Rachel Robinson ’12, applied linguistics, and Germán Westphal, professor of modern language and linguistics, will present a paper they co-authored at the International Congress of the Chilean Linguistics Society, which will be held in Valparaíso, Chile, November 9-11, 2010
The paper is titled “Introducción a un Modelo Teórico de Adquisición de Segundas Lenguas” (Introduction to a Theoretical Model of Second Language Acquisition), and it develops a theoretical approach to second language acquisition. Westphal has been working with this topic in the context of current linguistic research, and the paper includes a discussion of the neurological correlates that Robinson has identified as empirical evidence in favor of such approach.
Robinson’s initial work on the topic was completed as a term paper for LING 470, Language and Cognition, which was taught by Westphal in the spring of 2011. She revised, expanded and refined her LING 470 work over the summer for presentation at the international conference. Upon her return from Chile, Robinson will present a summary of her findings in the Language Acquisition section of LING 190, a course also taught by Westphal.
Robinson is currently researching child language acquisition pertaining to comprehension of syntactic structures that are not overtly realized in her two-year old son’s utterances, but fully understood by him. After graduation from UMBC, Robinson intends to pursue graduate work in neuroscience.