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. Our facility is fully equipped for in-lab or field research.

Some of the research questions that we are actively investigating now are:

  • The role of phonetics and externalization systems in restricting bilingual production.
  • The expression of information structure in monolingual, heritage and L2 grammars.
  • The maintenance of idiomatic meanings in code-switching.
  • Scope of quantifiers in code-switching.
  • Subject positions in code-switching.

In collaboration with Liliana Sánchez and the Bilingualism and Language Contact Lab at UIC:

  • Clitic doubling in Heritage Spanish.

In collaboration with Carmen Parafita Couto and the Heritage Language Center in Leiden:

  • Bare nouns in Dutch-Papiamentu code-switching.
  • Testing the hypotheses of the Matrix Language Frame in the context of insertionist N and NP code-switching.

The following are some recent 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