Penn State Penn State: College of the Liberal Arts
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Research and Education

Rena Torres Cacoullos

Rena Torres Cacoullos
Professor of Linguistics and Spanish Linguistics
Rena Torres Cacoullos


I study variability in linguistic structure based on production data, oral and written. I am interested in how to establish grammatical similarity or difference (stability or change)--including in bilingual communities--by comparing quantitative patterns of variation.

Current Grants:

  • National Science Foundation, 2012-2014, 'Doctoral Dissertation Research: Patterns of variable grammatical marking in Palenquero creole.' Co-PI: Hiram L. Smith, Penn State University
  • National Science Foundation, 2010-2013, 'Collaborative research: Evaluating Convergence via Code-Switching: Cross-linguistic Priming, Rates and the Structure of Subject Expression.' Co-PI: Catherine E. Travis, University of New Mexico.


  • Travis, Catherine E. & Rena Torres Cacoullos. 2013. Making voices count: Corpus compilation in bilingual communities. Australian Journal of Linguistics.
  • Travis, Catherine E. & Rena Torres Cacoullos. 2012. What do subject pronouns do in discourse? Cognitive Linguistics 23.4.
  • Travis, Catherine E. and Rena Torres Cacoullos. 2012. Chapter 30: Discourse syntax.Handbook of Hispanic linguistics, Jos� Ignacio Hualde, Antxon Olarrea and Erin O'Rourke (eds.), 653-672. Oxford: Blackwell.
  • Torres Cacoullos, Rena. 2012. A milestone study: Structured variability as the key to unraveling (contact-induced) language change. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition15(2): 233-236.
  • Torres Cacoullos, Rena. 2012. Grammaticalization through inherent variability: The development of a progressive in Spanish. Studies in Language 36.1: 73-122.
  • Torres Cacoullos, Rena. 2011. Variation and grammaticalization. The Handbook of Hispanic Sociolinguistics, Manuel D�az-Campos (ed.), 148-167. Malden, MA-Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.
  • Torres Cacoullos, Rena. 2011. Bajar y subir con on sin SE: las construcciones en la variaci�n morfosint�ctica. Variaci�n variable (I Seminario Internacional de Variaci�n Socioling��stica), Mar�a Jos� Serrano (ed.), 127-152. Almer�a: Editorial C�rculo Rojo.
  • Torres Cacoullos, Rena. 2011. El estudio de la variaci�n morfosint�ctica: volver a la �complementariedad d�bil� por los canales de gramaticalizaci�n. Realismo en al an�lisis de corpus orales (primer coloquio de cambio y variaci�n ling��stica), Pedro Mart�n Butrague�o (ed.), 391-410. M�xico: El Colegio de M�xico.
  • Torres Cacoullos, Rena, and Catherine E. Travis. 2011. Testing convergence via code-switching: Priming and the structure of variable subject expression. International Journal of Bilingualism 15.3: 241-267.
  • Torres Cacoullos, Rena, and James A. Walker. 2011. Chapter 18: Collocations in grammaticalization and variation. Handbook of Grammaticalization, Bernd Heine and Heiko Narrog (eds.). 225-238. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Bybee, Joan L., and Rena Torres Cacoullos. 2009. The role of prefabs in grammaticization: How the particular and the generl interact in language change. Formulaic language: Volume 1. Distribution and historical change, Roberta L. Corrigan, Edith A. Moravcsik, Hamid Ouali, and Kathleen Wheatley (eds.), 187-217. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
  • Torres Cacoullos, Rena, and Jessi E. Aaron. 2003. Bare English-origin nouns in Spanish: Rates, constraints, and discourse functions. Language Variation and Change 15.3:287-326.
  • Torres Cacoullos, Rena, and Fernanda Ferreira. 2000. Lexical frequency and voiced labiodental-bilabial variation in New Mexican Spanish. Southwest Journal of Linguistics19.2:1-17.
  • Torres Cacoullos, Rena. 2000. Grammaticization, synchronic variation, and language contact. A study of Spanish progressive -ndo constructions. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins.