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Linguistics Research Labs

Purdue Bilingualism Lab (PBL)

Research in the Purdue Bilingualism Lab (PBL) focuses on all aspects of bilingualism, broadly defined, with a particular interest in phonetics and phonology, psycholinguistics, and sociolinguistics.  Research at the Purdue Bilingualism Lab explores bilingual behaviors, as well as the underlying cognitive mechanisms that govern such behavior. In other words, we're interested in what bilinguals do and how they do it. Current projects include research on the phonetics and phonology of code-switching, the acquisition of L2/L3 phonetics and phonology, and variability in bilingual lexical access.

Directed by Dr. Daniel J. Olson ( 

Second Language Acquisition and Bilingualism Research (SLARB) Lab

SLARB investigates the acquisition of Spanish and other languages as second or heritage language in bilingual children and adults. Specifically, Dr. Cuza examines the acquisition of Spanish morphosyntax, semantics and syntax-semantics interface structures in Spanish-English bilingual heritage speakers. Current projects include the acquisition of copula distribution in Spanish/Catalan bilingual children, the development of past and present tense aspectual distinctions among Chinese and Portuguese speakers of Spanish, and various studies of object clitics, differential object marking, and the acquisition of the subjunctive mood.

Directed by Dr. Alejandro Cuza ( 
Introductory Video

Speech Perception and Cognitive Effort (SPACE) Lab

The SPACE Lab investigates the contribution of cognitive mechanisms such as working memory and selective attention to understanding speech in difficult circumstances, such as in the presence of background noise. We use behavioral and psychophysiological measures to assess speech understanding, cognitive effort and stress in younger and older adults with and without hearing impairments. This work provides insight into the cognitive foundations of spoken language understanding, and will contribute to better accommodating the needs of older listeners and those with hearing impairments.

Directed by Dr. Alexander Francis (

Indigenous and Endangered Languages Lab

The IELLab strives to intersect the goals of formal theoretical linguistics with the needs of communities speaking indigenous, minority and endangered languages. The best way to study an endangered, minority, indigenous, un- or under-described language is if a speaker of the language is also the linguist working on it. One of the main goals of the IELLab is to train speakers of the languages as linguists. Current projects involve motion predicates and early acquisition of multiple grammars; languages being described include Mayagna, Tati, Ghanaian Student Pidgin, Limon Kryol and Taiwanese Mandarin.

Directed by Dr. Elena Benedicto (
Introductory Video

Purdue Experimental Phonetics and Phonology Lab

This lab conducts experimental research on speech production and perception. Analyses include production of L2 speech, production of L2 accented native speech, perception of L1 and L2 sounds, universal features in speech perception, sociophonetics and laboratory phonology. Current projects include vowel-to-vowel coarticulation in Spanish, Tatar and Hungarian; acquisition of French voicing by American English learners; sociophonetics of word-final t/d deletion, perception of voicing by bilinguals, and perception of consonant duration.

Directed by Dr. Olga Dmitrieva (
Introductory Video

Sign Language Linguistics Lab

This lab is multifunctional, allowing reconfigurations for data collection and analysis in sign language. Data collection equipment includes workstations used to capture and analyze video data, as well as data gathered from fMRI, and a motion capture suit with data gloves. Topics of research include the prosodic structure of sign languages, and its interaction with their syntactic structures and pragmatic functions; automatic sign recognition (hands and face); and crosslinguistic sign order (SVO/SOV) typology. Current projects study how computer vision can help with sign language analysis and brain scan analysis, the function of non-manuals in sign language, and how sign languages are processed by the human brain

Directed by Dr. Ronnie Wilbur (
Introductory Video

Experimental Linguistics Lab

This lab investigates syntax and its interfaces with semantics, discourse information structure, and language processing in production and comprehension. The goals are: to identify the various factors that contribute to grammatical alternations; to explore the relation between grammar and performance, in particular the hypothesis that processing pressures in production and comprehension contribute to the development of grammatical conventions; and to explore how native-language biases affect speech production. The experimental methods employed include acceptability judgment tasks, structural priming tasks, elicitation tasks, reading and response time measurements, and quantitative corpus analyses. Recent projects have investigated relative clause extraposition in English, resumptive pronoun production in Cantonese, syntax of sentence-final particles in Shanghainese, and the effect of motion event typology on production of causative motion expressions in English, Mandarin, and Spanish.

Directed by Dr. Elaine Francis (

Crow, the Corpus & Repository of Writing

Crow is the first project which combines a corpus of college student writing, in our case from English 106 and 106i, with a repository of pedagogical artifacts (syllabi, assignment requirements, etc.). Their primary research is in applied linguistics, but their focus also includes work in rhetoric and composition. Graduate students working on the Crow Corpus have used the materials both to produce original research and to aid in their professional development as teachers of college composition. Crow has partner corpora at Michigan State and Arizona, and will be hosting a symposium in West Lafayette in Fall 2018.

Directed by Dr. Bradley Dilger (

Pragmatics and Intercultural Communicative Competence Research Group

This research group examines the impact of context (e.g. specific contextual variables) on language and language learning. We utilize quantitative and qualitative approaches to examine naturally occurring and experimentally elicited language. Main contributions relate to (1) the study of mitigation, (2) speech acts used by native speakers and language learners, and (3) intercultural communicative competence. These three areas are united in that they reflect the examination of context on language, second language learner language, and second language learners' development. We are developing a language learner corpus to further examine the impact of short-term study abroad on learner's discourse.

Directed by Dr. Lori Czerwionka (