Faculty Directory

Stephen Allan Fafulas
  • Title
    • Lecturer
  • Division Humanities Division
  • Department
    • Languages and Applied Linguistics
  • Phone
    831-459-2054 (msg)
  • Email
  • Website
  • Office Location
    • Cowell College Academic Building, 218 Cowell College
  • Mail Stop Department of Languages and Applied Linguistics

Summary of Expertise

I have conducted fieldwork with various minority language speech communities throughout the Americas, including documentation of cultural and linguistic practices among the Bora, Yagua and Okaina in the Peruvian Amazon. When planning research projects, I am highly dedicated to cross-disciplinary scholarship that integrates community stakeholders in the project design. To achieve this, I co-founded the Study of Communities, Involvement & Outreach and Linguistics (SoCIOLing) Lab, through which I disseminate my research findings while raising awareness of cultural and linguistic diversity in bilingual zones of the Americas. In the Lab, as well as in the classroom, I have mentored students from different cultures and backgrounds and helped secure funding for these students to collect data and travel to present co-authored research. Students in my upper-level classes work on projects and collect data on local varieties of Spanish. Through this initiative, students become more aware of social, linguistic, and educational issues in their local community and among immigrant and minority populations in general. I am also a graduate of the Engagement and Outreach Scholars Academy at East Carolina University which gives me specialized training in conducting community-engaged scholarship. 

Research Interests

My research incorporates current theories and methodologies in Sociolinguistics and Second Language Acquisition to examine syntactic and phonetic variation in native, learner, and contact varieties of language. I employ quantitative methods to uncover the social, linguistic, and cognitive factors that shape languages at the individual and societal level. I have experience conducting linguistic fieldwork with various speech communities throughout the Americas, and my investigations have explored language shift and bilingualism in distinct settings, from the classroom to the Amazon. This work analyzes the ethnolinguistic vitality of minority languages in the Amazon (Bora and Yagua) as well as in the US (Spanish and Greek). My studies have been funded internally and externally by agencies such as the National Science Foundation.I am highly dedicated to cross-disciplinary scholarship that integrates community stakeholders in the project design. To achieve this, I co-founded the Study of Communities, Involvement & Outreach and Linguistics (SoCIOLing) Lab, through which I disseminate my research findings while raising awareness of the cultural and linguistic diversity across bilingual zones of the Americas.

Biography, Education and Training

I hold a Ph.D. in Hispanic Linguistics from Indiana University. Currently, I am conducting research on U.S. Spanish and teaching in the Department of Languages and Applied Linguistics at the University of California, Santa Cruz. My research expertise is in the areas of second language acquisition and sociolinguistics. My primary focus is on language contact and bilingualism among indigenous language communities in the Peruvian Amazon and Spanish-speaking communities in the United States. I am the director and co-founder of the SoCIOLing Lab [http://sociolinglab.org] where I have trained and mentored students in conducting community-engaged research.

Honors, Awards and Grants



  1. Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement Grant (Co-PI), National Science Foundation. “First andSecond-Language Patterns of Variation: Acquisition and Use of Simple Present and PresentProgressive Forms in Spanish and English [#1226945].” ($9,145). 2012-2014.

  2. Graduate Student Award, Second Language Research Forum organizing committee, Carnegie Mellon University. ($250). 2012.

  3. Graduate Student Award, Hispanic Linguistics Symposium organizing committee, University of Georgia. ($250). 2011.

  4. Ambassadorial Scholarship, Rotary International [Host Club 4890 Buenos Aires, Argentina]. ($25,000). 2006-2007.

  5. Amazon Honors Fellowship, Project Amazonas. ($5,000). 2003.


  1. Junior Faculty Research and Creative Achievement Award, University of Mississippi. ($8,785). 2018.

  2. Summer Research Award, University of Mississippi. ($9,500). 2017.

  3. ORSP Faculty Travel Award, University of Mississippi. ($500). 2017.

  4. Interdisciplinary Research Collaboration Award (Co-PI), East Carolina University, “Assessing levels of nasality among children whose primary language is Spanish.” ($15,900). 2015-2016.

Selected Publications




  1. Fafulas, S. (Editor). Amazonian Spanish: Language Contact and Evolution. To appear in Issues in Hispanic and Lusophone Linguistics book series. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

  2. Fafulas, S., & Viñas de Puig, R. Emerging ethnolinguistic varieties in the Amazon: The case of Yagua Spanish. To appear in S. Fafulas (Ed.), Amazonian Spanish: Language Contact and Evolution. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

  3. Henriksen, N., Fafulas, S., & O’Rourke, E. Intervocalic stop realization in Amazonian Spanish: the case of Yagua Spanish. To appear in R. Rao (Ed.), Spanish phonetics and phonology in contact: Studies from Africa, the Americas, and Spain.


  1. Fafulas, S., Díaz-Campos, M., & Gradoville, M. (2018). Stable Variation or Change in Progress? A Sociolinguistic Analysis of PA(RA) in the Spanish of Venezuela. In J. King & S. Sessarego (Eds.),Language Variation and Contact-Induced Change: Spanish across Space and Time (pp. 223–245). Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

  2. Perry, J., Kotlarek, K., Mendez, L., Holt, Y., Fafulas, S., & Broadwell, K. (2018). Nasometric Comparison Between Spanish-English Bilingual and English Monolingual Children. The Cleft Palate-Craniofacial Journal.

  3. Méndez, L., Perry, J., Holt, Y., Bian, H., & Fafulas, S. (2018). Same or different: Narrative retells in bilingual Latino kindergarten children. Bilingual Research Journal, 41(2), 150-166.

  4. Henriksen, N., & Fafulas, S. (2017). Prosodic timing and language contact: Spanish and Yagua in Amazonian Peru. Studies in Hispanic and Lusophone Linguistics, 10(2), 225–257.

  5. Rodríguez-Mondoñedo, M., & Fafulas, S. (2016). Double Possession in Peruvian Amazonian Spanish. In A. Cuza, L. Czerwionka, & D. Olson (Eds.), Inquires in Hispanic Linguistics: From Theory to Empirical Evidence (pp. 335–354). Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

  6. Kanwit, M., Geeslin, K., & Fafulas, S. (2015). Study abroad and the SLA of variable structures: A look at the present perfect, the copula contrast, and the present progressive in Mexico and Spain.Probus, 27(2), 307–348.

  7. Fafulas, S. (2015). The Pear Stories Film: Simple Presents and Present Progressives in Portuguese, Spanish and English. Estudos Linguísticos/Linguistic Studies, 11, 61–81.

  8. O’Rourke, E., & Fafulas, S. (2015). Spanish in Contact in the Peruvian Amazon: An Examination of Intervocalic Voiced Stops. In E. Willis et al. (Eds.), Selected Proceedings of the 6th Conference on Laboratory Approaches to Romance Phonology (pp. 145–162). Somerville, MA: Cascadilla Proceedings Project.

  9. Fafulas, S. (2015). Progressive Constructions in Native-Speaker and Adult-Acquired Spanish. Studies in Hispanic and Lusophone Linguistics, 8(1), 85–133.

  10. Geeslin, K., Fafulas, S., & Kanwit, M. (2013). Acquiring geographically-variable norms of use: The case of the present perfect in Mexico and Spain. In C. Howe, S. E. Blackwell, & M. Lubbers Quesada (Eds.), Selected Proceedings of the 15th Hispanic Linguistics Symposium (pp. 205–220). Somerville, MA: Cascadilla Proceedings Project.

Teaching Interests



  1. First-Year Spanish Level II (SPAN 2)

  2. First-Year Spanish Level III (SPAN 3)


  1. Linguistic Fieldwork and Data Analysis (LING 702)

  2. Research and Practice in Classroom Second Language Acquisition (SPAN 672)

  3. Spanish Phonetics and Phonology (SPAN 572)

  4. Introduction to Hispanic Linguistics (SPAN 330)

  5. Introduction to Linguistics (LING 313)

  6. Advanced Spanish Grammar and Composition (SPAN 371)

  7. Spanish Conversation and Composition (SPAN 303) 

Over the past ten years, I have taught courses on linguistics and Spanish language from the elementary to the advanced levels. I incorporate task-based instruction and create a meaning-oriented environment, while exposing students to a variety of input types to build their interpersonal, interpretive, and presentational communicative abilities. Students learn about the rich historical, cultural, and dialectal diversity of the Spanish-speaking world, including their local communities, while acquiring a solid foundation in all skill areas (listening, speaking, reading, writing). To the extent possible, I promote community-engagement and service-learning in the courses that I teach as ways to help learners, especially heritage speakers, foster a positive bilingual identity and use their linguistic skills in innovative ways. In my upper-level courses, I train students to conduct small-scale research experiments and collect data by recruiting participants among local Spanish-speaking populations. I am also dedicated to helping students gain the theoretical and practical knowledge that they need to succeed in their future careers as educators. For example, in my Research and Practice in Classroom Second Language Acquisition class, students were exposed to current theories of instructed SLA and engaged in various activities to prepare them for teaching, such as observing their peers, writing lesson samples, creating class activities, and, in the end, producing a complete teaching portfolio.