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Susanne Carroll

  • Professor

Office Hours

Or by appointment
(Sep 11 - Dec 11)


Ph.D., M.A., B.A.(Hon.)

About Me:

I studied French, English, political science and philosophy as an undergraduate, and went on to do graduate work in linguistics in the Département de linguistique et de philologie, Université de Montréal. I have conducted research at the Centre franco-ontarien (Ontario Institute for Studies in Education or O.I.S.E.), Université du Québec à Montréal, McGill University & the Modern Language Centre (O.I.S.E.). I have taught at York University, the University of British Columbia, the University of Toronto, O.I.S.E., the Universität Hamburg, and the Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel. From 1994 to 2005, I was Professor of English Studies & Applied Linguistics at the Universität Potsdam, in Potsdam Germany. I returned to Canada to take up a Tier I Canada Research Chair in Second Language Acquisition (2005-2012) in August 2005.


See above. A highly edited version of my professional output can be found in my C.V. elsewhere on this page.


Current support comes from the Social Sciences & Humanities Research Council of Canada (S.S.H.R.C.C.) In the past, I have been financed by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, the Alexander-von-Humboldt Stiftung, the S.S.H.R.C.C., and the Ministry of Education of Ontario.


My published research covers a variety of areas in linguistics but I am best known for research dealing with second language acquisition (SLA). Within SLA, I prefer to focus on making empirical discoveries but the goal is the development of an explanatory theory of second language acquisition. On the theory side of things, I have been working on something I have called (perhaps for worse rather than better) the Autonomous Induction Theory. On the empirical side of things, research has dealt with the effectiveness of feedback and correction on SLA, frequency, cognates, proper names, gender, segmentation, and word learning. Ultimately, however, at the right level of abstraction, it all has something to do with "input" to SLA and the psycholinguistic mechanisms which result in knowledge of language. It is this knowledge which permits us to hear specific kinds of vocal noises as speech sounds, words and sentences and also allows us to put our thoughts into linguistic behaviours (talk, acceptability judgements, recognising specific sounds as "words", and so on).

I am first, last and always a linguist but I do not see SLA research as testing linguistic theories. I draw on linguistic theories to help define what I call the "micro-structure of particular learning problems". We need linguistic theories to make sense of constructs like "input" or "the target language". I consider myself to be a generativist but others might disagree since I have never been interested in orthodoxy or dogma. I am literate in a variety of approaches in syntax (MIT-style syntax from Syntactic Structures up to minimalism; Lexical Functional Grammar; Head Driven Phrase Structure Grammar; several functional approaches). These show up in my classes. I frame my own SLA stuff in Simpler Syntax terms. 

Research projects over the last 10 years have dealt with segmentation --- trying to sort out the logic and empirical basis behind our ability to hear L2 speech as "words". Current research deals with classification, lexical and grammatical classes and how they are acquired. My research team is conducting acquisition experiments on this topic in my lab in the Linguistics Division.

Office Hours

Fall 2017 = Wednesdays 13:00 - 14:00


I have, over the years, regularly taught courses on second language acquisition, language processing, contact linguistics, applied linguistics and core areas of linguistics (especially syntax and semantics).

Recent Supervising:

Current doctoral students:

Lindsay Hracs --- second language acquisition and computational modelling; information structure; German.

JeongEun Lee --- second language acquisition, serial verb constructions (syntax & semantics of), recursion, Korean.

A list of UofC theses can be found elsewhere on the Division of Linguistics website. A list of theses that I have supervised can be found in my abbreviated C.V. elsewhere on this page.


Curriculum Vitae


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