Rex A. Sprouse
- Professor of Second Language Studies and Germanic Studies
- Ph.D. in Germanic linguistics, Princeton University, 1989
- M.A. in Germanic linguistics, Princeton University, 1983
- B.A. in comparative literature and German, Hiram College, 1979
office: (812) 855-3248; cell: (812) 272-3332
Second language acquisition, structure and history of the languages of Western Europe (Germanic, Romance, Celtic), syntactic theory, language contact
The primary goal of my research is to gain a better understanding of the adult second language paradox: Why is that adults exposed to a nonnative language develop systems of linguistic knowledge of a startlingly rich and complex nature, including properties for which there is little or no evidence in the input ("poverty/bankruptcy of the stimulus"), while still (in a large percentage of cases) experiencing significant difficulty in the acquisition and use of relatively “simple” features of word choice and form? I am best known in second language studies for proposing (together with Bonnie D. Schwartz, University of Hawaii/University of Nijmegen) the Full Transfer/Full Access hypothesis and for pioneering (together with Laurent Dekydtspotter, Indiana University) research on the syntax-semantics interface in English-French interlanguage. I am currently investigating a re-conceptualization of Full Transfer in terms of relexification/relabeling in the sense that Claire Lefebvre (Université du Québec à Montréal) has used these terms to describe creole genesis. I am also considering ways in which the Language Instinct becomes “blunted” over the course of the life span, even though the fundamental architecture of grammars and processing mechanisms remain untouched.
Additional topics that have captured my interest over the years include case and agreement in German and Icelandic, perfect auxiliary selection in Romance and Germanic, the comparative correlative construction in German, the syntax of ditransitive verbs in the Germanic languages, and the development of tag questions in Welsh.
Courses Recently Taught:
- Contemporary Austria
- Introduction to Second Language Acquisition
- Middle High German
- Seminar in Applied Linguistics: The Bilingual Mental Lexicon
- The Successful Language Learner
Recent publication highlights
Darcy, Isabelle, Laurent Dekydtspotter, Rex A. Sprouse, Justin Glover, Christiane Kaden, Michael McGuire & John H.G. Scott (in press) Direct Mapping of Acoustics to Phonology: On the lexical encoding of front round vowels in L1 English-L-2 French acquisition. Second Language Research.
Sprouse, Rex A. (2011) The Interface Hypothesis and Full Transfer/Full Access/Full Parse: A brief comparision. Linguistic Approaches to Bilingualism 1: 97-100.
Sprouse, Rex A. (2010) The invisibility of SLA theory in mainstream creole linguistics. Second Language Research 26: 261-277.
Sprouse, Rex A. (2009) Creoles and interlanguages, conclusions and research desiderata: A reply to Plag. Language, Interaction of Acquisition/Language, Interaction and Acquisition 1: 273-291.
Rottet, Kevin & Rex A. Sprouse (2008) Tag questions in Welsh, Diachronica 25: 10-53.
Schwartz, Bonnie D. & Rex A. Sprouse (2007) Linear sequencing strategies or UG-defined hierarchical structures in L2 acquisition? A reply to Meisel. In Simin Karimi, Vida Samiian & Wendy Wilkins, (eds.), Phrasal and Clausal Architecture: Syntactic Derivation and Interpretation: In Honor of Joseph E. Emonds (Linguistik Aktuell/Linguistics Today, 101), Philadelphia, PA: John Benjamins, pp. 295-318.
Dekydtspotter, Laurent, Bruce Anderson & Rex A. Sprouse (2007) Syntax-semantics interface. In Dalila Ayoun (ed.), French Applied Linguistics (Language Learning and Language Teaching. 16), Philadelphia, John Benjamins, pp. 75-102.
Sprouse, Rex A. (2007) The bankruptcy of the stimulus. In Kamil Ud Deen, Jun Nomura, Barbara Schulz & Bonnie D. Schwartz (eds.) The Proceedings of the Inaugural Conference on Generative Approaches to Language Acquisition-North America. University of Connecticut Occasional Papers in Linguistics 4: 51-63.
Sprouse, Rex A. (2006) Full Transfer and Relexification: Second Language acquisition and creole genesis. In Clair Lefebvre, Christine Jourdan & Lydia White (eds.), L2 Acquisition and Creole Geneis: Dialogues (Language Acquisition & Language Disorders, 42), Philadelphia, PA: John Benjamins, pp. 169-181.
Dekydtspotter, Laurent, Bonnie D. Schwartz & Rex A. Sprouse (2006) The comparative fallacy in L2 processing research. In Mary Grantham O'Brien, Catherine Shea & John Archibald (eds.), Proceedings of the 8th Generative Approaches to Second Language Acquisition Conference (GASLA 2006): The Banff Conference, Somerville, MA: Cascadilla Press, pp. 33-40.