I grew up in a complex multilingual community and I took for granted that it was
normal for many languages to coexist in complicated ways in a single place. Within
the few square blocks of my neighborhood, there were more than a dozen languages in
daily use. Some people switched effortlessly among two or three languages, while
others spoke only the language that they had brought with them from far away and were
unable to converse in either one of the two languages of public discourse. I understood
from a very young age that each language that I know has its own peculiar place: languages
of religion, languages of scholarship, and languages of different media of expression:
spoken, signed, and written. What makes humans special is not just that we have language
but that we have languages, thousands of them, each with its own special importance.
I have devoted my academic life to trying to understand this truth.
SUSAN E. BRENNAN
Faculty Web Page
My research focuses on the sound systems of human languages: the features that are
shared by all languages as well as the ways in which languages may differ. One of
my major areas of research concerns the ways in which the production and perception
of a foreign language is affected by the native language system. Languages may use
particular acoustic cues in very different ways, and the tendency to interpret foreign
language cues in terms of their use in the native language may lead to problems in
speaking and understanding the foreign language. For example, in tone languages (such
as Mandarin), each word has an inherent pitch melody, while in intonational languages
(such as English), pitch melodies are a property of entire sentences and are used
to signal such things as phrasal structure (with a falling pitch associated with the
end of a statement) and the speaker's emotions (such as incredulity, approval, etc.).
English speakers tend to have difficulty in learning to use and understand pitch as
a signal of lexical differences rather than sentence intonation, while Mandarin speakers
tend to miss the subtleties expressed by pitch melody in English.
My research re-examines historical events, utilizes primarysource materials, and analyzes
personal histories relating to the dynamic and changing qualities of Asian root cultures
in the United States. My database – a collection of narratives and documentation
relating to the above –would be placed under the MIC Center, for use by applied linguists,
linguists, anthropologists, psychologists, communication scholars, education specialists
and scholars of allied disciplines who explore the context and consequences of global
Dr. Jiwon Hwang received a B.A. in Spanish/English Literature and Linguistics from
Hankuk University of Foreign Studies in Korea and an M.A. in TESOL and a Ph.D. in
Linguistics from Stony Brook University. Her research interests include second language
acquisition, speech adaptation, foreign language teaching and Korean linguistics.
Her research on cross-language processing explores important factors that play a role
in non-native perception and production. She has participated in research projects
including Korean speakers’ production and perception of non-native sequences and categories
and Japanese speakers’ perception of English contrasts. The main findings of the research
show that perceptual and gestural constraints should be considered as well as grammatical
differences, to fully explain second language error patterns that seem puzzling if
viewed only from one perspective (Click here
for details). Another line of her research (in collaboration with Dr. Susan Brennan
and Dr. Marie Huffman), involves investigating how non-native speakers adjust their
production of English when communicating with native speakers of English and with
other speakers for whom English is not their first language. The results demonstrate
that non-native speakers’ speech adaptation is driven both by pragmatic factors and
by auditory priming by the conversational partner. She is currently investigating
Korean listeners’ perceptual bias due to the knowledge of phonotactic restrictions
and phonological relationship, Taiwanese speakers’ perception of English contrasts
(with Dr. Yu-an Lu) and the phonetic and phonological properties of Korean [Cj] (with
Dr. Yunju Suh).
Dr. Lucenko earned a B.A. in English/Eastern European Studies from Rutgers College
and an M.A. in English (Creative Writing concentration) from City College of New York.
Her Ph.D. in English Literature is from University at Buffalo. She is currently Interim
Director of the Program in Writing and Rhetoric at Stony Brook, where she teaches
courses in first-year writing, personal essay, life narrative, and science writing.
Her research interests include writing pedagogy, autobiography, multimodal narrative,
and service learning. At Stony Brook, she has collaborated on oral history projects
with residents of the Long Island State Veterans Home, and on digital narratives with
members of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute. Her English translations of Ukrainian
poetry have appeared in AGNI, Poetry International Web, and Downtown Brooklyn.
Francisco Ordóñez grew up Catalonia (Spain) but his parents come from the south of
Spain. So he was exposed very early on to a bilingual situation in which Catalan and
Spanish were used interchangeably all the time in daily conversation. In part this
bilingual situation stimulated his interest in languages and language variation. He
is trained in the study of formal linguistics, and he specializes in the comparative
study of the syntax of Spanish, including its many varieties, alongside other Romance
languages such as Catalan, French, Italian and Occitan dialects. His interest is focused
on integrating advances in theoretical linguistics with the study of variation in
My research interests include Japanese linguistics and pedagogy, second language acquisition,
and translation studies. In particular, I am interested in the interface between linguistic
theories and language education. The use of a language involves amazing complexities,
regardless of whether they are structural, semantic, cognitive, socio-cultural, pragmatic,
or developmental. Accordingly, the field of language education must be interdisciplinary.
The MIC Center provides us with an unlimited number of possible venues for collaborative
research for languages, linguistics, pedagogy, and more. In our current globalized
society, intercultural collaboration is a necessity and is advantageous. It allows
us to view old problems differently, take advantage of global opportunities, and achieve
breakthroughs. It strengthens us as individuals and as a community. The MIC Center
provides language educators and researchers to reach out to any field that our lives
are relevant to and collaboration is needed for, including healthcare, business administration,
public service, education, science research, art, entertainment, and technology. The
MIC Center is the much-needed interface between research on communication and our
lives in a globalized society.
Dr. Kamal K. Sridhar (Meena) received her MA in TESOL and Ph.D. in Applied Linguistics
from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She is recognized for her research
on maintenance of languages and cultures among Asian Indian linguistic communities
and on World Englishes. In addition to her book on English in Indian Bilingualism
(New Delhi: Manohar, 1989), she has published 30+ articles in major journals and as
invited chapters in Applied Linguistics, and teacher training textbooks. She is currently
working on a book on language maintenance among the Thanjavur Marathi speakers, who
have maintained their language for over 300+ years as migrants within and outside
India. She has been invited to present her work on language maintenance among linguistic
minorities from India all over the world, including Belgium, Colombia, Greece, Japan,
Thailand, Hongkong, United Kingdom, China, and all over the USA, Canada, and India.
She was the co-founder of the Center for India Studies at Stony Brook with her husband
and colleague Prof. S. N. Sridhar (1997). She has served the center in several capacities,
as a volunteer, director and currently as the associate director.
From 1986 to 1997, Dr. Sridhar directed the undergraduate and graduate TESOL program
and served as the Director of ESL at Stony Brook University. From 1989 to 1995, Dr.
Sridhar served on the Editorial Board of TESOL Quarterly, a journal devoted to ESL
teaching and research. Since 1997, and has been asked to review manuscripts for Language
in Society (Cambridge University Press), and World Englishes (formerly Pergamon press,
now Blackwell Wiley) since 1995.
Dr. Sridhar serves on the editorial advisory board of Encarta of World Englishes (St.
Martin’s Press) and Webster’s Dictionary.
Faculty Web Page
I grew up as a multilingual – my mother tongue is Kannada, one of the major regional
languages of South India; I learnt Sanskrit, the Classical language of India, Hindi,
and English at school. I analyze data from all these languages in my research. I
have worked on many aspects of multilingualism: (a) code-switching and code-mixing
(sociocultural and pragmatic functions; syntax and psycholinguistics, esp. mental
representation and processing of language mixing); (b) second language acquisition
(the role of the first and other language(s) in the use of the second language and
the adequacy of models of second language acquisition, eg. contrastive analysis, error
analysis, interlanguage, to account for this); consequences of language contact (structural
and cultural functions of linguistic convergence); (c) Indian English and other World
Englishes – description of their syntax, pragmatics, and sociolinguistics; their acquisition
and use in multilingual contexts, as in South and Southeast Asia and Africa; their
functions, (d) cultural and civilizational functions of multilingualism, including
use of multilingualism as a stylistic resource in advertising and creative literature.
My recent work focuses on (e) how insights from traditionally multilingual communities
are crucial for developing valid theories of second language acquisition. I have
taught graduate and undergraduate courses on Bilingualism, Multilingualism, Second
Language Acquisition, World Englishes and related topics.
In the last chapter of my book, Rethinking Chineseness: Translational Sinophone Identities inthe Nanyang Literary
World, I touch on how Singapore's bilingual policy influenced the growth of multilingual
theater in the island city. Working on the chapter made me more and more interested
in how language policies shape societies, especially in multiracial and multicultural
countries. One of my next projects attempts to examine the intrinsicrelationship
between official language policies in Singapore, such as the bilingual policy and
the speak-mandarin campaign, shape post-independence Sinophone Singapore literature.
The Multilingual and Intercultural Communication Center is a space that will facilitate
my research and interests in this particular area. I also hope to share with the
campus community, via MIC, a humanist perspective on multilingual and intercultural
issues with my research.