My innate curiosity is perhaps the main reason why my research interests are as wide as they are. After spending about seven years exploring text linguistics, genre theory and lexicography, I switched to second language acquisition and moved to the US to get a second post-graduate degree (third, if we count MA). My CV may tell you about what kind of research I have done in the past, but here is what I am involved with at the moment:
- Language Variation and Language Ideology. After taking an advanced sociolinguistics course with Dr. Suzanne Evans Wagner, I realized that variationist sociolinguistics might be just the area I would like to delve deep into. I began studying variation in discourse pragmatics with a fellow Ph.D. student, Zack Miller, and we presented a paper called “When lecturers hesitate: Does the hesitation function of “lecturer’s OK” exist?” at the DiPVaC 3 conference in Ottawa, Canada, in May 2016. Zack eventually switched to psycholinguistics, while I stayed to do more research in discourse pragmatics and try to marry its agenda with that of second language studies. In my dissertation, I am analyzing the ways in which nonnative speakers of English (international students on a U.S. university campus) use and perceive the discourse (remarkable) LIKE in English. I have conducted a combination of experiments and interviews with thirty nonnative speakers and surveyed over forty native speakers of English.
- Learner Identity and Investment. For two years, I have been following two learners of the Russian language, one living and studying in the UK and another residing in the US, learning about the reasons why they found themselves in a Russian classroom, their struggle to battle the common stereotypes about Russia and Russian as something that nobody is interested in, and the reasons why they persist in their studies and keep investing into them. In April 2016, I presented a paper at the AAAL conference in Orlando, FL: “Accidentally in Love: A Tale of an American Learner’s Investment Into Studying Russian.“
- Study Abroad. While collecting data for the investment project, I was able to track one of my participants’ journey to Russia in May and June 2015, which sparked my interest in the issues of culture shock and linguistic shock, as well as in the value of study abroad experience apart from the language gains. With a fellow Ph.D. student Hima Rawal and Dr. Peter De Costa, we presented a colloquium on methodological issues in study abroad research to the AAAL conference in Portland, OR (March 2017) and then edited a special issue of “System” (vol. 71) under the topic “Study Abroad in Contemporary Times: Toward Greater Methodological Diversity and Innovation”. Our article, “Learner beliefs for successful study abroad experience: A case study”, was included in the issue.
- Unlearning Grammatical Gender. As a native speaker of Russian, a language with grammatical gender, I used to often catch myself referring to animals or even inanimate objects with gendered pronouns (“he” and “she”) when speaking English. Turns out, I am not the only one doing so, which is why I decided to confirm the observation and try to uncover the mechanism behind it, as well as the role of animacy. The study was a success, and I am currently preparing a manuscript based on the speech samples of L1 Russian, L1 Spanish, and native English speakers for publication.