Research Summary

My two main areas of research within the field of Second Language Acquisition are crosslinguistic influence (or language transfer) and lexical diversity. In the former area, I have focused largely on lexical transfer, conceptual transfer, and transfer methodology. In the latter area, I have investigated how people perceive lexical diversity, how strongly it correlates with language ability, and how it might be modeled and measured in a way that reflects how it is perceived.


  • BA, Linguistics, Brigham Young University
  • MA, Applied Linguistics, Indiana University
  • PhD, Linguistics, Indiana University. Project: The Role of L1-Based Concepts in L2 Lexical Reference


I was born in Arizona and grew up in Missouri. I earned my BA in Linguistics at Brigham Young University in 1991, my MA in Applied Linguistics at Indiana University in 1993, and my PhD in Linguistics at Indiana University in 1997. My PhD concentration was Second Language Acquisition, and my PhD minor was Semiotics. I also took advanced seminars in Phonology, Syntax, and Sociolinguistics.

After earning my PhD, I worked in the Department of Linguistics at Indiana University for one year as a Visiting Assistant Professor. The following year, I was hired into the Department of Linguistics at Ohio University. I stayed there for 19 years, receiving promotions to the rank of Associate Professor in 2003 and Professor in 2013. I also served as Department Chair for five years, from 2004 until 2009. From the middle of 2009 until the middle of 2010, I spent my sabbatical in the Centre for Applied Language Studies at the University of Jyväskylä, Finland.

I was hired into the Department of Linguistics at the University of Utah in 2017, where I hold the rank of Professor and am currently serving as Department Chair.

I have had the chance to engage in professional service in a number of positions, including but not limited to my service as Chair of the Research Interest Section for TESOL (2001-2002), Associate Journal Editor for Language Learning (2007-2011), Board Member and Associate Executive Director for Language Learning (2011-2015), Executive Committee Member for AAAL (2014-2016), and Editorial Board Member for various journals. I am currently the Executive Director for Language Learning and the Chair of the Resolutions Committee for AAAL.

My wife, Sirpa, grew up in Finland. We were married in 1990 and have four children and a growing number of grandchildren. My native language is English, and I've also learned Finnish quite well. I've also taken courses in Swedish, Estonian, and German.