Carnegie Mellon University

Barbara F. Freed

Barbara F. Freed

Professor Emeritus of French Studies and Applied Linguistics

Department of Modern Languages
Carnegie Mellon University
Pittsburgh, PA 15213

Education: Ph.D. (1978), University of Pennsylvania,  Linguistics in Education, MA (1971), Temple University, TESOL, MA (1967) University of Pennsylvania, French, BA (1963) University of Pennsylvania, French, Certificat d' études (1960-1961), L’université d'Aix-Marseilles - Institute for American Universities.


My research interests evolved from pre-occupations regarding the roles that language and the arts assume in our lives. In both cases, context is the overarching variable. As a TESOL graduate student, I was profoundly struck by the social and linguistic needs of nonnative speakers in the US.  As a Ph.D. student, this interest became passion for the powerful sociolinguistic implications of language in its social context and the concomitant psycholinguistic issues related to language learning.  Equally influential was growing up in a family of artists. At an early age, I understood the role the arts play in our lives. Studying in France bound these two for me cognitively and emotionally. Unsurprisingly, my research, theoretical and applied, investigates both areas: 1) the teaching, measurement of, acquisition and use of non-primary languages in diverse learning contexts) 2) studies of historical/geographical /cultural contexts of 20th-century artists in southern France. My research followed a trajectory, one project building upon the other, culminating in major publications. Second Language Acquisition in a Study Abroad Context (1995), followed by Studies in Second Language Acquisition: Volume 2/6 ( 2004) assembled for the first time my work and others to explore the impact of SA experiences on L2 acquisition.  Examination of the cultural context of early 20th century artists on the French Riviera Artists and Their Museums On the Riviera: Abrams 1998 led to the translation of Henri Matisse: La chapelle de Vence  (Gardettes 2004/Chauveau2014) which was ultimately responsible for A Model for Matisse: First Run Features the first visual documentation of the work Matisse considered his masterpiece.

  • Second Language Acquisition
  • Language Learning in Study Abroad
  • Sociolinguistics/Language in Context
  • Language Learning Fluency
  • Society and Art
  • A Model for Matisse: Nominated for Best New Play, Theatre Circle Awards 2019.
  • Officier dans l’Ordre des Palmes Acadèmiques du Gouvernement Français. October 2008 (award May 2009).
  • Juror Festival International des Films sur l’Art. Invited member. March 2009. Montreal, Canada
  • Pierre Salinger Award for Best Documentary Film. Avignon/New York Film Festival. New York, NY. November 2005.
  • Best Film for Television. International Festival of Films on Art, Montréal, Quebec.  March 2004
  • Advisory Board, Free Library of Philadelphia, Philadelphia PA. Culinary Literacy Center, 2016-
  • French International School of Philadelphia. Board of Directors,(Chair, Committee on Trustees) 1998-2004 Reappointed Fall 2007-2012; Reappointed 2015- 
  • Sociological Initiatives Foundation, Vice President, Board of Directors: Boston MA, 1997-
  • Editorial Board: Modern Language Journal, 1997- 2008.
  • Editorial Board: Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 1998-2008.
  • Foreword, In Methods in Study Abroad Research: Past, Present & Future. C .P-V & c. Sanz (John Benjamin, to appear 2022)
  •  A Model for Matisse, 2019 (with Joe Hanrahan) .ZACK Theater, St Louis MI (nominated for Best New Play, Theatre Circle Awards 2019)
  •  Considering Language Learning in a Study Abroad Context. Encyclopedia of Language and Education. Vol.4/Second and Foreign Language Education. Springer, 2007.
  •  Relating Cognitive and Oral Fluency Acquisition in Spanish in Different Learning Contexts (with Norman Segalowitz). (Summer 2004). Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 26(2).
  • Foreign Language Acquisition Research and the Classroom, Editor. Lexington, MA: D.C. Heath & Company. 1991.

Department Member Since 1990