Department research activities

A page within Global Cultures & Languages

Our faculty demonstrate their diverse interests and talents in their multifarious research activities. They have presented at numerous conferences, both within and outside of the United States, and have been published in a variety of academic journals.

From studying the use of virtual reality in the world language classroom to analyzing the role of explicit vocabulary instruction, our professors are at the forefront of their fields. They provide innovative and engaging teaching practices in the classroom that bring learning to life for students.

Recent Faculty Research

Martín Gómez Research Poster

Professor Antonio Martín Gómez studies how second language development is affected by our experience with target language input. When people learn Spanish in the United States, two learner types are common: bilingual (heritage language) speakers, who start learning early at home through oral interactions with their parents and siblings; and traditional classroom learners, who start later in life and are exposed to predominantly visual and written input. Although the Spanish from both learners is vulnerable to transfer effects from English (their dominant language), only heritage speakers are closer to native Spanish speakers in their use of adverbs typically used in informal speech, as in Vino rápido-/rápida-mente ’S/he came quick-∅/quick-ly’ after an elicited production task. This finding reinforces the idea that speaking and interacting with native speakers can help us acquire a more native-like use of words and sentences in the foreign language.

Our students have the opportunity to collaborate with our instructors to do research, as well as conduct their own!

Professor Martin Gomez and Maighdlin McHugh, undergraduate research assistant

Maighdlin McHugh (Class of '22) and Professor Antonio Martín Gómez investigate how students of Spanish Phonetics develop their pronunciation of Spanish sounds throughout a semester course. More specifically, they examine whether students still transfer the acoustic phonetic properties of consonants and diphthongs in English to Spanish cognate words, as in "Panamá" or "Europa". The results from this experiment will inform what properties are more difficult to acquire in the target language.

Recent Undergraduate Research Projects

Title page for collaborative research project, Dr. Megan Strom and Evan Nold

Professor Megan Strom carried out a summer research project with Evan Nold ('22) based on SPA 443: Immigrants, Covid-19, and the Media that illustrates how news articles in Spanish represent the Covid-19 pandemic in Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention centers. Presented at the 50th Annual Meeting of the Linguistic Association of the Southwest's Virtual Conference.

View full conference presentation here.