About me

Welcome!

I received my Ph.D. in linguistics at the University of Florida in August 2017. My main research interests include psycholinguistics and second language acquisition, with particular interest in Chinese and Spanish learners of English. I have also dabbled in phonological acquisition, comprehension of prosodic cues, and topic status in information structure.

My interest in linguistics stems from my background as a Heritage speaker of Spanish. After a two-year stint as a chemistry student in college, I took an elective Intro to Linguistics class and realized I could channel my passion for science into understanding language acquisition, processing and comprehension. I am keenly interested in the differences between native speakers of a language and learners of a language as they relate to the grammar and phonetics of a language.

My dissertation project investigated use of phrasal verbs in native English speakers and learners of English. Phrasal verbs are fairly ubiquitous in the English language (e.g. hang out, turn on, throw up, put down), yet they are notoriously difficult for learners to acquire. Moreover, previous literature informs us that the nature of a learner's first language influences the extent to which they use a phrasal verb in the target language. As such, I investigated the production and processing of phrasal verb alternating constructions (e.g. Mark put down the book vs. Mark put the book down) by Chinese and Spanish learners of English, two language backgrounds that differ in their typological distance from English. This type of data can provide data to answer whether language learner phenomena in a target language is general to all learners or specific to a learners based on their native language.

In addition to my dissertation research, I also investigate the role of prosody in native and learner language processing. Prosody refers to the aspects of spoken language that detail the way individual speakers do or do not sound like one another; that is, the intonation, stress, rhythm and pitch of their language differs. Little is known about how or whether language learners can use prosody from the target language to aid in processing of speech. I use eye-tracking to explore whether Chinese learners of English use English-language prosodic cues to the same extent that native speakers do in speech processing.

Traveling has been one of my major hobbies for years, and I thoroughly enjoy Couch Surfing and staying at hostels to gain a more authentic feel for culture and language. I spend some of my free time gardening, cooking, biking, running, hiking, and drawing.

Lichtenstein Castle, Germany, September 2017