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Ricardo Otheguy - Co-Director

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Ricardo Otheguy is professor of Linguistics at the Graduate Center, City University of New York. His publications in theoretical linguistics are in the areas of Spanish linguistics, functional-semiotic grammar, and the Spanish of the United States. His publications in applied linguistics have been in the area of bilingual education and the teaching of Spanish to native speakers of Spanish.

Professor Otheguy has participated in national and international conferences throughout the U.S., Europe, and Latin America, and has lectured and conducted research in universities and research centers in several countries, including Brazil, Cuba, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Spain and Uruguay.

Prof. Otheguy is the founding director of the CUNY Research Institute for the Study of Language in Urban Society, which conducts basic and applied research in urban linguistics, bringing to bear the research resources of the City University of New York on urban language issues.

He is the author of numerous research papers that have appeared in the major research journals and anthologies. He is co-editor of Language Across Cultures/Cultures Across English: A reader in cross cultural communication and of Signal, Meaning and Message: Perspectives on sign-based linguistics. He has developed textbook materials for the teaching of Spanish to Latino students in the United States, and is co-author of several books, including Tu Mundo: Curso para hispanohablantes, Prueba de ubicación para hispanohablantes, and Spanish in New York: Language contact, dialectal leveling and structural continuity. He has also written Spanish materials for English speaking students, and is co-author of the most widely used high school Spanish textbook in the U.S., En español.

He holds a Ph.D. in Linguistics from the City University of New York (1976), as well as degrees and diplomas in Spanish from Louisiana State University, the City College of New York, and the University of Madrid, Spain.

Funded Projects:

  • New York State Initiative on Emergent Bilinguals. Funded by New York State Education Department (2011–2016).
  • Evaluating the 'College Now' experience of English language learners. Funded by CUNY College Now (2010–2012).
  • Revisiting the sociolinguistic analysis of variable coda /s/ weakening in Spanish: An instrumental phonetic approach. Funded by NSF (2009–2012).
  • Mastery of specific syntactic structures as predictors of developing literacy in bilinguals. Funded by CUNY Collaborative Incentive Research Grant (2009–2011).
  • Yiddish in Jewish day schools. Funded by the Fishman Foundation (2003–2004).
  • Supporting Language Skills in Immigrant Pre-Schoolers: An Innovative, Structure-Based Program Intervention Study. Funded by Rockefeller Brothers Foundation (2002–2003).
  • The Interaction of Language and Dialect Contact: Variable Expression of Spanish Subject Pronouns in Six Spanish Dialects in New York City. Funded by NSF (2001–2004).

Gita Martohardjono - Co-Director

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Gita Martohardjono is associate professor of Linguistics at Queens College and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. Her area of specialization and research is second language acquisition, in particular, the acquisition of syntax by non-native speakers. Her publications have focused on the cross-linguistic comparison of the development of sentence structure from the perspective of generative theory.

She is Co-director of the Second Language Acquisition Lab at the CUNY Graduate Center, and is currently collaborating on several research projects within and outside the City University system. One grant-funded project investigates the development and use of tense, aspect and pronoun reference across second language (L2) learners of different age groups, concentrating specifically on the differences in attainment between child and adult L2 learners from a wide range of native language backgrounds, including Korean, Japanese, Chinese, Spanish, Russian, Thai and Indonesian. She is PI on an NSF-funded study comparing the neural electrophysiology in the processing of syntax by native speakers of English and ESL learners whose native language is Spanish. This study is linked to an ongoing collaboration with brain imaging laboratories at MIT, Columbia and Cornell. In addition, she is conducting a longitudinal study investigating the impact of syntactic knowledge on the development of reading comprehension skills and biliteracy in elementary school children . This study is funded by the Research Institute for the Study of Language in Urban Society (RISLUS), of which she is Associate Director.

Professor Martohardjono has extensive experience in language and literacy-related pedagogy, as well. She teaches in the MA program at Queens College which certifies teachers of English as a Second Language; she has directed the summer ESL program at MIT’s Sloan School of Business; and she is developing a curriculum and teacher-training program at John Bowne High School targeting ESL students who are at risk of failing the Social Studies Regents examination.

She holds a Ph.D. in Linguistics from Cornell University and an M.A. from Universite de Montreal, Canada.

Funded Projects:
– The Role of Syntax in Reading Comprehension: A Study of Bilingual Readers.

Kate Menken - Research Fellow

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Kate Menken is an Associate Professor of Linguistics at Queens College of the City University of New York (CUNY), and a Research Fellow at the Research Institute for the Study of Language in Urban Society at the Graduate Center, CUNY. She is Co-Principal Investigator of the CUNY-New York State Initiative for Emergent Bilinguals (NYSIEB) project (, and Associate Editor/Review Editor for the journal Language Policy. Previously, she was a researcher at the National Clearinghouse for Bilingual Education and an English as a second language teacher. She holds an Ed.D. from Teachers College, Columbia University and was first place recipient of Outstanding Dissertation Awards from the National Association for Bilingual Education and the American Educational Research Association. Her research interests include language education policy, bilingual education, and emergent bilinguals in secondary schools. Recent books are English Learners Left Behind: Standardized Testing as Language Policy (Multilingual Matters, 2008) andNegotiating Language Policies in Schools: Educators as Policymakers (co-edited with Ofelia García, Routledge, 2010). Her work also appears in several journals, including International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, Language Policy, Theory into Practice, Bilingual Research Journal, Annual Review of Applied Linguistics, Educational Leadership, and International Multilingual Research Journal. Further information can be found on her website:

Laura Ascenzi-Moreno - Research Associate

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Laura Ascenzi-Moreno is an Assistant Professor and Bilingual Program Coordinator in the Childhood, Bilingual, and Special Education Department at Brooklyn College.  She received her doctorate in Urban Education from the City University of New York Graduate Center in 2012.  Prior to becoming a professor, she was a dual language, bilingual teacher and coach in New York City public schools for more than a decade.  Her research is focused on the literacy development of emergent bilingual students, the development of teacher knowledge, and how both of these intersect with equity.  Her research interests also include translanguaging, multi-modalities, assessment, and school governance.  She conducts case studies of teachers and schools to study the lived worlds of children and teachers.  She was also an Associate Investigator for the City University of New York New York State Initiative on Emergent Bilinguals (CUNY-NYSIEB) from 2012-16.  Her publications can be found in Literacy Research and Instruction, Language and Education, Schools: Studies in Education, and Language Arts.

Sharon Avni - Research Associate

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Sharon Avni is an associate professor at the Borough of Manhattan Community College (BMCC) in the Academic Literacy and Linguistics department. In 2009 she received her PhD from NYU. Currently, she is working with Kate Menken on a Spencer Foundation sponsored study that focuses on the expansion of dual language bilingual programs in New York City public schools. She is also co-authoring a book with Sarah Benor (HUC) and Jonathon Krasner (Brandeis University) to be published by Rutgers University Press that examines the role of Hebrew in Jewish overnight camps. Her previous work has explored Hebrew language ideologies, policy, and socialization in Jewish and charter school contexts. She has also worked on areas of academic literacy, college readiness, and developmental education in community colleges.

Eva Fernández - Research Associate

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Eva Fernández, Ph.D., is a faculty member in the department of Linguistics and Communication Disorders at Queens College, and in the Program in Linguistics at the Graduate Center. Her primary research interest lies in the way human language is produced and perceived. Her work examines language processing in speakers of different languages and speakers with different language histories. Some of her recent work addresses how phonological information (prosody in particular) is incorporated into a syntactic parse. This research has led to an investigation of the sentence-level prosody produced by English and Spanish monolingual and bilingual speakers.

Ofelia García - Research Associate

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Ofelia García is Professor in the Ph.D. program of Urban Education at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. She has been Professor of Bilingual Education at Columbia University´s Teachers College, and at The City College of New York; and has been Dean of the School of Education at the Brooklyn Campus of Long Island University. García has published widely in the areas of sociology of language, language policy, bilingualism, and bilingual education. She is the General Editor of the International Journal of the Sociology of Language and the co-editor of Language Policy (with H. Kelly-Holmes). Among her best-known books are Bilingual Education in the 21st Century: A Global Perspective; and Translanguaging; Language, Bilingualism and Education (with Li Wei), which received the 2015 British Association of Applied Linguistics Award. For more information visit

Mira Goral - Research Associate

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Mira Goral is an Associate Professor at the Department of Speech-Language-Hearing Sciences, Lehman College, The City University of New York. She received her B.A. from Tel Aviv University and her doctoral degree from the program in Speech and Hearing Sciences at the Graduate School and University Center, CUNY. She completed a post-doctoral fellowship at the Department of Neurology at the Boston University School of Medicine and the Language in the Aging Brain Laboratory at the Harold Goodglass Aphasia Research Center at the Boston VA Healthcare System. Her research interests include neurolinguistics of bilingualism, aphasia, first language attrition, and language and cognition in older age.

Thomas Ihde - Research Associate

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Thomas Ihde is associate professor of Irish in the Department of Languages and Literatures at Lehman College. His interests focus on the acquisition of less commonly taught languages and his research projects have collected data from both adults acquiring second languages and infants being raised bilingually. He has also published on research concerning less commonly taught languages in the media. As director of the CUNY Institute for Irish-American Studies, he founded the Center for Irish Language Acquisition Research which launched the 2008 Routledge addition to the Colloquial Series, Colloquial Irish (book & MP3 audio files). He is actively involved in a number of projects funded by the Department of Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs of the Irish Government. Professor Ihde has lectured in the M.Ed. TESOL and M.A. Spanish programs at Lehman College as well as supervised master’s level thesis students. As a CUNY professor, he currently teaches Irish language and literature courses on the campuses of Lehman College, Queens College, Manhattan College, and the College of Mount Saint Vincent through e-permit and consortium agreements. Thomas Ihde holds a master’s degree and Ph.D. in Applied Linguistics from the University of Dublin (Trinity College).

Daniel Kaufman - Research Associate

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Daniel Kaufman is director of the soon to be launched Urban Fieldstation for Linguistic Research, a center for the documentation and analysis of endangered languages in New York City. UFLR will facilitate collaborative work with various immigrant communities to document, describe and analyze their languages in a laboratory setting. UFLR will also be teaching students of linguistics how to use state-of-the-art digital audio and video technology for the purposes of language documentation.

Daniel is a specialist in the Austronesian language family, whose speakers are found in Taiwan, the Philippines, Indonesia, East Timor, Malaysia, Madagascar and throughout the Pacific. For the last 12 years, he has been involved in research on the synchronic properties of the phonology and morphosyntax of several Austronesian languages in addition to aspects of their historical development. He has published on such topics as the morphophonology of infixation, the syntax of adverbs, and the complex Austronesian voice system. He has done extensive fieldwork in the Philippines, Indonesia and Madagascar on various local undescribed languages.

Daniel’s Ph.D. dissertation (Cornell University, 2008) examines second- position phenomena in Tagalog and the implications for a universal theory of clitics. His work has been funded by the National Science Foundation and Fulbright-Hayes

Elaine Klein - Research Associate


Dr. Elaine C. Klein is Associate Professor of linguistics at Queens College and the Graduate Center, CUNY, where she is co-director (with Gita Martohardjono) of the Second Language Research Laboratory.

Professor Klein teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in literacy, second language acquisition, research methods, and English syntax, among other topics. The recipient of the Presidential Award for Excellence in Teaching at Queens College (2002), Professor Klein specializes in teaching graduate courses in the Masters program in Applied Linguistics and TESOL, preparing teachers for certification in New York State schools. Her courses include English syntax, research methods and second language acquisition. At the same time, she teaches in the linguistics program at the Graduate Center, including second language acquisition, second language literacy, research methods and sociolinguistics. A former New York City elementary and high school teacher, Professor Klein has focused her research on the development of non-native syntax and, more recently, on literacy among non-native speakers of English.

Professor Klein has given presentations at national and international conferences and has published two books and numerous papers on theoretical issues in her field. She has also been closely involved in the improvement of second language instructional practices and has conducted professional development workshops to teachers and administrators of English language programs in Mexico, Cyprus and Viet Nam. Closer to home, she has done staff development and created literacy curricula in NYC high schools for College Now!, an initiative to help high school students prepare for higher education. As Co-PI on the RISLUS SIFE project (with Gita Martohardjono), she has recently focused on the academic challenges faced by emergent bilinguals in the New York City schools, particularly those who come to school with special literacy needs. Since 2011, Prof Klein has been the principal investigator in a large project called Bridges to Academic Success, which addresses the language and literacy needs of adolescent newcomers to secondary schools in school districts around New York State.  The project, funded by the New York City Department of Education and the New York State Education Department, promotes bilingualism and bi-literacy among students whose native language literacy is minimal and who need specialized support to graduate from high school. 

Professor Klein received her Ph.D in Linguistics from the City University of New York, with a specialization in second language acquisition. She also has an MA in TESOL from Teachers College, Columbia.

Funded Projects:

  • Bridges to Academic Success: Accelerating language, literacy and content learning for emergent bilinguals with limited native language literacy
  • Understanding the Student with Interrupted Formal Education (SIFE). A longitudinal study of SIFE skills, needs and achievement in different instructional settings.
  • Using Temporal Markers in Standard American English.
  • An investigation of reading skills among English language learners in high school.
  • The Role of First language, Age and Intervention in Second Language Acquisition.
  • Beyond Second Language Acquisition: A nine month longitudinal study of the development of English as a second vs. third language among Korean and Spanish speakers in New York City.

Tatyana Kleyn - Research Associate

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Tatyana Kleyn is an Associate Professor and Director of the Bilingual Education and TESOL Programs at The City College of New York.  She is also a  Public Scholar for the New York Council for Humanities.  Tatyana is the recipient of the AERA Bilingual Research SIG Early Career Award.  In 2014-15 she was President of the New York State Association for Bilingual Education (NYSABE) and a Fulbright Scholar in Oaxaca, Mexico.  She served as acting co-PI for the CUNY New York State Initiative on Emergent Bilinguals (CUNY-NYSIEB) that supports administrators in developing school-wide bilingual ecologies.  In 2007 she received an Ed.D. in international educational development at Teachers College, Columbia University. Her dissertation, focused on the intersections of bilingual and multicultural education in Spanish, Haitian, Chinese and Russian bilingual classrooms, earned second place in the Outstanding Dissertation Award for NABE. She is co-editor of “Translanguaging with Multilingual Students: Learning from Classroom Moments” with Ofelia García (Routledge, 2016)  author of “Immigration: The Ultimate Teen Guide” (Scarecrow Press, 2011), co-author of “Teaching in Two Languages: A Guide for K-12 Bilingual Educators” with Adelman Reyes (Corwin Press, 2010). She is the director of the documentaries “Living Undocumented: High School, College and Beyond” and “Una Vida, Dos Países: Children and Youth (Back) in Mexico.” Tatyana has published about the educational of the Garífuna in Honduras and ‘Long-Term English Learners’ in NYC secondary schools (with Kate Menken).  She was an elementary school teacher in San Pedro Sula, Honduras and Atlanta, Georgia.

Michael Newman - Research Associate

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Michael Newman graduated with a doctorate in applied linguistics from teachers college. He has published one book each in the area of academic literacy and ESL and a number of articles on both these areas. He is currently Assistant Professor of Linguistics at Queens College. His research interests are currently focused on vernacular literacy and variationist sociolinguistics.

Funded projects:
- Personal Experiences With Literacy Of Bilingual Para-educators and Their Impact On Teaching and Learning

Angela Reyes - Research Associate

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Angela Reyes is Associate Professor of Linguistics in the Department of English at Hunter College, CUNY, and Doctoral Faculty in the Ph.D. Program in Anthropology at the Graduate Center, CUNY. She received her Ph.D. in Educational Linguistics at the University of Pennsylvania in 2003. Her areas are sociolinguistics, discourse analysis, linguistic anthropology, and Asian American Studies. She works on theories of semiotics, metapragmatics, indexicality, and stylization. Her books include Beyond Yellow English: Toward a Linguistic Anthropology of Asian Pacific America (Oxford University Press, 2009) and Language, Identity, and Stereotype Among Southeast Asian American Youth: The Other Asian (Lawrence Erlbaum, 2007), and her work has appeared in numerous journals, including the Journal of Sociolinguistics, Pragmatics, and Discourse Studies. She was a Spencer Fellow (2009-2010), Woodrow Wilson Fellow (2006-2007), and Ford Fellow (2002-2003). She is currently carrying out a sociolinguistic study of Asian American cram schools in New York City.

Jennifer Hamano - Assistant to the Directors

Jennifer Hamano is a PhD candidate in the Linguistics Program at the Graduate Center and the administrative assistant for RISLUS. Please direct any general inquiries to Jennifer at