Carnegie Mellon University

Our Research in Applied Linguistics and Second Language Acquisition (SLA) 

How do people acquire languages beyond their first? What processes and factors impact their abilities to read, write, comprehend, and speak additional languages? What roles do nondominant languages play in societies/cultures around the world?

Key aspects of this research include literacy development in multiple languages, social dimensions of learning a second language (context, identity, culture), instruction and learning of second languages (classroom-based research, program evaluation, impact of instruction on learning, and cognitive aspects of learning a second language (processing, memory).

Discover Our Graduate Programs

Featured Research and Publications

Translanguaging and Pragmatics in Second Language Acquisition

Faculty: Khaled Al Masaeed

This project explores the relationship between translanguaging and pragmatics in additional/second language (L2) contexts. It underscores how adopting a translanguaging perspective is indispensable as it (1) disrupts monolingual ideologies that see language hierarchies as the norm, and (2) empowers pragmatics research methods to measure pragmatic development more holistically/realistically to support learners’ ability to employ their language repertoires in ways that reflect the speaker’s agency to purposefully deploy all her/his linguistic features to construct knowledge, communicate ideas, and project identities in social interaction.

Racialized Identities in Second Language Learning: Speaking Blackness in Brazil

Faculty: Uju Anya

Racialized Identities in Second Language Learning: Speaking Blackness in Brazil provides a critical overview and original sociolinguistic analysis of the African American experience in second language learning. More broadly, this book introduces the idea of second language learning as "transformative socialization": how learners, instructors, and their communities shape new communicative selves as they collaboratively construct and negotiate race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, and social class identities. 

Read More

Classroom Interactional Competence in Advanced Modern Languages and Cultures Courses

Faculty: Rémi A. Van Compernolle

This project examines the linguistic and embodied practices that constitute classroom interactional competence (CIC) in advanced-level modern languages and cultures (MLC) courses, and how CIC is linked to opportunities for language learning and culture learning. In addition, the project addresses the cognitive benefits of language learning insofar as emphasis will be on the role played by an expansion of one’s interactional repertoire (i.e., CIC) in developing critical-thinking and problem-solving abilities, which are key skills for language learning in the 21st century.

Adjustment of cue weighting in speech by speakers and listeners: Evidence from amplitude and duration modifications of Mandarin Chinese tone

Faculty: Seth Wiener

We examine the interplay of flexible cue weights in speech production and perception across amplitude and duration, secondary non-spectral acoustic dimensions for phonated Mandarin Chinese lexical tone, across natural speech and whispering, which eliminates fundamental frequency contour, the primary acoustic dimension. 

Read More

Conversational Style and Omissions in Classical Chinese and Their Implications for Classical Chinese Grammar Pedagogy

Faculty: Sue-mei Wu

This chapter introduces two special characteristics of Classical Chinese (CC) texts – conversational style and the prevalence of omissions – and demonstrates how to incorporate them into CC teaching and learning. The grammatical analysis and pedagogical account provided in this chapter demonstrate that a full appreciation of the characteristics of CC texts and its grammar would help learners achieve a better understanding of CC texts and improve the effectiveness of CC pedagogy.

Recent publications: