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Personal profile

Personal profile

I was born in Mar del Plata, Argentina and completed my undergraduate university education in Argentina. I received a Masters in English from the University of Cincinnati and a PhD in Linguistics from McGill University in Montreal, Canada. I have been a professor in SUNY-Albany and I came to the University of Illinois last century, in 1999.

I am a Professor in the Department of Spanish, Italian and Portuguese and in the Department of Linguistics.


PhD. McGill University, Montreal

Research Interests

Second language acquisition
heritage language acquisition

Professional Information

Grounded in linguistic theory and using psycholinguistic methodologies,my research explores the following theoretical issues:

  1. the linguistic nature of interlanguage and bilingual grammars
  2. the role of the “other” language in the acquisition or loss of a language
  3. the reasons why some L2 learners/bilinguals reach the level of proficiency and linguistic knowledge of native speakers while others fall short of that level even when optimal conditions for learning are provided,
  4. the linguistic selectivity of acquisition and loss, or why linguistic “success” or “failure” affects certain grammatical areas (vocabulary, sounds, meaning, verb endings, and discourse) but not others (sentence structure)
  5. the differences and similarities between linguistic processes attested in second language acquisition and bilingualism and other developmental processes typical of historicallanguage change and first language acquisition.

Honors & Awards

University Scholar 2013


National Science Foundation, Linguistics and International Programs. PI: Silvina Montrul, Co-PIs: Rakesh Bhatt and Roxana Girju. (Proposal No. BCS-0917593, ARRA). Research project title: Differential Object Marking in Spanish, Hindi and Romanian Heritage Speakers. Amount $303,444 for three years.


LING 514 Research Design and Statistics
SPAN 307 Bilingualism
SPAN/LING 588 Seminar in Second Language Acquisition
LING 529: Second Language Acquisition and Bilingualism
LING 489: Theoretical Foundations of Second Language Acquisition
SPAN 252: Introduction to Hispanic Linguistics

Office Address

University of Illinois
Dept. of Linguistics, MC-168
707 South Mathews Avenue
Urbana, IL 61801

Office: 4120 Foreign Languages Bldg.

Office Phone


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