Psycholinguistics Lab

"Our new Psycholinguistics Lab focuses on understanding how native and non-native speakers produce and comprehend language. We do this by running a number of different experiments at the lab's workstations that measure in milliseconds the length of time it takes subjects to make decisions as they navigate through language tasks word-by-word. We also track people's eye movement patterns as they read to see how they process text." — Dr. Jeffrey Witzel (associate professor)

ESL/EFL Training

"The Department's TESOL program offers training to prospective ESL/EFL teachers at both certificate and master's degree levels. We acquire theoretical skills in the classroom and are immediately able to exercise them through service learning opportunities in the community. The program produces students who are well-rounded and classroom ready." — Sean Cooper (MA TESOL graduate)


"Some linguists gather and analyze collections of texts to reveal the real language use of speakers at particular points in time. Today linguists examine not just newspapers and novels, but also text messages, IM chat, online forums, and Twitter conversations.It's often helpful to collect samples from areas that you are interested in studying: specific points in time (the 18th century, the 1970's), certain genres (newspaper horoscopes, comedy routines, health brochures, gothic novels), or certain types of speakers (bilinguals, language learners, young children). Our department's scholars are looking at corpus materials from these genres in English, as well as materials from specific languages like Jarai, Tuvan, Korean, Tohono O'odham, and Tagalog. Come see what features of a language you can discover using tools to sort through these language samples!" — Dr. Laurel Smith Stvan (associate professor)

Speech Sounds Lab

"In the Speech Sounds Lab, we focus on learning more about patterns that arise in speech sounds, both within and across languages. We investigate the production and perception of the sounds of speech, especially in relation to second language acquisition. In production, we look at how articulation and acoustics may differ in different phonological environments, or in different groups of speakers, and in perception, we question what factors are most important in efficient perception, and how first language phonology affects the perception of a second language. We also work toward determining effective instructional methods, and learning more about how phonology and phonetics interface with other domains of speech." — Dr. Cynthia Kilpatrick (assistant professor of instruction/director of the English Language Institute)

language documentation and description

"I was attracted here by the department's long history of training linguists to do language documentation and description, both in the field setting and locally with language consultants. We are encouraged not only to gather original data from native speakers but also to give back to the communities that we are learning from." — Joshua Jensen (phd candidate)


"Our department's commitment to psycholinguistic research and to language documentation and description is further strengthened by research in theoretical syntax. The primary goal of syntactic theory is to develop a precise theory of the structure of sentences. Syntactic research in our department also places a particularly strong emphasis on investigating interactions of syntactic structure with other aspects of language ability including but not limited to morphology, semantics, prosody, and sentence production and comprehension. We also emphasize analytical depth and investigation of understudied languages. Current research includes work on Austronesian and West African languages." — Dr. Joseph Sabbagh (associate professor)