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The SLA Lab was founded in 2014 in order to investigate the nature of second language acquisition mechanisms from a cognitive perspective, including formal linguistic and psycholinguistic approaches.

Research focus and goals

Research in the SLA lab seeks to investigate the process of second language acquisition from a cognitive perspective, including formal linguistic and psycholinguistic approaches. The main goal of the SLA lab is to bring together faculty and students who are interested in experimental linguistics, with a special focus on L2 syntax/semantics and L2 sentence processing.

The main questions investigated in this lab are:

  1. How first language (L1) and second language (L2) interact with each other in the process of L2 acquisition
  2. How L2 grammar and meaning are represented in the minds of L2 speakers
  3. How different types of meaning (grammatical, sentential, and pragmatic) are calculated in the L1 and L2? What affects the acquisition of L2 meaning (e.g., L1 influence, linguistic complexity, processing complexity)?

 Current projects:

  • The Acquisition of English by Korean and Russian speakers
  • L2 acquisition of definiteness
  • L2 acquisition of scalar implicatures
  • L2 acquisition of presuppositions
  • Mutilingual acquisition: L3 English by Kazakh-Russian bilingual speakers
  • Distancing effects in L2 speakers


The SLA Lab is always interested in having volunteers get in touch with us if they are interested in the future direction of our research. Prospective applicants are advised to look through our publications and events pages for information on our past, current and future research.

If you are either a graduate or undergraduate student interested in our work, please contact us to inquire about ongoing activities and projects. If you are interested in volunteering and gaining experience by working at the lab, please complete this recruitment questionnaire. We will notify you when opportunities arise.

SLA Lab reading group:

The SLA lab team also runs bi-weekly reading group meetings that cover a range of topics dealing with second language acquisition studies, experimental methodologies, psycholinguistics, and language processing. Please notify us to get more information regarding our reading group contents and scheduling information. For a list of articles and publications that we have already read and frequently reference, check the “Reading group references” section under our Resources tab.

Location: 4285 and 4287 Helen C. White Hall

Mailing Address: SLA Lab; English Department; Helen C. White Hall; UW-Madison; 600 N. Park St.; Madison, WI 53706


The SLA Lab has been generously funded and supported by UW-Madison’s College of Letters & Science and the English Department.