Research Groups

Department-related Research Projects

This document lists research projects involving BYU Linguistics Department Faculty. It mentions the project, leader (and contact person, if different), meeting time/place information (if known), the focus of research, and a web page (if available). Undergraduate and graduate students are welcome to meetings, and participation in ongoing or new work is usually encouraged. Participation is usually on a volunteer basis, but part-time paid positions or internships are sometimes available.


 Measured Language Research Group

Troy Cox and Matthew Wilcox

801-422-5755 or 801-422-8401 or

Pleaes indicate your availability on the following Doodle Form so we can determine a regular meeting time that accommodates the most people.


The physical sciences have instruments like scales, rulers, and thermometers to measure what they are interested in. Language practitioners need to create their own instruments. This research group will explore various measurement projects that the Center for Language Studies is involved in. Current projects include creating/validating item types for use with the English assessments in the BYU-Pathway Worldwide initiative as well as assisting departments in the College of Humanities with language assessments in foreign languages taught at BYU.

For proposing your own funded research, see:

 Wrenaissance Poetics: the Language and Literature Group (beginning January 2018)

Dr. Cynthia Hallen, 801-422-2020

Meeting: To Be Announced


We will focus on lexical, semantic, syntactic, and pragmatic aspects of poetry and other literary texts. Work sessions include our own creative writing texts. Projects reviewing the scholarly works and Shakespeare annotations of Dr. Arthur H. King.


 Editing/Information Design Research Group

Alan Manning 422-2974

Meeting: by appt. with Prof. Manning


We’re reviewing applied linguistics research with implications for editing and information design. The aim is to explore the literature and design new research projects in this area, and to help working editors develop portfolios in which editorial decisions are annotated with explanations of linguistic principles governing those decisions. Students can participate for 590R credit, but other interested faculty and students are welcome to sample our reading list and our recent published work, and/or discuss and develop new research projects.


 Second Language Acquisition Research Group

Dan Dewey


Contact Dr. Dewey for meeting times, information on projects,etc.


We are a group of faculty and students interested in various aspects of second language acquisition. Specifically, we have recently examined the influence of the following variables on second language learning: motivation, personality, cognitive abilities, aptitude, amount and type of language use, social networks, age, and gender.  We have investigated the linguistic benefits of international internships, foreign language residences, study abroad, service learning abroad, etc. We are also looking at relationships between fluency and proficiency development to determine if we can use simple measures of fluency to estimate second language proficiency. We conduct research on the acquisition of English, Japanese, Korean, Chinese, French, Spanish, Arabic, and Russian.


 Positive Psychology in Second Language Teaching and Learning

Norm Evans 422-8472       Dan Dewey 422-6005

Contact Dr. Evans or Dr. Dewey for meeting times.


In second language learning, attitudes, motivation, and other affective variables can help explain what causes success and failure in learning. Furthermore, positive behaviors associated with self-regulation, such as awareness of one’s emotions, self-evaluation and goal setting can also help learners acquire language.  Positive psychology includes the study of affective variables and self-regulation. The primary purpose of this research group is to identify ways to use our knowledge of positive psychology to help learners acquire a second language.


 Quechua Language Research Group

Janis B. Nuckolls 422-3448

Meetings: Thursdays at 2:00pm in 4055 JFSB (Dr. Nuckolls’s office)


We are actively working on writing and preparing to publish, a grammatical description of a variety of Quechua spoken in Amazonian Ecuador. Prior experience with summer research during a BYU Ecuador Study Abroad is a definite asset.

We are also editing and adding video clips of Quechua speakers to our online corpus Quechuarealwords. Any students wanting to join this project are welcome, with or without prior experience in this language.

For proposing your own funded research, see:



Don Chapman 801-422-8738 Dallin D. Oaks 801-422-6369

Meetings: TBD


This research group will explore various facets of linguistic prescriptivism.  These include such matters as the ideologies behind prescriptivism, issues of standardization, mechanisms for perpetuating the prescriptive tradition, how “correctness” is established, and the question of what constitutes authority in prescriptivism.


 Language Documentation Research Group

 Chris Rogers 801-422-4707

Meetings: contact Chris Rogers for meeting times and project information


This research group focuses on various aspects of language documentation and language endangerment.  We will be working on producing grammatical descriptions and comprehensive documentations of Wichi’, Sapé, Uruak, Ninam, Máku and Tol.  If other languages are of interest, we will work on project creation and grant writing.  This group gives participants experience in field linguistics, language analysis, typology, and historical linguistics.