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Dr Laura Domínguez PhD

Director of Research & Director of the Institute for Language and Culture

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Dr Laura Domínguez is the Director of Research and Director of the Institute for Language and Culture in Modern Languages at the University of Southampton.

I received my PhD in Applied Linguistics from Boston University in 2004 and my dissertation was entitled: "Mapping Focus: The Syntax and Prosody of Focus in Spanish". I have been a Lecturer in Linguistics at Southampton since 2006.





Research interests

My research interests lie in the areas of language development (first and second language acquisition, bilingualism and language attrition), and syntactic theory (syntax and the interfaces, information structure, Romance syntax and Hispanic linguistics), both within a generative framework.

My research has centred on the analysis of information structure and focus, in particular how word order in Spanish is affected by both prosodic and syntactic constraints. I am currently investigating the acquisition of word order in Spanish by advanced English speakers and its implications for our understanding of the interfaces between core and peripheral modules of the grammar. I am also doing research on the loss of Spanish as a first language, and the L2 acquisition of clitic pronouns. In August 2008 I started a new research project on the L2 acquisition of tense and aspect.

I was the organiser of the The Romance Turn 3: Workshop on the Acquisition of Romance Languages held at the University of Southampton, 18-20 September 2008.

Recent research projects

SPLLOC 1 (April 2006-March 2008)

Linguistic development in L2 Spanish: creation and analysis of a learner corpus (SPLLOC)
Funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), the project had two broad aims: to establish a small scale, high quality database of spoken learner Spanish (ages 14-21), and to undertake a short programme of substantive research into L2 Spanish, including the acquisition of word order and clitic pronouns as interface phenomena.

L1 Attrition (June 2007-May 2008)

"Losing your tongue: first language attrition in monolingual and bilingual settings" funded by the British Academy.
This project explores in what ways immigrant bilingual speakers who have spent over 25 years abroad modify their first language (including their vocabulary and key syntactic structures) influenced by the new linguistic environment. Two different groups of subjects participate in this study: Cuban exiles who have settled in Miami and still use Spanish as the dominant language, and Spaniards who moved to the UK and have replaced their Spanish with English almost entirely. By comparing these two different groups the role that L1 and L2 input has on the linguistic competence of those who move abroad will be analysed.

Research project(s)

The Emergence and Development of the Tense-Aspect System in L2 Spanish (SPLLOC 2) - Dormant

This project has further developed the SPLLOC (Spanish Learner Language Oral Corpora) research programme and has included new data investigating the acquisition of tense and aspect by English learners of Spanish.


Domínguez, L. (Forthcoming). An interface account of Spanish word order: structure, acquisition and attrition. Manuscript under contract.



Book Chapters


Postgraduate supervision

I would like to hear from applicants interested in syntactic development in first and second language acquisition with a special interest in Spanish or any other Romance language.

Dr Laura Domínguez
Building 65 Faculty of Humanities University of Southampton Avenue Campus Highfield Southampton SO17 1BF United Kingdom

Room Number:65/3057

Telephone:(023) 8059 3403

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