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L2 Pedagogy

Second Language Pedagogy

Second language (L2) pedagogy is situated within the field of Applied Linguistics and draws on research in second language acquisition (SLA) and different disciplines within the field of linguistics, such as sociolinguistics, phonology, and syntax, as well as disciplines outside of linguistics, such as cognitive science, education, sociology, and psychology. Scholars with an interest in L2 pedagogy investigate internal and external factors that play a role in the acquisition of second languages, including age of acquisition, first language backgrounds, motivation, instructional settings and practices, and societal issues, all of which have implications for the teaching of second languages and second language teacher education.

Learn more about the Department of Linguistics BA, MA and PhD programs and the TESOL certificate for undergraduate and graduate students.

Learn more about “Study of L2 Phonology” in the Department of Linguistics.


Faculty in the Department of Linguistics with an interest in L2 Pedagogy conduct research on curriculum design, dual immersion education, L2 literacy, L2 testing, teacher cognition and second language teacher education (SLTE).

MaryAnn Christison

Faculty Profile|Curriculum Vitae

My research draws on a wide range of theoretical and methodological approaches from various disciplines to understand the role that language plays in society. My aim is to develop a knowledge base about language, its users, and uses and to explore its biological bases. My current research interests focus on the following: curriculum design, particularly content and language-integrated learning; online language teacher education (OLTE); teacher and learner cognition; leadership in language education; and language and the brain. I have targeted my research and publishing priorities to reflect these interests


Adrian Palmer

Faculty Profile

My interests include software for language test design and development, multi-media digital formats for language testing textbooks, and language learning in real-world and language instructional environments.

Johanna Watzinger-Tharp

Faculty Profile | Curriculum Vitae

My research focuses on two related areas: Dual language immersion and L2 teacher education. Currently, I am investigating the effects of dual language immersion on the academic achievement of Utah public school students, including English Learners. This collaborative project is funded by a researcher-practitioner partnership grant from the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) in the U.S. Department of Education. I am also interested in individual and societal multilingualism, the role of language study in education and society, articulation of pedagogy and research across educational levels, and linking research to advocacy. 

 At the University of Utah, L2 Pedagogy and SLA researchers are also housed in the Department of World Languages and Cultures (Tanya Flores) and the Second Language Teaching & Research Center  (Jane Hacking, Fernando Rubio).

Scott Jarvis

Faculty Profile | Curriculum Vitae

My research deals mainly with second language acquisition, and more specifically with crosslinguistic influence and lexical diversity. In the domain of crosslinguistic influence, I currently investigate the effects of crosslinguistic similarity on the acquisition of words and grammatical constructions, and I also investigate the ways in which conceptual meanings and patterns of cognition acquired as a speaker of one language carry over into the use of another language. In the domain of lexical diversity, I investigate how people perceive lexical diversity, whether human judgments of lexical diversity can be modeled accurately with a combination of objective measures of spoken and written texts, and whether these models and measures of lexical diversity are useful indicators of language ability, language learning, and language attrition.

Fernando Rubio

Faculty Profile | Curriculum Vitae

My research interests include foreign language teaching methodology, second language acquisition, language proficiency assessment and computer-assisted language learning. I have been lucky to be able to combine these different areas into a cohesive program of research that both informs and is informed by my teaching. The primary goal of my research is to understand the interaction between learning context and second language acquisition; my current research and publishing encompasses three main strands: (1) technology-enhanced language learning, (2) assessment of language proficiency, and (3) learning analytics.

Jane Hacking

Faculty Profile

My research is concentrated in two areas: 1) the acquisition of novel sound contrasts by second language learners, and 2) the effect of learner characteristics and learning contexts on the development of second language proficiency. Recent publications examine the acquisition of the Russian palatalization contrast by American English-speaking leaners, the acquisition of Russian lexical stress, and the relationship between vocabulary knowledge and reading proficiency in college learners of Chinese, Russian and Spanish.


Last Updated: 5/25/21