Undergraduate Research in Language Sciences

Undergraduate students Eleanor Sand and Leksi Scarr presenting their research at a conference in Norway

One of the things we are most proud of in our program is the impressive number of undergraduate students who go beyond the classroom and conduct original research in language sciences. Participating in research is a valuable and enriching experience for our students, and we are fortunate to have a wide variety of language science research labs on campus providing opportunities for this type of student engagement. Some students also work one-on-one with a professor as part of an individualized research study. Many of these students go on to present their findings at academic conferences or workshops around the country and even the world.

As we’re approaching the end of the year, here is a little “year in review” of undergraduate research by Linguistics majors in 2022!

Trisha Saxena presented “The Low Back Vowel Merger in Wisconsin English: Examining Merger in Heritage Speakers of South Asian Languages” at the undergraduate conference Cultural Connections: Languages and Cultures of the Upper Midwest, which was held at UW-Eau Claire in April. Trisha had been working with Professor Joe Salmons on this project as an independent study.

Undergraduate students Eleanor Sand and Leksi Scarr traveled across the Atlantic to present joint work on the acquisition of semantics with Jacee Cho of the Second Language Acquisition Lab. The conference was Generative Approaches to Second Language Acquisition 16, held in Trondheim, Norway in May, and the title of their poster was “Conversational Implicature for Definite Plurals in L2-English.”

Honors in the Major student Eleanor Sand was also the recipient of a $2500 Honors Summer Sophomore Research Apprenticeship Grant in 2022, with Professor Jacee Cho as PI. For her project, titled “Conversational Implicature for Definite Plurals in L2-English by Chinese and Spanish speakers,” Eleanor worked on a continuation of the study that the Cho, Sand, & Scarr team presented in Norway.

Several Lang Sci faculty and students attended the 54th Algonquian Conference, which took place October 20-23, 2022 in Boulder, Colorado. This included undergraduate students Andrew Kline, Leksi Scarr, and Jennifer Stoughton, who presented their collaborative research with Professor Monica Macaulay on prenouns and preverbs in Menominee:

  • “A New Look at Prenouns in Menominee.” Leksi Scarr
  • “Menominee Preverb Ordering Revisited.” Andrew Kline, Monica Macaulay, and Jennifer Stoughton

We are incredibly proud of these students and their achievements!