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SLAC Research Group

The Second Language Acquisition and Cognition (SLAC) Research Group is dedicated to the investigation of second language acquisition, bilingualism, and multilingualism with a focus on speakers' cognition. We are a team of researchers with different perspectives, theoretical approaches, and methodological techniques collaborating to gain a deeper understanding of learners' morphology, phonology, syntax, semantics and pragmatics. We draw from broader fields, such as Cognitive Linguistics, Psycholinguistics, Neurolinguistics, and Cognitive Science of Language, to answer questions pertaining to learners' cognition.

 

Researchers:

Dr. Vera Lee-Schoenfeld

Dr. Vera Lee-SchoenfeldDirector

Vera Lee-Schoenfeld, PhD, is primarily a theoretical linguist with a research focus on German syntax. She also has an interest in language acquisition, holding degrees in TESOL and French Language Education. She is the co-author of Language Matters: A Guide to Everyday Questions about Language, Second edition (2010) with Donna Jo Napoli from Swarthmore College.

Jean Costa-Silva

Jean Costa-Silva, PhD Candidate, Coordinator

Jean's interests pertain to second language acquisition and syntax. His work focuses on Cognitive Linguistics and the acquisition of motion in English and Portuguese. He has a BA in English Linguistics and TESOL as well as teaching certificates from the University of Oregon and the University of Cambridge.

Shulin Zhang

Shulin Zhang, PhD Candidate

Shulin does research in Computational and Neurolinguistics. She explores the brain mechanism of zero pronouns and their discourse support resources. She has prior experience in Cognitive Science, Artificial Intelligence, and Electric Engineering. 

Amelia

Amelia Abbott, PhD Student

Amelia's research focuses on M2L2 (second modality second language) acquisition, in which a language user acquires a new language in a different modality (spoken, signed, or haptic).

Seaira Lett

Seaira Lett, PhD Student

Seaira’s interests include language documentation and indigenous languages of Latin America. Her work focuses on the morphosyntax of Chuj, a Mayan language from Guatemala. Seaira previously served as a kindergarten teacher at a dual-language school in Kansas City, MO. 

Michael Wolfman

Michael Wolfman, M.A. Student

Michael's research interests lie at the nexus of Syntax, Human Sentence Processing, and Computational Linguistics. He conducts research with faculty members from the University of Georgia and University of Alabama.

Caroline Schneider

Caroline Schneider, M.A. Student

Caroline's areas of interest are Hispanic Linguistics, Phonetics & Phonology, and Language Acquisition. Caroline previously worked as an administrative assistant at UNC Press. She continues her work in publishing as a graduate assistant at UGA Press.

Cullen Giddens

Cullen Giddens, Undergraduate Student

Cullen is an Undergraduate student in the Department of Linguistics at the University of Georgia. He is currently majoring in Linguistics with a French minor. Special interests include syntax, second language acquisition, and bilingualism. 

Sarah Kudyba

Sarah Kudyba, Undergraduate Student

Sarah is an Undergraduate Student in the Department of Linguistics. She is pursuing a B.A. in Linguistics and German and is minoring in Chinese, Cognitive Science, and TESOL. Sarah's interests include Phonetics and Phonology, SLA, Psycholinguistics, German, and Chinese.

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Morgan Riley, Undergraduate Student

Morgan is an Undergraduate student in the Department of Linguistics, School of Computing, and Institute for Artificial Intelligence at the University of Georgia. She is pursuing a B.A. in Linguistics and Cognitive Science and a B.S. in Computer Science, with an AoE in Artificial Intelligence. Morgan's research interests include computational linguistics, SLA, AI, and Evolutionary Computation.

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Grant Shubin, Undergraduate Student

 

 

 

Current Research Projects:

  • The acquisition of motion encoding lexicalization patterns in English and Portuguese late bilinguals' speech and written production
  • The effects of instructor's proficiency on students’ pronunciation (Spanish/Korean)
  • The acquisition of L2/L3 syntax and inflectional morphology

Presentations:

  • Costa-Silva, J., Zhang, S., Lee-Schoenfeld, V. "A Matter of Space: The Acquisition of Motion Lexicalization Patterns by English-Portuguese Late Bilinguals". Paper presented at the 100th Linguistics Society of America Annual Meeting.
  • Should you Google it? Analyzing Internet Myths about Language Acquisition (talk with Cullen Giddens and Sarah Kudyba). Paper presented at GATESOL: Connect, University of Georgia. 
    Costa-Silva, J., Lee-Schoenfeld, V. "(Syntactically) Branching out Beyond the Traditional Classroom: A Report on the Discovery Method" (poster). 2023 Spring Teaching Symposium, University of Georgia.
  • Kudyba, S., Giddens, C., Costa-Silva, J., Lee-Schoenfeld, V. "The Acquisition of VAC Patterns by L2 English Learners from L1 Mandarin Chinese and L1 Japanese Backgrounds" (talk). 2023 CURO Symposium, University of Georgia.
  • Giddens, C., Kudyba, S., Costa-Silva, J., Lee-Schoenfeld, V. "Understanding the Acquisition of English VACs by Speakers of Two Typologically Similar L1s: Brazilian Portuguese and Italian" (poster). 2023 CURO Symposium, University of Georgia.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Do you also focus on non-cognitive factors?

We only marginally address these topics whenever they emerge in relation to cognition. Therefore, if you are interested in socio-emotional, contextual factors or language education/instruction per se, we strongly encourage contacting our affiliated faculty in the Department of Language and Literacy Education and the Department of TESOL and World Languages.

How can I join?

We are currently at maximum capacity. We do, however, encourage interested students to reach out to our coordinator at the email below.

When do we meet?

Spring 2024 Schedule:

  • January 12, 26
  • February 9, 23
  • March 15, 29
  • April 12, 26

Where do we meet?

Email our coordinator at the email below.

Questions?

Email our coordinator, Jean Costa-Silva, at jeancosta@uga.edu

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