My current work involves the testing and assessment of communicative ability on the part of speakers of ESL, as they progress through the ECU Language Academy. By quantitatively modeling the performance differentials of speakers of ESL at different stages of their learning process, we can better identify factors that are predictive of their eventual success in the program.
Additionally, I also provide consulting services for individual and organizations seeking to improve communicative skills, as well as those seeking a quantitative assessment of communicative efficacy.
I have also presented or published work in the following areas: language documentation, language activism, Participatory Action Research (PAR) approaches to linguistic research, motion/path constructions, and semantic typology. Please see my CV for more details.
As a continuing research interest for the last five years, I’ve been working on the semantics of spatial language. This initially included collaborative work on spatial path and its formal syntactic representation in Bangla (Eastern Indo-Aryan) and English, as well as topological constructions in Wolof (Niger-Congo family). Those research interests, as well as a graduate seminar on spatial cognition at Purdue University, eventually led to my participation in a large, collaborative, experimental project: Mesospace.
Part of my contribution identifies the preferred spatial frames of reference and meronymy system for speakers of Sumu-Mayangna (Misumalpan family) (S-M), an indigenous and endangered language of the RAAN territory of Nicaragua. Additionally, I have expanded this work to a comparative study of spatial language use in two varieties of Spanish: Nicaraguan Spanish (NS) and Barcelona Spanish (BS).
Using a generalized logit mixed model analysis, this work also establishes when the three language cohorts (S-M, NS, and BS) behave differently from one another with respect to particular FoR response types. Language and environment are both common predictors of spatial FoR performance, with the language factor being significant in the majority of instances. Demographic factors were found to play a negligible role as predictors in the models, with the exception of ‘age’. The age of a participant was found to be a significant predictor of their usage of the absolute spatial FoR response within the Sumu-Mayangna cohort (to the exclusion of the Spanish varieties, which did not productively manifest the absolute response type).