploying the data arising in contact situations to test theoretical hypotheses regarding the human faculty of language. We also have an active research agenda that focuses on methodological matters in linguistic research. Our facility is fully equipped for in-lab or field research.
Some of the research questions that we are actively investigating now are:
- gender assignment in heritage Spanish; in particular, the role of context of acquisition.
- gender agreement in bilingual code-switching. Currently we are looking at Spanish/Basque and Spanish/English bilinguals and developing analyses of agreement when one of the two languages does not have grammatical gender.
- phonetic realization of code-switched structures; this includes work on intra-word code-switching.
- mechanisms that determine word order in code-switching structures, with special focus on the relative positions of attributive adjectives and nouns.
- dislocations, focus fronting, clefts and other points of syntax-pragmatics-prosody interface, in both monolingual and heritage Spanish.
- C(omplementizer)-trace effects in code-switching contexts involving a language that does not have C-trace effects (Spanish) and a language that does (English). C-trace effects in heritage Spanish.
- subject variables that may affect experimental results, including attitude.
- data presentation modes that may affect experimental results, in particular the audio/visual mode.
- linguistic proficiency and language dominance
But there is a lot more. Please click on the people tab and check on the individual boxes to find out what we are up to.
Our investigations are driven by intellectual interest but not exclusively: our findings should eventually have an impact outside of the lab: Research on bilingualism should ground rational linguistic policies, effective speech therapies and approaches to the teaching of second languages to children and adults.
We accept new students, graduate and undergraduate who want to work in our lab. We promise you will enjoy the exhilaration of being involved in cutting-edge research that is relevant to people’s lives.