The Bilingualism Research Laboratory focuses on the underlying linguistic mechanisms of bilingual phenomena, such as quantifier interpretation, 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. Our facility is fully equipped for in-lab or field research.

Current lab project:

This study’s overall objective is to further explore bilingual speakers’ grammar by investigating the possible effects of age, language use, and exposure among bilingual adults (18+). The main goal is to find whether these factors may affect the development and maintenance of critical aspects of their grammar involved in logical reasoning, such as the distributive and collective interpretations of universal quantifiers, such as every and all the. The question we have in mind is: do the age, language use, and exposure of bilingual speakers to each of the languages affect the accuracy and timing in the interpretation of quantifiers compared to monolinguals. The study carries out a series of online questionnaires and tasks to assess linguistic background, language proficiency, dominance, and an experimental task to assess the subject’s interpretation of quantifiers. Results will then be analyzed to determine whether the factors mentioned previously affect the interpretation of quantifiers, in particular whether there are cross-linguistic effects in the collective and distributive interpretation of quantifiers. Understanding this critical aspect of bilingual grammars may provide essential information to programs about this population’s logical reasoning to further develop appropriate pedagogy.

Some previous projects (for more details, see the publications page):

  • Gender assignment in heritage Spanish; in particular, the role of context of acquisition.
  • Gender agreement in bilingual code-switching.
  • 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.
  • 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