Karen Lichtman

I am on sabbatical for academic year 2018-2019.  Please contact Kathy Kuschman at kkuschman@niu.edu for World Language Educator Licensure questions, or the main office for general questions.  

Research Interests

My research focuses on age effects in second language acquisition. Children are thought to learn languages effortlessly and reliably, whereas adults learn faster in the early stages of L2 acquisition but ultimately fall short of nativelike attainment. How can we explain these phenomena? I examine both learner-internal factors, such as maturationally based cognitive changes in implicit and explicit learning, and learner-external factors, such as the amount of language input and type of instruction, that could cause adults to learn languages differently from children. I am also interested in whether these differences are inevitable. This research has implications for theories of language learning, curriculum design and language teaching for learners of different ages.

In addition to second language acquisition, I also do work in the area of L1 and L2 phonology. Phonology is particularly interesting because it is the aspect of language that shows the earliest age effects, and is often not the subject of explicit instruction, meaning that learners must acquire phonology through exposure to large numbers of exemplars. Because adults have more experience with their first language than children do, they may also find it more difficult to develop nativelike phonological categories in a second language.

Selected Publications

  • Lichtman, K. (2018).  Teaching Proficiency through Reading and Storytelling (TPRS): An input-based approach to second language instruction.  New York: Routledge.

  • Lichtman, K. (In press).  Research on TPR Storytelling.  In B. Ray & C. Seely, Fluency Through TPR Storytelling, 8th ed.  Berkeley: Command Performance Language Institute.

  • Lichtman, K. (2016).  Age and learning environment: Are children implicit second language learners? Journal of Child Language, 43(03), 707-730. 10.1017/S0305000915000598

  • Cartford, B. A., Holter Kittok, J., and Lichtman, K. (2015).  Measuring fluency development in Content-Based Storytelling elementary Spanish instruction. The International Journal of Foreign Language Teaching, 10:1 (Summer), 2-9.

  • Lichtman, K. (2015).  Research on TPR Storytelling.  In B. Ray & C. Seely, Fluency Through TPR Storytelling, 7th ed. (364-380).  Berkeley: Command Performance Language Institute.

  • Lichtman, K. (2014).  Comprehensible input through storytelling.  The Language Educator, October/November, 46-47.

  • Lichtman, K. (2013).  Developmental comparisons of implicit and explicit language learning.  Language Acquisition, 20(2), 93-10810.1080/10489223.2013.766740

  • Lichtman, K. (2012).  Research on TPR Storytelling.  In B. Ray & C. Seely, Fluency Through TPR Storytelling, 6th ed. (304-311).  Berkeley: Command Performance Language Institute.

  • Lichtman, K.; Chang, S.; Cramer, J.; Crespo del Rio, C.; Hallett, J.; Huensch, A.; & Morales, A. (2010).  IPA illustration of Q'anjob'al.  Studies in the Linguistic Sciences: Illinois Working Papers 2010: 1-23.

Links


Karen Lichtman
Associate Professor
Office: WH 114
P: 815-753-6443
klichtman@niu.edu

Education

Ph.D., University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Linguistics
M.A., University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Linguistics
B.A., Williams College, Spanish and Psychology

Contact Us

World Languages and Cultures
Watson Hall 111
815-753-1501
askfl@niu.edu