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Research and Education

Matt Carlson

Matt Carlson
Assistant Professor of Spanish and Linguistics
Matt Carlson


I am an Associate Professor of Spanish and Linguistics in the department of Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese. I completed my Ph.D. in Spanish Linguistics here at Penn State in 2007, with the option in Applied Linguistics. I then worked as a postdoc at the University of Chicago under the mentorship of Susan Goldin-Meadow and Susan Levine, followed by an appointment as Assistant Professor of Psychology at the University of Texas at El Paso before returning to Penn State. I am interested in bilingualism and second language acquisition across the lifespan. My primary research focus is on phonology and morphology in the bilingual mental lexicon. Using a variety of behavioral methods, phonetic analysis, and eye-tracking, I am currently investigating how bilinguals dynamically rely on their two language systems, and how those systems interact under varying conditions. I apply similar methods as well as computational modeling of the lexicon as a complex network to explore how structured knowledge of the lexicon impacts the learning and processing of words by children and adults.

Research Interests:

Psycholinguistics, phonology, morphology, the mental lexicon, bilingualism, second language acquisition, language development, gesture.

Recent Publications:

  • Carlson, M. T. & Gerfen, C. (2011). Spanish diphthongizing stems: productivity, processing, and the shaping of the lexicon. The Mental Lexicon 6(3), 351-373.
  • Carlson, M. T. & Gerfen, C. (2011). Productivity is the key: morphophonology and the riddle of alternating diphthongs in Spanish. Language 87(3), 510-538.
  • Carlson, M. T., Bane, M., and Sonderegger, M. (2011). Global properties of the phonological networks in child and child-directed speech. in N. Danis, K. Mesh, & H. Sung (Eds.)Proceedings of the 35th Boston University Conference on Language Development (pp. 97-109). Vol. 1. Somerville, MA: Cascadilla Press.
  • Hall, J. K.; Cheng, A.; and Carlson, M. T. (2006). Reconceptualizing multicompetence as a theory of language knowledge. Applied Linguistics 27(2), 220-240