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Research Projects

This page demonstrates the research projects that students and faculty in the Department of Linguistics have conducted. As researchers, we believe in the importance of linguistics research for understanding human experience and we use interdisciplinary frameworks and tools to understand  and support linguistic diversity.

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Pursuing Undergraduate Research Heading link

Sample Research Projects Heading link

Researcher Title Public Dissemination and Funding Source Faculty Mentor Date of Completion
Ingrid Pureco Serial founder effects and phonemic decline: A state of the science UIC In-Between Conference; UIC Undergraduate Research Forum Carrie Pichan Spring 2022
Danielle Cartagenes Meet Neti: Designing a game prototype for teaching phonetics UIC In-Between Conference; Recipient of Best Student Poster Award Natalie Parde (Computer Science) and Jill Hallett (Linguistics) Spring 2022
Brittani Howard Revitalization through Self-Documentation, a Community-Centered Language-Learning App UIC In-Between Conference; MidWest Association for Language Learning Technology Conference; UIC Undergraduate Research Forum Jill Hallett Spring2022
Grace Pnacek What is Lost in Translation: An Analysis of Google Translate and Poetry UIC In-Between Conference Xuehua Xiang Spring 2022
Iris Jia A Summer of Change: A Bilingual Infographic Project on Chicago’s Wild Mile UIC In-Between Conference Xuehua Xiang Spring 2022
Eli Nukunya An Investigation into the Vitality of the Ga language UIC Undergraduate Research Forum; LASURI Award Xuehua Xiang Spring 2022
Megan Herrera TweetTaglish: A Dataset for Investigating Tagalog-English Code-Switching The 13th Conference on Language Resources and Evaluation (LREC 2022) Ankit Aich and Dr. Natalie Parde (UIC NLP Lab) Spring 2022
Devika Tiwari An Exploration of Linguistically-Driven and Transfer Learning Methods for Euphemism Detection To be presented at the 2022 Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing (EMNLP) Natalie Parde (Computer Science) Winter 2022
Christine Forde Gude "Simps" and "Pick-me's:" How AAVE Slang Encapsulates the Dating Culture and Beliefs of Young People in Online Communities UIC LASURI Award Xuehua Xiang Spring 2023
Michelle Chen How Different Generations Understand Classic Chinese Myths UIC LASURI Award Xuehua Xiang Spring 2023
Laaiba Mahmood What's Your Language Story? An Examination of Multi-Generational Language Change and Loss among South Asian Diaspora UIC Honors College -Honors Project Jill Hallett Spring 2023
Carmen Thom How long does it take to name a picture? The effects of proficiency, age of acquisition, and language usage on lexical retrieval among Spanish heritage speakers. The Chancellor's Undergraduate Research Award (CURA) With Rosela Romero, Jess Ward, and faulty supervisor Liliana Sánchez (Hispanic and Italian Studies) Work in Progress
Laaiba Mahmood


“What’s Your Language Story? An Examination of Multi-Generational Language Change and Loss among South Asian Diaspora” 

Researcher: Laaiba Mahmood (BA in Political Science | Minor in Spanish and communication. Faculty Advisor: Dr. Jill Hallett (Linguistics)

This study examines perceptions of, connection to, and change or loss of South Asian languages among multiple generations of South Asian diaspora in the United States, more specifically in the greater Chicago area.


Christine Forde


“Simps” and “Pick-me’s:” How Slang reveals Gender Perceptions in Relationships and Language.”

Researcher: Christine Forde Gude (Majors in Anthropology and Psychology | Minor in Linguistics Faculty Advisor: Dr. Xuehua Xiang (Linguistics)

Through the lens of indexicality, this study analyzes the meanings and usages of two slang terms “simps” and “pick-me’s” that have shown a sharp increase in usage on social media since the Covid-19 pandemic. The analyses illustrate the heavily stereotypical associations related to expectations in dating that work to perpetuate existing real-world gender biases and inequalities between men and women.


Megan Herrera's Project


“TweetTaglish: A Dataset for Investigating Tagalog-English Code-Switching” 

Researchers: Megan Herrera (undergraduate researcher) with co-authors/mentors Ankit Aich and Dr. Natalie Parde  (UIC NLP Lab)

This project builds a Tagalog-English code-switching dataset constructed from social media data, using Twitter as a resource. Read the paper published in the Proceedings of the 13th Conference on Language Resources and Evaluation (LREC 2022).


DevikaTiwari's Project


“An Exploration of Linguistically-Driven and Transfer Learning Methods for Euphemism Detection” 

Researcher: Devika Tiwari (BS in Computer Science and Linguistics|BS in Neuroscience) with co-author/mentor Dr. Natalie Parde  (UIC NLP Lab)

Euphemisms are often used to drive rhetoric, but their automated recognition and interpretation are under-explored. This project investigate four methods for detecting euphemisms in sentences containing potentially euphemistic terms. It is presented at the Third Workshop on Figurative Language(FigLang 2022), as part of EMNLP 2022, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, December 8, 2022.

Iris Jia Project

“变化之夏-A Summer of Change”

Researcher: Iris Jia (BS in Biology| Minor in Chinese); Supervised by: Dr. Xuehua Xiang

Using her research experience in Biology and her language skills in Chinese, student researcher Iris Jia (Major in Biological Science and Minor in Chinese) created Chinese-English bilingual infographic to introduce the ecological preservation efforts of Urban Rivers’ Wild Mile. The project shows the importance of multilingual communication to the general public about environmental preservation efforts.


Michelle Chen

“How Different Generations Understand Classic Chinese Stories with Prominent Female Roles”

Researcher: Michelle Chen (BS in Math |Minor in Chinese; Supervised by Dr. Xuehua Xiang

On July 9, 2021 the Teaching Equitable Asian American Community History (TEAACH) was passed into law in the State of Illinois requiring all public schools to teach a unit of Asian American history with the aim to prevent prejudice and violence against Asian Americans. Mythological stories, such as Mulan and the Chang’e’s Flight to the Moon, lend themselves well in the Asian American History unit; through engaging story forms, they reconstruct the early histories of a culture reflecting normative practices and value systems. However, myth-based stories are not monolithic- they evolve over time, over space, and over generations. A non-critical teaching of mythology may in fact perpetuate outdated normative values not suited for the Asian American context. To better understand why and how we should use traditional stories to teach Asian American histories, this study investigates generational differences in knowledge and perceptions of traditional mythological stories in the Chinese American Community. Using a mixed methods approach (IRB ID: STUDY2022-1358), this study combines surveys, interviews and literature research. Questionnaires were administered using Google Forms followed by one-on-one interviews. The results were triangulated with literature research on the use of Chinese myths in educational settings in and outside of the US.

Research poster


“An Investigation of the Vitality and Perception Of the Ga language in the Ghanaian-American Community”

Undergraduate Student Researcher: Eli Nukunya (English Major | Linguistics Minor); Supervised by: Dr. Xuehua Xiang

The Ga language is a Ghanaian language most commonly spoken by the Ga-Adangbe ethnic group in Ghana that has become spoken in the Ghanaian diaspora in recent history. As Ghanaians have created more immigrant communities in the diaspora, it is possible that the Ga language may suffer the same fate of many immigrant languages and lose its influence and importance within the Ghanaian-American community, especially among the younger generation. Through surveys and interviews, this study investigates Ghanaian-Americans’ connection to the Ga language along with how they view the Ga language and its importance in comparison to languages in the diaspora community.

Journal Cover


Transfer and Crosslinguistic Influence at the L3 initial stages.

Researchers: Jennifer Cabrelli (Hispanic and Italian Studies) and Carrie Pichan 

While the question of which variables determine the source of transfer at the very initial stages of third language (L3) acquisition has driven the growth of the field, few studies have captured these early developmental processes in L3 acquisition. These studies observe English/Spanish bilinguals acquiring an L3 Romance language (Brazilian Portuguese or Italian) after 12-15 hours of classroom L3 exposure. We examine several phenomena that differ between the L3 and Spanish but pattern similarly between the L3 and English within the grammar modules of morphosyntax (e.g., pronominal subjects) and phonology (e.g., intervocalic underlying stops). The crosslinguistic (dis)similarity of the selected phenomena, together with the comparison of data from bilingual groups who differ in age of acquisition and dominance, allow for the evaluation of critical variables in transfer source selection such as global similarity, language status, facilitation, and dominance.

Book cover


“Oh, what’s wrong with your Korean?”: Korean American adult heritage learner’s oral translanguaging practice and their counter-experience

Researcher: Hanae Kim, Ph.D Visiting Lecturer and Korean Language Program Coordinator

In H. Cho & K. Song (Eds.), Korean as a Heritage Language from Transnationalism and Translanguaging Perspectives. Routledge

New books in Dari and Pashto


“Linguistic Identity and Literacy Landscape of a Multilingual Community in Chicago .” 

Researcher: Jill Hallett 

This project focuses on how the literacy landscape reflects the home languages of students and families in one linguistically-diverse community in Chicago. It looks at how linguistic identity is indexed through the community literacy landscape and what language practices are present, privileged, and erased.

A fishing village in Hainan


“Language, Multimodal Interaction and Transaction: Studies of a Southern Chinese Marketplace.”

Researcher: Xuehua Xiang

This project examines multimodal interaction in the marketplace in a multilingual town at the juncture of urbanization in Southern China.  By analyzing the socializing functions of language in the marketplace outside of and beyond economic dealings, the study additionally documents and depicts the roles of affect and morality in marketplace encounters.