My research focuses on the second language acquisition of the sociolinguistically-variable properties of Spanish. As such, I examine how learners come to use and interpret language in contextually appropriate ways.

I have conducted research on the acquisition of Spanish sounds, grammatical structure and the meaning conveyed by these forms using production, interpretation and psycholinguistic tasks.


  • Second Language Acquisition (issues in the acquisition of Spanish by English-speakers)
  • The intersection of sociolinguistics and Second Language Learning (language variation and change)

My research concentrates on the intersection of second language acquisition and sociolinguistics with a particular focus on the second language acquisition of variation in second languages.

Current Research Projects:

  • The second language acquisition of geographically-indexed variants (e.g. leísmo, interdental fricative) in a study abroad setting [collaborative projects with Dr. Manuel Díaz-Campos, Sephen Fafulas, Bret Linford, and Avizia Yim Long].
  • A comparative study of advanced non-native speaker use of variable structures in Spanish (e.g., future and past time reference, copula contrast, mood use and subject expression) [collaborative project with Dr. Aames Gudmestad].
  • A study of the relationship between first language background and the second language acquisition of Spanish [collaborative project with Avizia Yim Long].
  • An investigation of the characteristics of classroom learner-directed input and the second language acquisition of variable structures in Spanish [collaborative project with Dr. Laura Gurzynski-Weiss].

In recent years I have taught special topics classes on variation in second languages, study abroad, and the processing of sociolinguistic variation. In addition to serving students who choose majors and minors in Spanish, my classes provide important training to undergraduates preparing for careers in diverse fields such as education, neuroscience and health sciences, among others, and to graduate students preparing for careers both in and outside academia.


  • Portuga
  • lSpain
Past Affiliations
European Studies, Language Studies, Portuguese, Chicano/a Studies, Spanish
PhD, University of Arizona, Second Language Acquisition and Teaching, 1999
MA, University of Arizona, Hispanic Linguistics, 1996
MA, University of Arizona, 1995
BA, University of New Hampshire, 1993