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Graduate student Isabel Deibel accepts position at Duolingo!

Congratulations to Isabel Deibel, who has recently accepted a position with Duolingo as a Polyglot/Linguist/Curriculum Designer. Best of luck Isabel!

Congratulations to Priscila López-Beltrán Forcada, on receiving a Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement Award from the National Science Foundation (NSF) Linguistics Program

Congratulations to Priscila López-Beltrán Forcada, on receiving a Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement Award from the National Science Foundation (NSF) Linguistics Program (2/2020-1/2022)! The title and abstract can be found below: 

Title: Heritage speakers processing of the Spanish subjunctive during online comprehension: A pupillometric study.

Summary: Within heritage language research, the Spanish subjunctive mood is perhaps the most studied construction. The vast majority of studies have concluded that heritage speakers’ knowledge of the Spanish subjunctive is subject to incomplete acquisition, language loss or simplification. Recently, however, several sociolinguistic studies have challenged deficit-oriented perspectives, providing evidence that, while different from that of monolingual native speakers, heritage speakers’ linguistic knowledge is by no means deficient. Given this disconnect between previous research and recent sociolinguistic findings, the proposed project employs a usage-based approach to integrate sociolinguistic data into the design of two psycholinguistic experiments that will examine heritage speakers’ processing of the subjunctive during online comprehension in long-standing bilingual communities in Albuquerque (NM), where Spanish is not in flux but, rather, maintained across generations. Two questions will be addressed: (1) To what degree are heritage speakers who live in a long-standing bilingual community sensitive to the linguistic factors (lexical and structural) constraining mood selection in Spanish? Experiment 1 will investigate lexical factors and Experiment 2 will examine structural factors, and (2) To what degree do social factors modulate heritage speakers’ sensitivity to mood selection? This question will be addressed by including sociolinguistic data obtained through a sociolinguistic interview and a language background questionnaire in generalized additive mixed-effects models.

Present your research at the Penn State Pan-African Professional Alliance 2020 conference!

Please join Pan-APA for its 4th annual conference whose theme is "African Innovation: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow," which will take place March 28, 2020 at Penn State. Please see the attached document for more information about presenting at and attending the conference, and feel free to circulate it to those who may be interested. This is a great opportunity to present your research to a wide and diverse audience. For more information on how to apply, please visit the Penn State Pan-African Professional Alliance website. 

Students from IT 470 (Italian Ghost Storytelling) among winning writers of Penn State University Libraries 2019 Short Stories' "Brunchin' Around"

The department of Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese would like to congratulate the students of IT 470 (Italian Ghost Storytelling) who participated in the Penn State University Libraries Short Stories' "Brunchin' Around" in the fall of 2019. To read more about their achievements, check out the Penn State News article

PSUxLing6 submissions due February 1st

The Department of Spanish, Italian and Portuguese is pleased to announce the sixth annual Penn State Undergraduate Exhibition in Hispanic and General Linguistics (PSUxLing) to be held on Friday, April 3rd 2020. PSUxLing is an annual conference that is dedicated to promoting excellence in undergraduate research in linguistics. The first PSUxLing took place on October 6th, 2014, and was attended by over 100 faculty, graduate, and undergraduate linguists. The conference website can be found here:

We invite undergraduate students to submit up to one single-authored and one jointly-authored abstract for consideration. Abstracts should be between 350 and 500 words long, not including references, and should be submitted using the Abstract Submission. The submission deadline is February 1, 2020.

During PSUxLing, undergraduate linguists have the opportunity to present their research at a two-hour poster session, as well as attend two keynote talks by leading researchers in our field. The 2020 keynote speakers are Dr. Gillian Lord (University of Florida) and Dr. Esther Brown (University of Colorado). More information about our speakers, as well as abstracts for their presentations, is available on the PSUxLing6 Website.

PSUxLing is an excellent opportunity for undergraduate linguists from across the country to meet other linguists, share ! their own research, and gain further knowledge of the field of! linguist! ics. While only current undergraduate students are eligible to present their work, everyone is welcome to attend! Travel awards of $300 to $800 will be awarded to students whose abstracts score the highest during the review process and who are traveling from outside Penn State

Sherry Roush (Professor of Italian) named recipient of two prestigious grants

The department is thrilled to announce that Sherry Roush, Professor of Italian, has been named a recipient of two prestigious grants--one from the National Endowment for the Arts in LiteraryTranslation and another one from the National Endowment for the Humanities-- to complete the first-ever English translation of Caviceo's Peregrino. A news item in Penn State Today will appear in the next few weeks.

Call for applications: Judith Kroll Undergraduate Student Research Award

The Judith Kroll Undergraduate Student Research Award supports undergraduate student research by providing funding for research costs or for travel to conferences for the purpose of presenting their research. More information, including detailed instructions on how to prepare and submit applications, appears in the following announcement on the CLS webpage, with the following two modifications. The deadline for this year's proposals will be Monday, February 10, 2020. Applications should be sent to . Decisions will be made and applicants notified by the end of February. Interested students should consult with their CLS faculty mentors and visit the Center for Language Science for more information. 

Staff Assistant Heather Rutten recipient of the College of the Liberal Arts Rising Star Award

Heather Rutten, a staff assistant in the Undergraduate Student Services area, has been notified that she is the recipient of the College of the Liberal Arts Rising Star Award.

This award recognizes staff members who have been with the College less than 2 years but who already demonstrate passion and quality in their work as well as exemplifying professionalism and dedication to the mission of their work area and the College.   

We are so happy and proud that her outstanding abilities are being recognized! Heather will be receiving her award at the College of the Liberal Arts Staff Awards Reception on Tuesday, February 18th, 2020.

Come develop your professional skills at the Liberal Arts Career Week!

Liberal Arts Career Week Career Development

Liberal Arts Career Week (January 27-31, 2020), is a week-long event designed to provide students with opportunities to develop professional skills and provide networking opportunities that will support their future career paths. By participating in this week’s employer and alumni panels, workshops, and networking events, students can learn skills needed to embark on their career journey and achieve success in their professional lives.

Join the Liberal Arts Career Enrichment Network and take advantage of all the great events and networking opportunities!

Teaching professors Lyvia Valentín Pagano and Jason Laine promoted!

Congratulations to two outstanding colleagues, who have recently been promoted! Lyvia Valentín Pagano has been promoted to the rank of Assistant Teaching Professor of Spanish and Jason Laine has been promoted to the rank of Associate Teaching Professor of Italian. 

The Human Rights Campaign 2019 Municipal Equality Index launches in State College

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) civil rights organization has recently launched its national 2019 Municipal Equality Index (MEI) in State College, Pennsylvania, at a press conference on Tuesday, November 19, 2020 ET in the City Council Chambers. Articles regarding the event can be found at and WPSU, as well as the live-streamed press release

The MEI is the only nationwide assessment of LGBTQ inclusiveness in municipal laws, policies and services. State College was chosen for the MEI launch because it achieved a high score (100), despite being located in a state without fully-inclusive LGBTQ non-discrimination protections. 

Cities rated in the MEI are assessed on their LGBTQ-inclusive laws and policies, including non-discrimination laws; municipal employment policies, including transgender-inclusive insurance coverage and non-discrimination requirements for contractors; inclusiveness of city services; law enforcement, including hate crimes reporting; and municipal leadership on matters of equality. Borja Gutiérrez, an Assistant Teaching Professor of Spanish, is the Vice Chair of State College’s Advisory Committee on LGBTQ Matters in this organization. He worked with State College Borough Manager and former Mayor Goreham when he was the 2016-2018 Chair of the President's Commission on LGBTQ Equity to establish the Borough of State College's LGBTQ Advisory Board, which worked on many of the policies, laws and services that garnered State College's high score.

Graduate Student Isabel Deibel's paper, "The contribution of grammar and lexicon to language switching costs: Examining contact-induced languages" recently published in Bilingualism: Language and Cognition

Congratulations to Isabel Deibel, whose paper "The contribution of grammar and lexicon to language switching costs: Examining contact-induced languages and their implications for theories of language representation", has recently published in Bilingualism: Language and Cognition. 

Leah Daekins' study abroad experiences featured in the Daily American

Layne Deakins, an undergraduate double majoring in Italian and English, has recently written of her experiences studying abroad in Italy. Click on the links below to read about her travels!

1. Life abroad in Southern Italy
2. Off the beaten strada - Italy's hidden treasures
3. From strangers to Amici - The people of southern Italy 

Graduate student Juliana Cruz Martinez awarded a Mellon Mays Graduate Studies Enhancement Fellowship!

Congratulations to Juliana Cruz Martinez who was awarded a Mellon Mays Graduate Studies Enhancement Fellowship (Andrew W. Mellon Foundation). She will use the funding to support travel to Puerto Rico during Summer 2020 to collect data with adult speakers on their variable pluralization of existential 'haber'. 

Assistant Teaching Professor of Spanish Borja Gutiérrez featured in Penn State News!

Borja Gutiérrez, an Assistant Teaching Professor of Spanish, has recently been featured discussing Alternative Breaks (a program designed to facilitates student-led service trips throughout the academic year focused on promoting social justice, fostering active citizenship, and building community) in Penn State News. 

If you are interested in getting involved or would like to encourage your students to participate, you can contact , or the of Alternative Breaks for more information.


Congratulations to our promoted faculty!

Congratulations to our promoted faculty, who were recently featured in Penn State News

Congratulations to Professor Matthew Marr, who is this year's winner of the James Whiston Prize for his article "(Im)mobility at the Movies: el paro, Property and Prosthesis in Álex de la Iglesia’s 'La chispa de la vida' (2011)"

His article was published in the April 2019 issue of the Bulletin of Spanish Visual Studies. The prize is awarded by the Editors for the most outstanding article in any subject area published in the Bulletin of Spanish Studies or the sibling journal the Bulletin of Spanish Visual Studies.
The panel judged his article to be the most innovative and intellectually rigorous of those nominated, with the potential to become an essential point of reference in the field.

Congratulations to Professor Giuli Dussias, who has been awarded a 2019 Faculty Scholar Medal!

The Faculty Scholar Medal is one of the highest honors that Penn State confers on the most outstanding researchers.

Dussias approaches the study of language as a social science. The learning of language, including speed of learning, formulation of accents and depth of vocabulary, is influenced by social interactions and exposure to that language. The evolution of a language is also influenced by that process.

Dussias is a leader in creating a new field of learning, one that differs from the traditional study of linguistics, which analyzes language meaning, evolution, phonetics and grammar. Dussias’ work is changing the way we study language, nominators said.

Dussias researches people who are learning a second language because she is interested in knowing how that second language influences the use of the first. Her research shows that extensive use of a second language can change first language syntax and usage. This finding demonstrates that there is far greater brain plasticity throughout the lifespan than previously understood.

She’s also interested in learning how age affects the language learning process. Can adult second language learners achieve the same mastery of a second language as young learners? she asks in her research. “The common wisdom in the field was that the answer was ‘no,’” said a nominator. “However, Dussias has shown through her research that adults can master grammar and attain near native fluency just as younger learners can.”

Dussias also studies ‘code-switching,’ a common feature of bilingual discourse whereby bilinguals switch languages right in the middle of spoken or written sentences. Her research shows that code-switching is governed by rules that are not necessarily derived from either language. That finding “provides a fresh perspective on what bilingual speakers view as possible switch points in bilingual speech,” a nominator said. For Dussias, the multilingual speaker is seeing as a model for understanding the way that language experience shapes the mind and the brain.

“To answer questions like this, Dussias has developed experimental methods that use eye-tracking and measure brain activity while bilingual speakers undertake specific kinds of tasks,” a nominator said. “These methods have transformed the research that bilingualism scholars do, allowing much broader generalization about the bilingual brain in different social contexts.”

Congratulations to five outstanding SIP instructors for their promotion to Associate Teaching Professor

Michele Rossi- Promoted to Associate Teaching Professor of Italian
Joseph Bauman- Promoted to Associate Teaching Professor of Spanish
Rosa Osborne- Promoted to Assistant Teaching Professor of Spanish
Misty Pursel- Promoted to Assistant Teaching Professor of Spanish
Miguel Ramírez-Bernal- Promoted to Assistant Teaching Professor of Spanish