My research seeks to understand more about the way heritage speakers process each of their languages. The field of heritage linguistics has made immense progress in converging on a theory of heritage grammar, yet we know comparatively little about heritage language processing. Through my research, I hope to help change that. Broadly speaking, my work analyzes language dominance, sociolinguistic factors, and morphosyntactic/semantic cues to study mental representation in these bilinguals. My experimental research primarily utilizes eye-tracking with aural stimuli, though I am also trained in ERP/EEG and have some experience with pupillometry.

Here are my current projects:

Bilingual relative clause processing

  • Comparing Spanish heritage speakers and Spanish-English first-generation immigrant bilinguals in both Spanish (the L1/heritage language) and English (the L2/ societal-majority language)
  • Experimental study utilizing eye-tracking in the visual world paradigm to test for subject-object relative clause processing asymmetries
  • Assessing the role of language dominance, operationalized as a continuous variable, in anticipatory eye movements and gaze fixation
  • Collaborators: Michael Stern, Christen N Madsen II, Cass Lowry, Gita Martohardjono

Relative Fluency index of language dominance

  • A new method of operationalizing language dominance
  • Measures speech rate in both of a bilingual’s languages
  • Relative to each individual’s speech rate across languages
  • Collaborators: Anthony Vicario, Cass Lowry, Gita Martohardjono

Heritage Georgian morphosyntax

  • Analyzes elicited speech of heritage Georgian children in NYC with later-arrived Georgian immigrants and Georgian children in the homeland
  • Children’s narratives of the frog story in both Georgian and English
  • Restructuring of nominal case marking and subject-object verb agreement
  • Collaborator: Cass Lowry

Sociocultural analyses of Spanish-English bilinguals

  • Principal Component Analysis (PCA) which creates constructs underlying a bilingual’s sociolinguistic profile
  • Compares different bilingual types in a more accessible and complete way
  • Collaborators: Christen N Madsen II, Gita Martohardjono

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