Julia Herschensohn (she/her/hers)

Professor Emerita
Julia Herschensohn photo

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PhD, Linguistics, University of Washington, 1976
MA, French, University of California, Santa Barbara, 1970
Curriculum Vitae (298.37 KB)

Prof. Herschensohn’s publications span the areas of generative syntax, second language acquisition theory, and applied linguistics, especially in the Romance languages (synchronic and diachronic). The main areas of specialization are theoretical syntax and nonnative language learning, linked in her current research dealing with language processing and age effects. She is interested in how monolinguals and bilinguals (child and adult learners) understand and produce the grammatical aspects of speech such as agreement, displacement and coreference.

Her recent articles explore the role of Universal Grammar and the nature of morphology learning in second language acquisition, through an examination of adult and child L2 French and Spanish learners. These articles expand the idea that second language acquisition may draw on aspects of UG, and that L2A is accomplished through the progressive mastery of morpho-lexical constructions and with the use of a coalition of resources (e.g. UG constraints, cognitive learning strategies). She has collaborated with Cheryl Frenck-Mestre and Nuria Sagarra in studies of French and Spanish gender acquisition and processing by Anglophone learners without gender in their native language. She has also contributed to work by colleague Lee Osterhout using ERPs to study L2 acquisition of French. Ongoing research with colleague Deborah Arteaga examines longitudinal data of three advanced French L2 learners to ascertain development of L2 competence, particularly acquisition of verbal and nominal inflection, verb raising, and object clitics. They have also collaborated on several articles dealing with the diachronic development and synchronic analysis of Old French.

Her 2022 book, Bilingualism, Language Development and Processing across the Lifespan, was published by John Benjamins. She and colleague Ana Fernández-Dobao continue their data collection from 9-11 year old heritage language and second language learners in Seattle Public Schools' Spanish-English Dual Language Immersion program.


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