Research Expertise and Interest
Spanish linguistics, romance linguistics, contact linguistics, bilingualism, Catalan, sociophonetics, language variation and change, quantitative methods
Justin Davidson is an Associate Professor of Hispanic and Romance Linguistics in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese. His main research agenda is guided by questions that primarily address language variation and language change in contact situations, specifically as linked to the empirical assessment of linguistic influence (via language contact), incorporating a variety of linguistic frameworks and methodologies. In particular, He has explored bi-directional effects of language contact between Spanish and Catalan manifested phonetically in the speech of the diverse community of Catalan-Spanish bilingual speakers in Barcelona and Valencia, Spain. He is interested in the dynamics of language use in bilingual speech communities, particularly as a consequence of a complex interplay between both linguistic and social factors, and my research aims to account for why, as well as by what processes certain linguistic features (and not others) propagate throughout the wider community of speakers. Central to this line of research is the pursuit of the best quantitative models in sociolinguistics, from which he has developed a vested interest in evaluating (and combining) various statistical toolkits (in addition to an attempt to help new R users become more accustomed to analyzing data with R – see website!). He has also published on the diachronic development of diaspora varieties of Catalan from a framework of sociohistorical linguistics, as well as the variable acquisition of Spanish inflectional morphology by U.S. heritage speakers and L2-speakers using empirical methodologies informed by the fields of second language acquisition and psycholinguistics. With respect to U.S. Spanish, he is actively involved in the documentation and legitimization of U.S. Spanish via the Corpus of Bay Area Spanish (CBAS) project, expanded in 2023 to explore Spanish-English bilingualism across California, in collaboration with Hispanic Linguistics faculty at UC Santa Cruz and UCLA.