Lorenzo García-Amaya

Department of Romance Languages and Literatures · University of Michigan
Modern Languages Building - 812 E. Washington Street, Ann Arbor, MI 47405
lgarciaa@umich.edu

I'm a linguist working primarily in the fields of Second Language Acquisition, Psycholinguistics and Sociophonetics. Most generally, my research focuses on the development of fluency and cognitive abilities by second language learners and how cognitive processing abilities affect second language speech development. I am particularly interested in the developmental differences between learners who have and have not participated in abroad learning experiences.


Research

From Africa To Patagonia: Voices of Displacement

In 1902, a group of South African inmigrants with farming experience arrived to Buenos Aires with the mission to settle in the arid lands of Patagonia. More than a century later, Afrikaans is still spoken in the farms and cities near where the first Boer settlement took place. The present speakers of Afrikaans are the last generation of bilingual speakers of Afrikaans and Spanish in Patagonia, creating a rather unique Spanish-Afrikaans language contact situation. This project is a collaborative effort with other colleagues from the University of Michigan.

Check out our website!

March 2016 - Present

The relationship between proficiency and cognitive abilities in an L2 under contexts of L1 inhibition

Do L2 learners with better working memory resources benefit from learning contexts where the L1 is inhibited? If so, how? This project examines individual differences in Second Language Acquisition and the specific relationship between cognitive abilities and different dimensions of L2 acquisition such as degree of proficiency.

The effects of an L2 intensive immersion experience on L1 attentional resources: A comparative study of two learning contexts

There is growing interest in SLA to understand the relationship between cognitive abilities and fluency, or oral speech production, in a second language. This project addresses the development of this relationship with learners who do and do not have previous abroad experience.

Second language learning in different contexts: Freed and Collentine’s Language Contact Profile revisited

Although there are a number of questionnaires that address specific language use in different learning contexts, the Language Contact Profile designed by Freed, Dewey, Segalowitz, & Halter (2004) is one of the most comprehensive and widely used in the field. This research project is an attempt to revisit Freed et al.'s questionnaire, taking into account the particulars of short intensive immersion programs.

The relationship between hesitation phenomena, discourse markers and clause types in the oral production of second language learners across three learning contexts

It is well-known to those that interact with L2 learners that L2 speakers hesitate more in their L2 than in their L1. However, it is not so clear what happens to such hesitation phenomena. Are such hesitation slots permanent? Do they change or become substituted over time as L2 sytactic complexity develops? This project accounts for this development in L2 learners with experience from three different learning contexts.

Components to L2 fluency: Using statistics to see what really matters to listerners & Understanding rhythm as an essential component of speech in SLA and Bilingualism

What is fluency? Previous literature provides a variety of metrics to account for speech production, but we still need to undestand which metrics really matter to listeners, if this varies, and if so, why is this the case? This project also looks at rhythm as a possible component in the development of fluency.


Teaching

Core Courses:

SP487 - The Acquisition of Spanish in a Study Abroad Setting

This is a three-credit course that provides an introduction to Second Language Acquisition (i.e., SLA) in general, and more specifically, to the acquisition of Spanish in different learning contexts, particularly the Study Abroad context. This course covers an introduction to Second Language Acquisition and the origins of this field of research, as well as important aspects that influence second language learner outcomes in different learning contexts. Specifically, the acquisition of grammatical abilities, pragmatic and communicative abilities as well as the development of fluency and cognitive abilities and the lexicon in different learning contexts. Other aspects such as the type of instruction in the Study Abroad setting and cultural adaptations to different learning contexts are alsoaddressed in the course. The goal of this course is to provide students with a level of knowledge that enables them to succeed in future Spanish linguistics courses and in careers involving knowledge of the L2 learning process as well as in the study abroad context.

Winter 2013

SP418 - Theories of Second Language Acquisition

This course provides an introduction to Second Language Acquisition (i.e., SLA) in general, and more specifically, to the acquisition of Spanish by second language learners. Thus, the content includes the most relevant theories of Second Language Acquisition as well as research in L2 Spanish. Students will apply their knowledge of course content in various data analysis activities, quizzes, exams, and a final research paper. The goal of this course is to provide students with a level of knowledge that enables them to succeed in future Spanish linguistics courses and in careers involving knowledge of the L2 learning process.

Fall 2012 - Winter 2016

SP413 - Methods of Teaching Spanish

This is a three-credit course that provides an introduction to second language learning and teaching with a particular emphasis on L2 Spanish. Students are introduced to the most relevant theories of second language learning and to different teaching methodologies that have developed from these theories. In this course students will have the opportunity to learn how to effectively teach various linguistics skills and put that knowledge into practice with their classroom peers. The goal of this course is to provide students with a level of knowledge that enables them to succeed in future SLA/linguistics courses and in careers involving knowledge of second language learning development and foreign language teaching.

Fall 2013 - Winter 2016

SP298 - Introduction to Spanish Linguistics

This is a three-credit course that provides an introduction to Spanish Linguistics and establishes the basis for future application of linguistic principles. The content included is an overview of basic linguistic properties with a focus on Spanish. First students are introduced basic principles and concepts in linguistic theory and linguistic structure, to later examine the linguistic structure of the Spanish language based on the following fields of linguistic inquiry: word formation (morphology), word order (syntax), the sound system (phonetics and phonology), history of the language, and second language acquisition. The goal of this course is to provide students with a level of knowledge that enables them to succeed in future Spanish Linguistics courses.

Fall 2012 - Fall 2016

Other Courses Taught:

SP499 - Undergraduate Honors Thesis

In Winter 2015, I mentored Bryan Frederick's Honors Thesis entitled The effect of learning context on the acquisition of L2 spirantization, which investigates whether intensive immersion contexts may help to overcome the difficulties of equivalence classification for Spanish /b,d,g/.

Winter 2015

SP435 - Independent Study

This is a three-credit course that enable students interested in linguistics to pursue a topic of their academic interest conducting a research project throughout a semester. Recent projects include the following: Andrés Espinoza studied the development of cognitive abilities in a study abroad context Winter 2014. Angeline Gonyea & Yumi Masuda studied the development of syntactic complexity in L2 learners of Spanish in Fall 2014, and Sarah Awad-Farid, Stephen Daniels, & Jeremy Neuman invesigated the development of the perception of foreign access in Winter 2013

Winter 2013 - Winter 2014

SP428 - Internship Abroad

This is a three-credit course for an internship that involves the extensive use of Spanish in a country in which Spanish is the primary language. Internships take place during the Spring and Summer terms only, and students registered for the class during the following Fall term.

Fall 2014 - Fall 2015

SP299 - Internship Abroad

This is a three-credit course for an internship that involves the extensive use of Spanish in a country in which Spanish is the primary language. Internships take place during the Spring and Summer terms only, and students registered for the class during the following Fall term.

Fall 2014 - Fall 2015

Undergraduate Research Opportunities Projects

The UROP program is an extremely rewarding experience for undergraduate student researchers and their faculty mentors. Here is a list of students who have collaborated with me on various projects. For additional information, you can visit the RLL Speech Production Lab.

2014-2015

Lauren Guldan, Aaron Keyes, Alec Hall

2013-2014

Paul Akande, Sara Drlik, Bryan Frederick, Lauren Guldan, Aaron Keyes, Sandra Zadeyeh

2012-2013

Maya Adamczyk, Monique Becker, Sara Drlik, Andrés Espinoza, Bryan Frederick, Emily Plumley, Amanda Said, Thomas Sorek, Megan Spencer


Study Abroad

The study abroad context offers unique opportunities for learners to improve their linguistic skills (and many other aspects related to their cultural competence), as well as for researchers to study many aspects of second language development.

Past Study Abroad Programs

  • 2017 Salamanca, University of Michigan, Instructor
  • 2014-2015, 2017Salamanca, University of Michigan, Instructor
  • 2012 Toledo, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Director
  • 2005-2010 León, Indiana University, Director

I also coordinate the Spanish internships abroad in RLL. We offer a three-credit course for an internship that involves the extensive use of Spanish in a country in which Spanish is the primary language. The LSA International Internship Program places students into six- to twelve week internships abroad. My students have worked for a companies, public hospitals, and NGOs in a diverse set of Spanish-speaking countires. For more information abour their experiences abroad, please visit our blog: Spanish Internship 2016

The pictures surrounding this text were taken by students of mine who have participated on different Study Abroad/Internship experiences over the years. Enjoy!