Carnegie Mellon University

Seth McCombie

Education: MA University of Arizona, Arabic Linguistics. BA Brigham Young University, Linguistics and Arabic


I experienced a hallmark of Middle Eastern hospitality for the first time one summer after high school - juice, fruit, cookies, and delicious candies - all served on a silver platter.

My college plans quickly came to include studying Arabic and the cultures of its generous speakers, which eventually took me to the Levant and Egypt for several study abroad experiences. Later, as an Arabic teacher, I pursued research interests in assessment and corpus linguistics.

In my MA thesis at the University of Arizona, I developed a method to predict ACTFL proficiency ratings based on a student's level of syntactic complexity.

My current research focuses on the development of accuracy and complexity in Novice speakers as well as the role of pragmatic competence in social network development while on study abroad.

  • Study abroad
  • Social networks
  • Dyadic tutoring
  • Pragmatics acquisition
  • Syntactic complexity
  • FLAS Grant: 2020-2021, 2021-2022
  • CASA Fellowship

Department Member Since 2022