Opportunities for Students in Research

Linguistics Department Research Directory

Projects summaries are listed below, as well as information about whether professors are seeking students to be involved in their research.

The types of positions we advertise are either...
  • Volunteer: Unpaid; hours and length of commitment are variable;
  • Paid Research Assistantship: Paid from a research grant or department funds; hours and length of commitment are variable;
  • Work-Study: Paid by Financial Aid & Awards. For eligibility and to apply, visit the SFU Work-Study program.

** NEW FOR FALL 2021: In order to increase the number of paid undergraduate research opportunties, we are launching a pilot program aimed at NEW students who have not previously been employed as RAs in Linguistics. If you're interested in volunteering or working as an RA, please fill out this application (you will need an unofficial student transcript and recent resume). You may apply to more than one project in your application.

Key Dates:
August 3, 2021: Positions for the Fall semester posted
August 9, 2021: Deadline to apply for Fall positions

This page is under ongoing development. Please check back regularly for updates.

Ongoing research projects
Professor, Project Information Seeking Students?
John Alderete
Cognition, Computational linguistics, Corpus linguistics
Investigating the language of aphasics: We will investigate the language behaviour of aphasics, including one word production tasks, spontaneous speech, and word retrieval tasks, by exploring open data sets and building computational models. The first part will involve substantial reading (most of first term), followed by collection and organization of language data from online data repositories. Duties:
  • • reading of the the relevant literature
  • • data collection and organization
  • • development of computational models
Yes, 1 New RA in Fall 2021 and Spring 2022
5 hrs/week for two terms. Ideal qualifications:
  • • 9 credits of upper division Ling courses (especially Ling 315, 415)
  • • programming experience
John Alderete
Cognition, Experimental linguistics, Computational linguistics
The Language Cognition and Computation (LCC) learning community connects linguistic structures with computational methods in projects that investigate human cognition. The LCC is currently working on using network science tools to investigate linguistic systems and psycholinguistic behavior. Planned projects involve analyzing the similarity structure of the lexicons of under-studied languages, and using network science to analyze disordered speech. The LCC meets once a month via zoom to plan and co-ordinate project work. All SFU students are invited to be part of the LCC learning community.
Yes, volunteer only
Join monthly meetings, undertake research concerning language cognition and computation. Note: No direct supervision outside monthly meetings, intended as a learning community rather than a lab position.
Ashley Farris-Trimble
Acquisition, Phonology, Perception, Experimental linguistics
Learning Opacity: Tracks children’s acquisition of complex phonological processes. Children between the age of 3 and 9 (and adult control group) will perform an online task where they will be asked to match nonsense words with their corresponding suffixed form. These results will show us how children understand phonological patterns and how they generalize them to new words. The student will work with a team of RAs to:
  • • recruit child participants
  • • collect data from child participants
  • • schedule adult participants
  • • transcribe audio data from children and adults
Interactions with participants are expected to be remote; lab work and meetings will take place in the lab (RCB), but alternative arrangements are possible.
Yes, 1 New RA in Fall 2021 or Spring 2022
5 hrs/week. The ideal student will:
  • • have taken LING 321 (LING 350 is a bonus)
  • • feel comfortable working (remotely) with children
  • • be punctual, reliable, and somewhat flexible in schedule (some children may only be available after school or on weekends)
  • • work well with a team
Nancy Hedberg
Pragmatics, Semantics, Corpus linguistics
Corpus Pragmatics and Prosody (virtual) Lab: Assist in lab corpus linguistics projects on questions, clefts, demonstratives, and other information-structure-sensitive constructions. Duties include:
  • • extracting and organizing text/audio/video data from computerized corpora of monologue/dialogue speech
  • • classifying, transcribing, and acoustically analyzing individual corpus data files
  • • assisting in statistical analysis and presentation of results
  • • assisting in design of corpus and experimental studies
  • • maintaining lab website and Teams site; storage of data for access by the scientific community
  • • literature search and web search for work of other relevant labs
Yes, 1 New RA and 1-3 volunteers in Fall 2021
5 hrs/week. Ideal qualifications:
  • • coursework in theoretical linguistics: e.g. LING 324, 322, 330, or 321
  • • background in discourse-pragmatics, computational or psycho-linguistics (ideal)
  • • familiarity with or strong interest in Praat, Excel, Audacity
  • • interest in comparing English with other languages
  • • work well with a team
Henny Yeung
Acquisition, Bilingualism, Experimental linguistics
Community: Describing bilingualism in detail, recording language input for children 2-6 years old in bilingual families. Claims have also been made about bilingualism and some linguistic and executive functions, so we are aiming to do online and in-person studies to collect data on these topics. Duties:
  • • perform recruitment activities
  • • run participants over Zoom
Yes, 1-2 volunteers in Fall 2021
4 hrs/week. Ideally, students will be available for at least 2 terms and have completed LING 350.
Yue Wang
Phonetics, Production, Perception, Experimental linguistics
Audio-visual speech production experiments. Duties may include:
  • • assistance in experiment development
  • • recruitment of participants
  • • audio-video recording
  • • perception testing
  • • data analysis
1 New RA and 1-2 volunteers in Spring 2022
5 hrs/week. Qualifications:
  • • background in phonetics
  • • familiarity with Praat and Excel
Other qualifications (not required):
  • • statistics, psychology, computer science
Henny Yeung
Perception, Experimental linguistics
FaceScan: We are using eye-tracking experiments to study how English-speakers try to perceive which [English or Mandarin] sentence a muted video is presenting. The volunteer will run participants in person.
1 volunteer in Spring 2022
4 hrs/week. Ideally, students will be available for at least 2 terms.
Henny Yeung
Production, Acquisition, Prosody, Experimental linguistics
L2-IDS: We are studying the speech prosody of infant-directed speech from parents speaking their non-native language using day-long recordings. Duties will include:
  • • contacting families interested in L1 acquisition research
  • • running studies and explaining study to families
1 new RA in Summer 2022
7-8 hrs/week. Preferred qualifications:
  • • interest in L1 and L2 acquisition research
  • • knowledge of commonly spoken newcomer languages in Canada (Punjabi, Mandarin, Cantonese, Korean, etc.) a plus, but not required

Please direct any suggestions/corrections to the Research Grants and Projects Coordinator.