Skip to Content

Linguistics Program


Areas of Concentration

Our program's approach to research and training is remarkably interdisciplinary, as represented by our three concentrations: Psycholinguistics and Cognitive and Formal Linguistics; Second Language Acquisition and TESOL; and Social, Cultural, and Historical Linguistics.

Psycholinguistics and Cognitive and Formal Linguistics

The Linguistics Program at the University of South Carolina offers M.A. and Ph.D. concentrations in psycholinguistics and in cognitive and formal approaches to linguistics.

Topics Covered

The faculty members who teach in these concentrations teach graduate courses in syntax, semantics, pragmatics, psycholinguistics, cognitive science, philosophy of language, psychology of language, and in experimental methods.

Our students have the opportunity to become familiar with a variety of methodological approaches: theoretical, experimental (including behavioral, eye tracking, and neuroimaging), and corpus-based analysis. In particular, students have the opportunity to work in the labs housed at the Institute of Mind and Brain that host state-of-the-art equipment for eye tracking, EEG/ERP, and behavioral testing.

The Linguistics Program requires some training in formal linguistics from all its doctoral students and offers courses in other concentrations, such as Sociolinguistics, Linguistic Anthropology, Second Language Acquisition/TESOL, and Historical Linguistics. Thus students have opportunities to become well versed in the broad range of linguistic subfields.

Faculty
  • Amit AlmorAssociate Professor (Psychology), Ph.D., Brown University, 1995. Areas of interest: Psycholinguistics, spoken and written language processing, reference processing, attention and language, space and language, neuroimaging
  • Anne BezuidenhoutProfessor (Philosophy), Ph.D., University of Michigan, 1990. Areas of interest: Philosophy of language, semantics, pragmatics, experimental approaches to semantics and pragmatics.
  • Stanley Dubinksy, Professor (English), Ph.D., Cornell University, 1985. Areas of interest: Syntax, semantics, morphology, language rights, and linguistic theory.
  • Robin Morris, Professor (Psychology), Ph.D., University of Massachusetts, 1990. Areas of interest: Psycholinguistics, language processing in reading, vocabulary acquisition, eye movement monitoring.
  • Mila Tasseva-Kurktchieva, Program Director and Research Associate Professor (Linguistics), Ph.D., University of South Carolina, 2006. Areas of interest: SLA theories, generative SLA, L2 processing, comprehension and production in L2, syntactic theory, linguistic theory.
  • Dirk den Ouden, Consulting Faculty, Associate Professor; Director, Neurolinguistics Laboratory (Communication Sciences and Disorders), Ph.D., University of Groningen (The Netherlands), 2002. Areas of interest: Neural correlates of language representation and use; aphasia, stroke; phonology, apraxia of speech; syntax, verbs, sentence production/processing; functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI); electroencephalograhy (EEG); transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), High-Definition transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (HD-tDCS).
  • Dan Fogerty, (Consulting Faculty), Assistant Professor (Communication Sciences and Disorders), Ph.D., Indiana University, (Majors: Speech and Hearing Science, Cognitive Science), 2010. Areas of interest: Acoustics, phonetics, speech perception, cognitive hearing science.
Past Dissertations
  • Wei Cheng (2016) Implicit causality and consequentiality in native and nonnative reference resolution
  • Raed Alguthami (2016) Visual Word Recognition by Arab ESL Learners: Phonological versus orthographic consonantal influence on vowels
  • Shinichi Shoji (2016) The Repeated Name Penalty and the Overt Pronoun Penalty in Japanese
  • Fan Zhu (2012) Interlanguage Pragmatics: Invitation Responses by Advanced Chinese Learners of English
  • Eun Hee Lee (2012) Spanish-Speaking Learners’ Acquisition of English VPE and Wh- Extraction out of VPE
  • Anna Mikhaylova (2012) (In)complete Acquisition of Aspect in Second Language and Heritage Russian
  • Eun Young Shin (2012) The Availability of Semantic and Syntactic Information and their Use as a Structural Predictor in the real-time processing of L1 and L2 Korean
  • Carlos Gelormini-Lezama (2010) Repeated Names, Overt Pronouns, and Null Pronouns in Spanish
  • Changyong Liao (2009) Processing of Underlying and Surface Phonological Representations in Visual Word Recognition
  • Cintia Widmann (2009) Morphological Segmentation During Silent Reading
  • Lan Zhang (2007) The Two positions of Chinese Relative Clauses
Alumni Placementes
Students graduating from our M.A. Program with a specialization in psycholinguistics and formal and cognitive linguistics have mainly gone on to complete PhD studies in linguistics or psycholinguistics.  Our doctoral graduates have mainly gone to academic positions.
  • Shinichi Shoji (PhD, 2016), Assistant Professor of Japanese, Mie University
  • Wei Cheng (PhD 2016), Assistant Professor, Jinan University in Guangzhou
  • Carlos Gelormini-Lezama (PhD 2010) Assistant Professor, Universidad de San Andrés


Second Language Acquisition and TESOL

Second language acquisition is the study of how people learn a second language (hereafter, L2) given the kind of exposure they have to it.  This field of study, then, encompasses both the cognitive processes which determine learning (traditionally thought of as SLA) and the pedagogical practices which effect and enhance that learning (traditionally thought of as ESL).  By nature, this field of study is interdisciplinary, since learning processes are understood especially, but not exclusively, via linguistic, sociolinguistic, and psycholinguistic perspectives, while classroom practices are informed by educational linguistic perspectives.

Topics Covered

The Linguistics Program at the University of South Carolina offers the following degrees:

  • TESOL certificate of graduate studies
  • M.A. with a concentration in Second Language Acquisition and TESOL
  • Ph.D. with a concentration in Second Language Acquisition and TESOL

Our faculty members who teach in the SLA and TESOL concentration are extremely diverse in their training and theoretical perspectives. They explore a wide array of issues, from pedagogical theories that assist language teachers to linguistic theories that account for the acquisition process. Their methods are equally inclusive and cover the broad array of qualitative and quantitative research in second and foreign language acquisition.

Our students are trained in an interdisciplinary curriculum that includes formal linguistics, a primary area of study, and a broad range of linguistic subfields covered by our sixteen-person Linguistics Program faculty. The students in the SLA and TESOL concentration are trained in an unusually comprehensive set of methodological approaches: corpus studies, psycholinguistic approaches, classroom-based research, computer-mediated teaching and research, among others. In addition to the core classes, students have ample freedom to tailor their L2 curriculum to their own needs and interests, focusing either on understanding how students learn or on how best to teach, or a combination of the two. The program of study culminates in the writing of a thesis or dissertation on a topic of the student's choosing.  

Faculty
  • D. Eric Holt, Associate Professor (Languages, Literatures, and Cultures; Spanish), PhD in Hispanic Linguistics, Georgetown University, 1997. Areas of interest: Hispanic linguistics, history and dialects of Spanish and Portuguese, second language Spanish pronunciation, phonology, Optimality Theory
  • Qiandi Liu, Assistant Professor (English),  PhD in Applied Linguistics and TESL, Northern Arizona University, 2016. Areas of interest: ESL writing, grammar and pedagogy, SLA.
  • Paul Malovrh,  Associate Professor (Languages, Literatures, and Cultures; Spanish), PhD in Spanish Linguistics, Indiana University, 2008. Areas of interest: SLA, development of form-function mapping, L2 psycholinguistic processing, word-recognition in L2 reading; task-induced variation in L2 production, development of L2 comprehension / production interface.
  • Nina MorenoAssociate Professor (Languages, Literatures, and Cultures; Spanish), PhD in Spanish Linguistics, Georgetown University, 2007. Areas of interest: Second Language Acquisition, Spanish Applied Linguistics, and Computer Assisted Language Learning (CALL).
  • Alexandra RoweInstructor, Director Emeritus, English Programs for Internationals, PhD in English, University of South Carolina, 1990. Areas of interest: L2 writing, ESL program administration.
  • Mila Tasseva-Kurktchieva, Program Director, PhD in Linguistics, University of South Carolina, 2006. Areas of interest: second language acquisition, syntactic theory.
  • Junko Baba, (Consulting Faculty), Associate Professor (Languages, Literatures, and Cultures; Japanese), Ph.D., University of Texas, Austin, 1996. Areas of interest: Sociolinguistics, pragmatics, applied linguistics, Japanese.
  • Lara Ducate, (Consulting Faculty), Associate Professor (Languages, Literatures, and Cultures; German), Ph.D., University of Texas, Austin, 2003. Areas of interest: Sociocultural Theory, discourse analysis, computer-mediated communication, Mikhail Bakhtin.
  • Lara Lomicka, (Consulting Faculty), Associate Professor (Languages, Literatures, and Cultures; French & Classics), Ph.D., Pennsylvania State University, 2001. Areas of interest: CALL (computer –assisted language learning), intercultural learning and teaching, telecollaborative learning environments, and teacher education.
  • Susi Long, (Consulting Faculty), Associate Professor (Instruction and Education), Ph.D., Ohio State University, 1995. Areas of interest: (a) Collaboration with teacher researchers to explore home and community language and literacies; issues of culture, race, and language; and consideration of findings as they relate to transformation in schools and society, and (b) the experiences of new teachers as they negotiate within and beyond the status quo.
  • Sherry Warren, (Consulting Faculty), Academic Director, USC International Accelerator Program, PhD in Linguistics, University of South Carolina. Areas of interest: L2 writing, ESL program administration, English for Academic Purposes, psycholinguistics, SLA and teaching.
Past Dissertations
  • Burcu Gokoz Kurt (2016) Attention Control and the Effects of Online Training in Improving Connected Speech Perception by English as a Second Language Learners
  • Wei Cheng (2016) Implicit Causality and Consequentiality in Native and Non-Native Coreference Processing
  • Aubrey Dillard Phillips (2014) Non-Native Speaker Attentional Capacity and the Processing of English Phrasal Verb Constructions
  • Marc Canner (2013) Working Memory-Learning Condition Interactions: Proficiency in L2 Russian under Naturalistic and Formal Learning Conditions
  • Sherry Warren (2012) Establishing a Unified Model of Academic Literacy and a Method for Measuring Academic Readiness
  • Fan Zhu (2012) Interlanguage Pragmatics: Invitation Responses by Advanced Chinese Learners of English
  • Eun Young Shin (2012) The Availability of Semantic and Syntactic Information and their Use as a Structural Predictor in the real-time processing of L1 and L2 Korean
  • Anna Mikhaylova (2012) (In)complete Acquisition of Aspect in Second Language and Heritage Russian
Alumni Placements

Students graduating from our M.A. Program with a specialization in L2 studies have obtained jobs teaching either English as a second language or foreign languages to speakers of English in public and private schools, both here in the United States and abroad.  Our doctoral graduates have mainly gone to academic positions in second language acquisition.

  • Elena Schmitt (PhD, 2001), Professor of TESOL and Foreign Language Certification, Department Chair, Department of World Languages and Literatures, Southern Connecticut State University
  • Larry LaFond (PhD, 2001), Associate Dean, College of Arts and Sciences, Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville
  • Matthew Ciscel (PhD, 2002), Professor, Department of English, Central Connecticut State University
  • Marc Canner (PhD, 2013), Executive Director, Institute of Strategic Languages & Cultures 
  • Anna Mikhaylova (PhD, 2012), Assistant Professor of Second Language Teaching and Acquisition, Linguistics Department, University of Oregon
  • Wei Cheng (PhD, 2016), Assistant Professor, Jinan University in Guangzhou

 


Social, Cultural, and Historical Linguistics

Students may choose special fields (sociolinguistics, linguistic anthropology, and historical linguistics) that fall under our Social, Cultural, and Historical Linguistics concentration.

Topics Covered

Our faculty members who teach in the Social, Cultural, and Historical Linguistics concentration, while remarkably diverse in their training, share an interest in analyzing how language data relates to sociocultural and/or historical phenomena.

Our sociolinguists and linguistic anthropologists are united in providing students with multiple points of entry to examining the language-sociocultural interface. They have conducted research within international and (trans)national settings (France, Guatemala, Puerto Rico, Illinois, Iowa, South Carolina, Texas, U.S. immigrant communities, U.S. and transnational media) and on an array of language varieties (African American English, Asian American language, French, Gullah, Kaqchikel, Korean, Mam, Spanish, Taíno). Students have the opportunity to become familiar with an unusually comprehensive set of quantitative and qualitative methods for conducting variationist, interactional, and ethnographic research.

Our historical linguists guide students in examining language history and language change, based on data gathered from modern standard languages, dialects, and historical documents, using such methods as language comparison, language typology, corpus studies, phonological theory, and laboratory phonology. Faculty research focuses primarily on historical phonology, historical morphology, and language contact, dealing mostly with Germanic (English, German, Scandinavian, Dutch, Frisian) and Romance (French, Spanish, Portuguese) languages.

Our dynamic and collaborative community of students and faculty meet regularly to share work, exchange ideas, and learn from one another during our Sociolinguistics, Linguistic Anthropology, and Historical Linguistics Lab meetings.

Faculty
  • Elaine ChunAssociate Professor (English), Ph.D., University of Texas at Austin, 2007. Areas of interest: Sociolinguistics, Linguistic Anthropology, Interaction, Race/Gender/Sexuality, Racism, Authenticity, Asian American Language.
  • Amanda Dalola, Assistant Professor (Linguistics), PhD, French Linguistics, UT Austin, 2014. Areas of interest: Phonetics, Sociophonetics, Sociolinguistics, Theoretical Phonology, Lab Phonology, Historical Romance.
  • Kurt Golbirsch, Professor (Languages, Literatures, and Cultures; German), Ph.D.,University of Minnesota, 1990. Areas of interest: German Sociolinguistics, Comparative Germanic Linguistics (German, English, Scandinavian, Dutch, Frisian), Historical Linguistics, Language Typology, Dialectology, Phonology, Morphology, Etymology.
  • Dorothy Disterheft, Associate Professor (English), Ph.D., University of California-Los Angeles, 1977. Areas of interest: Theory of language change; Historical syntax; Historical phonology; Indo-European linguistics, culture, religion, and prehistory; Old and Middle Irish syntax; Contemporary English grammar.
  • Scott Gwara(Consulting Faculty), Professor (English), Ph.D., University of Toronto, 1993. Areas of interest: Bilingualism in pre-conquest England, Old English and Anglo-Latin philology.
  • Eric Holt, Associate Professor (Languages, Literatures, and Cultures; Spanish), Ph.D., Georgetown University, 1997. Areas of interest: Phonology, Historical linguistics, dialectology.
  • Jennifer F. Reynolds, Associate Professor (Anthropology) , Ph.D., University of California, Los Angeles, 2002. Areas of interest: Linguistic anthropology, language socialization, political economy of languages.
  • Tracey Weldon, Associate Professor (English), Ph.D., The Ohio State University, 1998. Areas of interest: Sociolinguistics, morpho-syntactic variation.
  • Junko Baba, (Consulting Faculty), Associate Professor (Languages, Literatures, and Cultures; Japanese), Ph.D., University of Texas, Austin, 1996. Areas of interest: Sociolinguistics, pragmatics, applied linguistics, Japanese.
  • Lara Ducate, (Consulting Faculty), Associate Professor (Languages, Literatures, and Cultures; German), Ph.D., University of Texas, Austin, 2003. Areas of interest: Sociocultural Theory, discourse analysis, computer-mediated communication, Mikhail Bakhtin.
  • Sherina Feliciano-Santos, (Consulting Faculty), Assistant Professor (Anthropology), Ph.D., University of Michigan, 2011. Areas of interest: Linguistic anthropology, the politics of language use, social activism, language and cultural revitalization, racial and ethnic formations, religion; narrative, and face-to-face interaction.
Past Dissertations
  • Sandra Keller (2016) Defining and Displaying Gallo: Language and Ideology in Upper Brittany, France
  • Julia McKinney (2016) Aging, Discourse, and Ideology
  • Paul Reed (2016) Sounding Appalachian: /aI/ Monophthongization, Rising Pitch Accents, and Rootedness
  • Sara Lide (2014) Southern Language, Ideology, and Identity in a High School Sorority
  • Thor Sawin (2013) Second Language Learnerhood among Cross-Cultural Workers
  • Stephen Mann (2011) Gay American English: Language attitudes, language perceptions, and gay men's discourses of connectedness to family, LGBTQ networks, and the American South
  • Loralee Donath (2008) Constellations of Identity in the Universe of Engineering: Emergent Social Memberships in the Discourse of an Undergraduate Community of Practice
Alumni Placements
Students graduating from our M.A. Program with a specialization in social, cultural, and historical linguistics have undertaken different career paths working in think thanks, as language conservationists, as independent technical writers, or independent consultants.  Our doctoral graduates have mainly gone to academic positions.
  • Paul Reed (PhD, 2016), Assistant Professor, University of Alabama
  • Julia McKinney (PhD, 2016), Clinical Assistant Professor, University of South Carolina
  • Thor Sawin (PhD, 2013), Asistant Professor, Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey
  • Stephen Mann (PhD, 2011), Associate Professor of Linguistics, English Department, University of Wisconsin-La Crosse