Carnegie Mellon University

Katharine  Burns

Katharine E. Burns

Assistant Professor of Applied Linguistics, Second Language Acquisition and Hispanic Studies

  • POS 341F
Department of Languages, Cultures & Applied Linguistics
4980 Margaret Morrison St
Posner Hall 341
Pittsburgh, PA 15213


Ph.D., Second Language Acquisition & Teaching (SLAT), University of Arizona
M.A., Second Language Acquisition & Teaching (SLAT), University of Arizona
M.A., Spanish Language & Literature, Marquette University
B.A., Liberal Studies and Spanish, University of Notre Dame


My work in second language acquisition takes an interdisciplinary approach to applied sociolinguistics. I do qualitative research on the ideological underpinnings of language use—in particular, exploring how power dynamics affect language learning. My areas of research include: language ideologies, L2 learner identity formation, language policy & planning, bilingualism/multilingualism, heritage language learning, endangered and minority languages, and L2 learners as emergent bilinguals.

In our Ph.D. program Applied Linguistics and Second Language Acquisition, I mentor graduate students and teach courses such as Second Language Acquisition: Theories and Research; Language Policy & Planning; Language & Identity; and Bilingualism. I also teach undergraduate courses in Hispanic Studies (e.g., 82-345 Using Spanish in Social Contexts) and in the Applied Multilingual Studies program (e.g., 82-280: Bilingual & Bicultural Experiences in the USA and 82-283 Language Diversity & Cultural Identity). Prior to joining Carnegie Mellon University, I taught both Spanish as an additional language and as a heritage language in the U.S., and English and Spanish as additional languages abroad.

  • Bilingualism/multilingualism
  • Language ideologies
  • Language and identity
  • (Critical) Discourse analysis
  • Heritage and community languages
  • 82-888: Topics in Second Language Acquisition (Graduate): 1) Language Policy & Planning; 2) Language & Identity; and 3) Bilingualism
  • 82-280: Bilingual & Bicultural Experiences in the USA
  • 82-345: Using Spanish in Social Contexts
  • 82-283: Language Diversity & Cultural Identity
  • Modern Languages Faculty Senator, Carnegie Mellon University
  • Member of the American Association of Applied Linguistics (AAAL) Committee on Online Education and Outreach, Webinar Subcommittee

Ulysse, G.M., & Burns, K.E. (2021). "French and Kreyòl in multilingual Haiti: Insights on the relationship between language attitudes, language policy, and literacy from Haitian Gonâviens." Critical Inquiry in Language Studies.

Maa, J., & Burns, K.E. (2021). "A tale of two language ideologies: Discursive co-construction of L2 learner identity in Japanese CMC interactions." Foreign Language Annals, 54 (1), 207-232.

Burns, K.E. (2020). "Beyond the idealized native speaker in L2 Spanish contexts: Standard language ideology, authenticity, and consequences for learner identity construction." In B. Dupuy & K. Michelson (Eds.), Pathways to paradigm change: Critical examinations of prevailing discourses and ideologies in second language education (pp. 32-52). Cengage. 

Burns, K.E. (2018). "Marginalization of local varieties in the L2 classroom: The case of U.S. Spanish." L2 Journal, 10(1), 20-38. 

Burns, K.E., & Waugh, L.R. (2018). "Mixed messages in the SHL classroom: Insights from CDA of textbooks and instructor focus group discussions." Heritage Language Journal, 15(1), 1-24.

Department Member Since 2016