Language Acquisition & Linguistics Research Laboratory
UTEP Language Acquisition & Linguistics Research (LALR) Lab (LART 220)
Director: Dr. Natalia Mazzaro ( firstname.lastname@example.org ) 747-7040, LART 217
The UTEP Language Acquisition and Language Research (LALR) laboratory is a departmental resource for investigation of topics in a variety of subfields of linguistics: first, second and multilingual languageacquisition, language variation, corpus linguistics, bilingual language use, and experimental work related to issues in theoretical linguistics. The Lab contains computer and other equipment such as audio/video recording, experimental software, copying/printing, as well as meeting and workspace. The Lab also contains archives of research materials.The Lab objectives are to facilitate and support significant research and to train students in the practice of linguistic research.
Many projects are directed by a faculty member and include teams of graduate and undergraduate students. Students have opportunities to participate inresearch in the lab from beginning to end, including project creation (finding a problem, thinking about the relevant questions, hypothesis creation, development of testing materials), testing (recording and interviewing children and adults using different methodologies) and analysis (transcribing and analyzing the data, writing results and project papers). They are also encouraged to create and develop their own research and thesis projects with the help of lab directors and associated faculty. All faculty and students who use the Lab receive human subjects training and certification.
For the 2013-2014 academic year, projects include:
Language Maintenance and Shift in the Paso del Norte Region (Jon Amastae, Director). Languages have been in contact in the Paso del Norte region for centuries. This project investigates aspects of who speaks what language; how they acquired/learned it; when, where, with whom they speak it; and what they talk about.
Acoustic study of variable rhotic assibilation in the Spanish of Ciudad Juarez (Natalia Mazzaro, Director). This is an acoustic study of the variable assibilation of rhotics in the Spanish of Ciudad Juárez. The analysis is based on the recording of 11 native speakers, both from reading tasks and natural speech. The individual words containing /r/ are extracted from the recording and acoustically analyzed using Praat. The parameters to be measured will include Cepstral Peak and Duration as indicators of the level of assibilation.
Existential sentences (ES) (Nicholas Sobin, Director) ES have played a central role in the on-going development of Chomsky’s generative syntactic theory. Subject-verb agreement (‘agreement’) in ES such as ‘ There are books on the desk ’ has been used to set certain basic dimensions of sentence derivation in general. Interestingly, much of the data on agreement in ES has been systematically ignored/overlooked. These overlooked data provide counter evidence to key aspects of the current analysis of ES and of sentence derivation in general. When the fuller data set is taken into account, it has the potential to alter key aspects of the general theory of sentence derivation. In this project, we are analyzing research data on agreement in English and developing quantitative studies verifying the quality and character of the claimed counter evidence, as well as learning more about how agreement actually works. View the research report .
UTEP’s Learner Corpus of Academic English (ULCAE) (AlfredoUrzúa, Director) This project focuses on building a local, context-specific learner corpus of academic English to be used for both research and pedagogical purposes. The corpus includes written texts generated by Spanish-speaking second language learners of English within the context of ESOL courses at UTEP (reflecting different levels of languageproficiency). Texts are organized so that linguistic data are available for cross-sectional, quasi-longitudinal and longitudinal analyses using corpus-based analytical techniques. The size of the corpus at present is approximately 1.3 million words. It is expected that the corpus will begrammatically tagged in the near future, which will allow more in-depth empirical studies of second language development. The project was initiated thanks to a University Research Initiative Grant sponsored by the Office of Research and Sponsored Projects at UTEP.
Past projects have included:
Survey of Bilingual Proficiency : This VCLA project surveys parents and their children to measure intergenerational proficiency in two languages.
Effects of English L2 Acquisition : This investigation looks at the effects on several Spanish syntactic phenomena of the acquisitionand increasing use of English.
Habitual Events : Habitual and on-going events may be coded similarly or differently, but not in exactly parallel ways in Spanish and English. This project investigates the differences between monolingual and bilingual children.
Hidden Objects: Language and mind develop in tandem. This project uses an experiment involving access to hidden objects to measure children's understanding of expressions of certainty versus those that attribute a source of information.
Mutual Exclusivity : Children are claimed to operate under an assumption that different words necessarily code different referents. This project investigates the accuracy of mutual exclusivity in 3-yr. old bilingual children.
Particle Verb Acquisition : Verb–particle acquisition intersects with a number of grammatical phenomena. This project investigates acquisition of English verb-particle combinations in bilingual children.
Acquisition of Interrogatives and Negatives: Interrogatives and negatives display significant differences between English and Spanish. This investigation probes their acquisition in bi- and monolingual Spanish-speaking children.
Trust and Reliability : Children must learn how to evaluate the accuracy of information. One way to do that is evaluation of the source of the information. This project uses innovative computer animations in an experimental situation to measure children's attention to the source of information.