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Meet the Faculty

Here is a list of the current regular faculty in the Department of Linguistics at the University of Utah. For the purpose of informing our students about research opportunities in the Department, each faculty member has provided a statement of research interests and a brief list of representative projects/publications.

Assistant Professor
PhD, University of Maryland, 2013

My research examines the role of existing phonological knowledge in the representation and processing of nonnative input. It combines insight from phonological theory, psycholinguistics and neurolinguistics in order to better understand the nature and persistence of cross-language influence in speech perception and the acquisition of an L2 sound system.

Barrios, S., Namyst, A., Lau, E., Feldman, N., & Idsardi, W. (2016). Establishing new mappings between familiar phones: Neural and behavioral evidence for early automatic processing of nonnative contrasts. Frontiers in Psychology 7:995. DOI: 10.3389/fpsyg.2016.00995

Barrios, S., Jiang, N., & Idsardi, W. (forthcoming). Similarity in L2 Phonology: Evidence from L1 Spanish late-learners’ perception and lexical representation of English vowel contrasts. Second Language Research. February 18, 2016. DOI: 10.1177/0267658316630784

Chow, W.Y., Lago, S., Barrios, S., Parker, D., Morini, G., & Lau, E. (2014). Additive effects of repetition and predictability during comprehension: Evidence from event-related potentials. PLoS ONE 9(6): e99199. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0099199.

Durham, K., Hayes-Harb, R., Barrios, S., & Showalter, C. (2016). The influence of various visual input types on L2 learners’ memory for the phonological forms of newly-learned words. In J. Levis, H. Le., I. Lucic, E. Simpson, & S. Vo (Eds). Proceedings of the 7th Pronunciation in Second Language Learning and Teaching Conference, ISSN 2380-9566, Dallas, TX, October 2015 (pp. 98-107). Ames, IA: Iowa State University.

Barrios, S. (forthcoming). Interlanguage Phonology. In J. Liontas (Ed). TESOL Encyclopedia of English Language Teaching. John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

 MaryAnn Christison

PhD, University of Utah, 1987

I am a cognitive applied linguist with interests in many different areas of linguistics. Most recently my research interests have been in the areas neurolinguistics, L2 pedagogy, L2 teacher education, classroom-based research, and online learning. The graduate students with whom I work are pursuing many different types of research projects.

Christison, M. A. (2014). Learning to teach languages: A basic methods book for TESOL. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press.

Christison, M. A., & Murray, D. E. (2014). What English language teachers need to know Volume III: Designing Curriculum. New York, NY: Routledge/Taylor & Francis.

Christison, M. A., & Stoller, F. L. (2013). A handbook for language program administrators. Miami, FL: Alta Book Publishers.

Murray, D. E., & Christison, M. A. (2011). What English language teachers need to know Volume II: Facilitating learning. New York, NY: Routledge/Taylor & Francis.

Assistant Professor
PhD, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2005

I am interested in issues related to syntax and its interfaces with the lexicon, semantics and phonology. Current projects address properties of lexical items (e.g. the words read, paper) and their properties when they appear in complex structures such as the sentence He read the paper/papers; the two objects correlate with very different properties.

Csirmaz, A. 2014. Partititive and pseudopartitive structures in durative adverbials. The Linguisitic Review 31:1, pp 1-39

Csirmaz, A and M. Stavrou. Under revision. Measure phrases. To appear in Syntax Companion 2, eds. H. van Riemsdijk and M. B. H. Everaert.

Csirmaz, A. and E. Dekany. Under revision. Variation in telicity is not an implicature. Natural Language and Linguistic Theory.

Csirmaz, A. 2012. Durative adverbials and homogeneity requirements. Lingua 122:10, pp 1112-1133.

Patricia Hanna

PhD, University of Cincinnatti, 1972

I work on philosophy of language and the theoretical foundations of linguistics.  My current work focuses on the Nature/Nurture debate as it relates to the Innateness Hypothesis/UG, and on the concept of explanation and its role in scientific methodology.  I will be happy to do directed readings on these issues.

“Language without Meaning: The Limits of Biolinguistics”, in Reality and Culture: Essays on the Philosophy of Bernard Harrison, Amsterdam: Rodopi Press, 2014.

“Why there is no such thing as language: Chomsky's Mistake”, in An Anthology of Philosophical Studies, V, 2011

“The Limits of Relativism in the Later Wittgenstein” (with Bernard Harrison), in The Blackwell Companion to Relativism, S. Hales, ed., 2011

“Beyond the Delivery Problem”, Philosohia, 38:2, 2010

“The Chomskyan Revolution: A Category Mistake?”, in An Anthology of Philosophical Studies, vol .II, 2009

“Chomsky's Mentalism: How Private is Private?”, in An Anthology of Philosophical Studies, vol . I, 2008

Rachel Hayes-Harb

Associate Professor
PhD, University of Arizona, 2003

I study the acquisition of second languages—specifically, their sound systems—by adults. In the Speech Acquisition Lab, graduate and undergraduate students conduct collaborative studies of a variety of phenomena, including the perception and production of novel phonological contrasts, acquisition of the phonological forms of L2 words, and accented speech.

Hayes-Harb, R., & H.-w. Cheng. 2016. The influence of the Pinyin and Zhuyin writing systems on the acquisition of Mandarin word forms by native English speakers. Frontiers in Psychology, 7. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2016.00785 Stimuli and instruments available on IRIS.

Showalter, C. & R. Hayes-Harb. In press. Native English speakers learning Arabic: The influence of novel orthographic information on second language phonological acquisition. Applied Psycholinguistics.Hayes-Harb, R. 2014. Acoustic-phonetic parameters in the perception of accent. In A. Moyer & J. Levis, eds. Social Influences in L2 Pronunciation. DeGruyter Mouton. [Showalter was our MA student]

Showalter, C. & R. Hayes-Harb. 2013. Unfamiliar orthographic information and second language word learning: A novel lexicon study. Second Language Research 29, 2,54-69. [Showalter was our MA student]

Hayes-Harb, R. & J. Watzinger-Tharp. 2012. Accent, intelligibility, and the role of the listener: Perceptions of English-accented German by native German speakers. Foreign Language Annals 45, 260–282.

Hayes-Harb, R. 2012. Comparative phonetics and phonology. The Encyclopedia of Applied Linguistics, ed. Chapelle, C.A. Oxford, UK: Wiley-Blackwell.

Aaron Kaplan

Assistant Professor
PhD, University of California, Santa Cruz, 2008

I am interested in theoretical phonology and examine data (from any language) that has consequences for current debates in this field. I have collaborated with graduate students on experimental, theoretical, and corpus-based research; I am always excited to find collaborators whose interests overlap with mine or whose expertise complements mine.

Bayles, A., Kaplan, A., and Kaplan, A. to appear. Intraspeaker Variation in French Schwa Deletion. [Bayles is an MA student.]

McCarvel, M. and Kaplan, A. in prep. Positional Faithfulness in Harmonic Grammar. [McCarvel is a PhD student.]

Kaplan, A. 2015. Maximal Prominence and a Theory of Possible Licensors. Natural Language & Linguistic Theory 33.4, 1235-1270.

Kaplan, A. 2011. Variation through Markedness Suppression. Phonology 28.3, 331-370.

Kaplan, A. 2011. Harmonic Improvement without Candidate Chains in Chamorro. Linguistic Inquiry 42.4, 631-650.

 Adrian Palmer

Associate Professor 
PhD, University of Michigan, 1971

My primary, long-term academic focus has been in the justification, design, development, and use of language assessments and, more recently, in designing software to facilitate this process. I am also interested in second language teaching and development both in language classrooms and in real-world environments.

Bachman, L.F. & Palmer, A.S. (1996). Language Testing in Practice: Designing and Developing Useful Language Tests. Oxford UK: Oxford Univ. Press. Winner of the 1997 Modern Language Association’s Kenneth W. Mildenberger Prize for an outstanding research publication in the field of teaching foreign languages and literature.

Bachman, L.F. & Palmer, A.S. (2010) Language Assessment in Practice: Developing Language Assessments and Justifying their Use in the Real World. Oxford UK: Oxford Univ. Press. Winner of the 2012 SAGE/ILTA Award for Best Book on Language Testing (2009-2012)

Purpura, J. E., & Christison, M. A. (2016). A lifetime of language testing: An interview with Adrian (Buzz) Palmer. Language Assessment Quarterly. 13(2), 142-155.  London, UK: Taylor & Francis Group.

Palmer, A. S. & Dixon, D. H (2016). Test-ifize: Software for Language Assessment Design and Instruction. Published on the website, June 17, 2016.

Associate Professor
PhD, Cornell University, 1994

My research focuses on syntax and its interfaces, especially Modifiers, Case, Functional Categories, Syntactic underpinning of morphological factors, the nature and role of syntactic features, etc. My current project deals with features more generally. I often work with co-authors and welcome finding shared interests to work on with students.

Benjamin Slade

Assistant Professor
PhD, University of Illinois at Urbana/Champaign, 2011

My research focuses on formal and historical aspects of linguistics, especially semantics and syntax. Language interests include Indo-Aryan languages (Sanskrit, Nepali, Sinhala, etc.). Current research projects include studies of epistemic indefinites, the morphology of Rastafari English, and rise and spread of morphological & orthographic innovations in the cyberpunk subculture.

Chen, S.-F. & B. Slade, (eds.). Forthcoming. Grammatica et verba / Glamour and verve — Studies in South Asian, Historical, and Indo-European Linguistics: A Festschrift in Honor of Professor Hans Henrich Hock. Beech Stave Press.

Slade, B. To appear. A short history of English epistemic indefinites. In Epistemic indefinites, eds. Alonso-Ovalle & Menéndez-Benito. OUP.

Slade, B. To appear. The diachrony of light and auxiliary verbs in Indo-Aryan. Diachronica.

Slade, B. 2013. Overstanding Idren: Special Features of Rastafari English Morphology. 2nd Rastafari Studies Conference, University of the West Indies, Mona Campus, Jamaica.

Slade, B. 2013. Some epistemic indefinites in Sinhala”, FASAL3, University of Southern California.

Steven Sternfeld

Associate Professor
Associate Professor
PhD, University of Texas at Austin, 1990

I am an applied linguist by training with a specialization in L2 methodology and sociolinguistics. My current research focuses on dual language immersion and the articulation of language curricula and pedagogy across the educational spectrum. I am also interested in international and foreign language policy, and linking research to advocacy.

Watzinger-Tharp, J. & P. Urlaub, eds. To appear. 2016. The Interconnected  Curriculum: Critical Transitions and Interfaces in Articulated K-16 Contexts. Boston: Heinle & Heinle.

Watzinger-Tharp, J., Swenson, K. & Mayne, Z. Under review. The Academic Achievement of Utah Dual Language Immersion Students. The International Journal of Bilingualism and Bilingual Education.

Watzinger-Tharp, J. Are Global, International, Area, and Foreign Language Studies Connected? 2014. Transforming the Foreign Language Curriculum.

Hayes-Harb, R. & J. Watzinger-Tharp. 2012. Accent, Intelligibility, and the Role of the Listener: Perceptions of English-accented German by Native German Speakers. Foreign Language Annals.

Watzinger-Tharp, J. In progress. Variation in German: A Handbook for Learners and Teachers of German.


Last Updated: 8/19/16