Faculty

Gabriela Alfaraz

Gabriela is Associate Professor of Spanish and is the director of the MA in Applied Spanish Linguistics. Her main research interests are language variation and change in Spanish varieties of the insular Caribbean, the influence of immigration and dialect contact on Caribbean varieties in the US context, and patterns of language use in bilingual speech communities.

Silvina Bongiovanni

Silvina  earned a dual-PhD in Linguistics and in Hispanic Linguistics from Indiana University. Her research employs fine-tuned phonetic analysis to investigate variation in sound systems and connects these analyses to issues in sociolinguistics. Her primary focus of inquiry explores variation in nasality (i.e. sounds that are produced with air passing through the nose as well as the mouth), both in vowels and in consonants. In her dissertation, she examined dialectal and phonological differences in anticipatory vowel nasalization (when the nasal consonant follows the vowel, e.g. pan /pán/ ‘bread’) in Dominican and Argentine Spanish by comparing how nasality changes over time (i.e. time-course) and if the word-final nasal consonant is weakened. One important finding was that Spanish anticipatory vowel nasalization and nasal weakening co-vary, but one is not a pre-requisite for the other. Silvina has also researched the merger between /ɲ/ and /nj/ (e.g. huraño ‘unsociable’ vs. uranio‘uranium’) in Buenos Aires Spanish. She found that older males produce a contrast, whereas females do not, which suggests that women are leading the sound change. Additionally, she has carried out corpus studies examining sociolinguistic distribution of phonological variants (e.g. aceptarvs. ace[k]tar vs. acetar‘to accept’), the link between frequency of phonotactic collocations (i.e. combinations of consonants) and phonological variation. She is also interested in the acquisition of phonological systems by second language speakers and have examined the impact of learning context (study abroad vs. at-home) on development of L2 sound system .

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Brahim Chakrani   

Brahim is an Assistant Professor teaching Arabic and Arab Culture at MSU. He received his doctorate in linguistics from the University of Illinois at Chicago, and he is interested in sociolinguistics, discourse analysis and second language learning. 

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Peter De Costa

Peter is Assistant Professor in the Department of Linguistics and Languages. He is part of the core faculty within the Second Language Studies Ph.D. Program and the Master of Arts in TESOL Program. His primary area of research is the role of identity and ideology in second language acquisition (SLA), though he researches other issues in applied linguistics, including English as a lingua franca, critical classroom discourse analysis, and culturally relevant pedagogy for immigrant ESL learners. Much of his current work focuses on conducting ethical applied linguistic research and sociolinguistic scales.

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Xiaoshi Li

Xiaoshi Li is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Linguistics and Languages. She received her PhD in Culture, Literacy, and Language at the University of Texas at San Antonio. Her dissertation is on the acquisition of sociolinguistic competence by learners of Chinese (Mandarin) as a second language, with a particular focus on the acquisition of sociolinguistic variation in the target language. She has also been doing research in Chinese language and culture, applied linguistics, and intercultural issues in second language teaching and learning. Xiaoshi Li has extensive teaching and research experiences in both China and the United States. Her research interests include second language learning/teaching; sociolinguistics; Chinese language and culture; intercultural communication. 

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Carol Myers-Scotton

Carol is now affiliated with Michigan State University as an adjunct professor in the Department of Linguistics and Languages, and also a visiting scholar at the MSU African Studies Center. She retired in 2003 from the University of South Carolina where she was a Carolina Distinguished Professor. Her specializations include language contact, often dealing with the Bantu languages of Eastern and Southern Africa; also sociolinguistics (especially socio-pragmatics). She is best known for her studies on codeswitching.

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Camelia Suleiman

Camelia Suleiman is Assistant Professor of Arabic. She has a Ph.D. in Linguistics from Georgetown University, specializing in sociolinguistics. Her research interest is in the area of language and identity in relation to gender, politicians’ use of language in the media, and national identity. Her articles have appeared in a variety of journals including PragmaticsJournal of Psycholinguistic ResearchMiddle East Critique and Middle East Journal of Culture and Communication. Her book, Language and Identity in the Israel-Palestine Conflict: The Politics of Self-Perception was published in 2011 by I.B. Tauris. She is now working on ‘Arabic and national identity’ in relation to the post-Arab Spring Middle East.

Chantal Tetreault

Chantal Tetreault is Assistant Professor of Anthropology. Her recent work has primarily focused on issues of migration and social change in France. She is currently looking at the interactional styles whereby French adolescents of Algerian descent construct and express their emergent identities as Arab Muslims and French youth. She analyzes instances of “crossing,” that is, when individuals adopt and transform linguistic styles that are normally ascribed to a group to which they are not granted membership.

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Suzanne Evans Wagner

Suzanne Wagner is Associate Professor of Linguistics. She is interested in language change across the lifespan, especially the late adolescence/young adult life-stage, and its intersection with community-level language change. She has published in, among other venues, Language Variation and Change, Language in Society and Language & Communication. She is a co-editor of Routledge Studies in Language Change, and co-Area Editor of the sociolinguistics section of Linguistics Vanguard.

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