Laurent Dekydtspotter

Laurent Dekydtspotter

Professor, French and Italian

Professor, Second Language Studies


  • Ph.D. Linguistics, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York
  • M.A. TESOL/Applied Linguistics Washington State University, Pullman Washington
  • B.A. English. Université Catholique de l'Ouest Angers, France

Research interests

Professor Dekydtspotter’s primary research foci lie in the degrees to which second language learners can acquire sentence types that are not grammatical in the learner's native language as well as with the precise manner in which second language perceivers in various stages of development go about interpreting sentences of the target language input, with special interest in the integration of information from various domains: context, pragmatics, prosody, semantics and syntax.

The reason for the focus on semantics is that not all ways of combining words together have the same semantic consequences. Aspects of one's semantic intuitions results from the precise way in which one goes about putting the sentence together. In fact, interpretive research developed at IU suggests that L2 learners develop grammars that are in the same range as native systems.

The reason for the second focus on processing is that not all ways of combining information together have the same consequences for language understanding. In a string of experiments, Professor Dekydtspotter has investigated the extent to which context can override syntactic information in the manner in which L2 learners perceive sentences. Our research so far found a deep syntactic reflex in second language acquirers of French, at the low intermediate proficiency level and beyond. This threatens the notion that L2 perceivers do not process sentences as deeply as natives, relying on lexical and contexual information instead.

Representative publications

A Syntactic Bias in Scope Ambiguity Resolution in the Processing of English-French Cardinality Interrogatives: Evidence for Informational Encapsulation (2005)
L. Dekydtspotter and S. Outcalt
Language Learning, 1 1-37

Anaphora under Reconstruction during Processing in English as a Second Language (2012)
L. Dekydtspotter, Y. Wang, B. Kim, H-. Kim, H. Kim and J. Lee
Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 34 561-590

Direct Mapping of Acoustics to Phonology: On the lexical encoding of front round vowels in L1 English-L2 French acquisition (2012)
I. Darcy, Laurent Dekydtspotter, R. A. Sprouse, J. H. G. Scott, Jonathan Glover and M. McGuire
Second Language Research, 28 1-36

Inhibitive and facilitative priming induced by traces in the processing of wh-dependencies in a second language (2013)
L. Dekydtspotter and A. K. Miller
Second Language Research, 29 (3), 345-372

Interlanguage A-bar Dependencies: Binding Construals, Null Prepositions and Universal Grammar. 1998. Second Language Research (1998)
Laurent Dekydtspotter, Rex Sprouse and B. Anderson
Second Language Research, 14 341-358

Mental Design and (Second) Language Epistemology: Adjectival Restrictions of Wh-Quantifier and Tense in English-French Interlanguage (2001)
Laurent Dekydtspotter and Rex Sprouse
Second Language Research, 17 1-35

On second language processing and grammatical development: The parser in second language acquisition (2014)
L. Dekydtspotter and C. Renaud
Linguistic Approaches to Bilingualism, 4 (2), 131-165

On the contrastive analysis of features in second language acquisition: Uninterpretable gender on past participles in English–French processing (2009)
L. Dekydtspotter and C. Renaud
Second Language Research, 25 251-263

Quelque chose (...) de remarquable in English-French Acquisition: Mandatory, Informationally Encapsulated Computations in Second Language Interpretation. Second Language Research (2005)
Laurent Dekydtspotter and J. Hathorn
Second Language Research, 21 291-323

Reflexes of the Mental Architecture in Second Language Acquisition: The Interpretation of Discontinuous Combien Extractions in English-French Interlanguage (2001)
Laurent Dekydtspotter, Rex Sprouse and K. Swanson
Language Acquisition, 9 175-227

Second Language Epistemology, Take Two (2009)
L. Dekydtspotter
Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 31 291-321

Syntax and prosodic computations in the resolution of relative clause attachment ambiguity by English-French learners (2008)
L. Dekydtspotter, B. Donaldson, A. Liljestrand Fultz and R. A. Petrush
Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 30 453-480

The Interpretation of Quantification at a Distance in English-French Interlanguage: Domain-Specificity and Second Language Acquisition (1999)
Laurent Dekydtspotter, Rex Sprouse and R. Thyre
Language Acquisition, 8 265-320

The Interpretive Interface in L2 Acquisition: the Process-Result Distinction in English-French Interlanguage Grammars (1997)
Laurent Dekydtspotter, Rex Sprouse and B. Anderson
Language Acquisition, 6 297-332

The Universal Parser and Interlanguage: Domain-Specific Mental Organization in the Comprehension of Combien Interrogatives in English-French Interlanguage (2001)
L. Dekydtspotter
Second Language Research, 17 93-145