Justin Davidson

Assistant Professor of Spanish and Romance Linguistics

Ph.D., University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2015. Spanish Linguistics, Romance linguistics, SLATE (Second Language Acquisition and Teacher Education).

Research Expertise and Interest

Sociolinguistics, contact linguistics and language contact, language variation and change, Romance linguistics, quantitative methods (statistics, variable rule analyses for sociolinguistics, and computer software for statistics), sociohistorical linguistics, sociophonetics, bilingualism, Catalan, Spanish, dialectal diversification, foreign language pedagogy.

Research Profile

My main research agenda is guided by questions that primarily address language variation and language change in contact situations, specifically as linked to the empirical assessment of linguistic influence (via language contact), incorporating a variety of linguistic frameworks and methodologies. In particular, I have explored bi-directional effects of language contact between Spanish and Catalan manifested phonetically in the speech of the diverse community of Catalan-Spanish bilingual speakers in Barcelona, Spain. I am interested in the dynamics of language use in bilingual speech communities, particularly as a consequence of a complex interplay between both linguistic and social factors, and my research aims to account for why, as well as by what processes certain linguistic features (and not others) propagate throughout the wider community of speakers. Central to this line of research is the pursuit of the best quantitative models in sociolinguistics, from which I have developed a vested interest in evaluating (and combining) various statistical toolkits. I have additionally published on the diachronic development of diaspora varieties of Catalan from a framework of sociohistorical linguistics, as well as the variable acquisition of Spanish inflectional morphology by U.S. heritage speakers and L2-learners using empirical methodologies informed by the fields of second language acquisition and psycholinguistics.

Active On-Site Project

As of Fall 2016, the Corpus of Bay Area Spanish (CBAS) is underway. Data collection, in the form of both formal (3-4 word phrase readings) and informal (casual interview) Spanish speech, is ongoing and responds to specific questions regarding Spanish-English language contact as manifested in the diverse population of Spanish-speakers living in the Bay Area (corresponding to approximately 25% of the total Bay Area population according to recent Census data). Though initial linguistic analysis will focus on acoustic (phonetic) elements of Bay Area Spanish from perspectives of Variationist Sociolinguistics and Contact Linguistics, the creation of a formal and online-accessible Corpus will permit future analyses on multiple linguistic features (from phonology/phonetics to morphosyntax and the lexicon, etc.) from a diverse set of linguistic perspectives, including Second Language Acquisition and Heritage Language Acquisition.

For prospective and current undergraduate and graduate students, the CBAS project offers the opportunity to engage first-hand in corpus-based sociolinguistic research. Undergraduate and graduate students are openly invited to collaborate in participant recruitment and actual data collection (i.e., meet with participants and conduct interview sessions to record speech) along with ongoing data analysis, leading to possibilities for advanced (Hispanic) Linguistics undergraduate research in the form of a Senior Thesis, or, for graduate students in (Hispanic) Linguistics, opportunities for professional research and publications. Interested students should contact me via e-mail for an appointment to discuss CBAS collaboration.

Participants interested in contributing to the CBAS project should review the CBAS recruitment flyer below, and contact me at the e-mail address provided.

CBAS_Flyer

CBAS_Flyer

 

CV