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Prof Elaine E Tarone

CARLA 140 University Intnl Ctr 331 17th Ave SE

Department Affiliations


Elaine Tarone is Distinguished Teaching Professor in Second Language Studies (Writing Studies), and Director of the Center for Advanced Research on Language Acquisition (CARLA) in Global Programs and Strategy Alliance at the University of Minnesota. She has taught graduate courses in applied linguistics at the University of Minnesota since 1979, privileged to work with generations of students in its MA-ESL program and see its graduates improve and professionalize adult ESL and language instruction in a wide range of institutions and contexts. Past editor of the refereed journal Applied Linguistics, past president of the American Association for Applied Linguistics (AAAL) (and chair of its first independent conference in 1991), she has published research on second language acquisition (SLA) since 1972. She published the first paper on interlanguage phonology (Tarone 1972) and the first study on the strategic competence of second language learners (Tarone 1978). A major theme of her work has been the empirical documentation of variation in the speech of second language learners and the exploration of its theoretical implications (Tarone 1979, 1985, 2000, 2010). More recently, she has collaborated with Martha Bigelow, Kit Hansen and Bob DelMas (2006) to publish the first empirical study documenting the impact of alphabetic literacy level on second language speech, which won the TESOL/Heinle Distinguished Research Award in 2007. Her 2009 Oxford University Press book and USDE Title VI IRSP grant focus on the use of video and interactive activities to help teachers of ESL, Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Persian better understand the nature and development of learner language in their own classrooms.


  • research on processes of second language acquisition
  • learner language analysis by language teachers
  • impact of alphabetic literacy on oral processing in second-language acquisition
  • applied linguistics
  • bilingualism

Educational Background

  • Ph.D. and M.A.: Speech Science, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, 1970, 1972.
  • Diploma: Applied Linguistics, Edinburgh University, Scotland, 1969.
  • Secondary Licensure (Lifetime): English, Spanish, University of California, Berkeley, 1967.
  • B.A. (Phi Beta Kappa): English, Spanish, University of California, Berkeley, 1966.


  • Tarone, E., Hansen, K., and Bigelow, M. (in press). Alphabetic literacy and second language acquisition by older learners. In J. Herschensohn and M. Young-Scholten (eds.), The Cambridge Handbook of Second Language Acquisition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • BOOK Soneson, Dan and Tarone, Elaine (Eds.)(forthcoming). Expanding Our Horizons: Proceedings of the 7th International Language Teacher Education Conference. Mpls: Center for Advanced Research on Language Acquisition.
  • Bigelow, M. and Tarone, E. (forthcoming). A research agenda for SLA by pre-literate and low-literate adult learners. In Bigelow & Vinogradov (Eds.), Proceedings of the 2011 LESLLA Symposium.
  • Tarone, Elaine (in press). Learner language in unrehearsed communication: Nurturing individual differences in the classroom. In Wei Ming Chan, Kwee Nyet Chin, Sunil Kumar Bhatt, and Izumi Walker (Eds.), Individual Characteristics and Subjective Variables in Language learning. DeGruyter.
  • Tarone, E. (exp. 2013). Interlanguage. In C. A. Chapelle (ed.), The Encyclopedia of Applied Linguistics. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell Publishers.
  • Bayley, R. & Tarone, E. (in press). Variationist approaches to second language acquisition. In P. Robinson (ed.), Routledge Encyclopedia of Second Language Acquisition. New York: Routledge.
  • Tarone E. (2012). Applied linguists without borders. Language Teaching: Surveys and Studies. doi: 10.1017/S0261444812000262. Published online by Cambridge University Press, July 11, 2012. Download
  • Tarone, E. and Bigelow, M. (2012). A research agenda for second language acquisition of pre-literate and low-literate adult and adolescent learners. In Vinogradov, P. & Bigelow, M (eds.). Proceedings from the 7th annual LESLLA (Low Educated Second Language and Literacy Acquisition) symposium, September 2011 (pp. 5-26). Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota. Download
  • Bayley, Robert and Tarone, Elaine (2012). Variationist perspectives. In S. Gass and A. Mackey (eds.), Handbook of Second Language Acquisition (pp. 41-56). New York: Routledge Download
  • Tarone, E. (2010). Social context and cognition in SLA: A variationist perspective. In R. Batstone (Ed.), Sociocognitive Perspectives on Language Use and Language Learning (pp. 54-72). Oxford: Oxford University Press. Download
  • Tarone, E. (2010). The impact of fifty years of Title VI on language learning in the United States. In D.S. Wiley & R.S. Glew (eds.), International and Language Education for a Global Future: Fifty years of U.S. Title VI and Fulbright-Hays programs (pp. 71-88). East Lansing, MI: Michigan State University Press. Download
  • Tarone, Elaine E (2009). A sociolinguistic perspective on interaction in SLA, in A. Mackey & C. Polio (eds.). Multiple Perspectives on Interaction, 41-56. Download
  • BOOK: Tarone, Elaine, Martha Bigelow and Kit Hansen (2009). Literacy and Second Language Oracy. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • BOOK: Tarone, Elaine and Bonnie Swierzbin (2009). Exploring Learner Language. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Rau, D.V., Chang, H.A. & Tarone, E. (2009). Think or sink: Chinese learners' acquisition of the English voiceless interdental fricative. Language Learning, 59, 581-621.
  • Tarone, Elaine E (2009). Equipping teachers to be language explorers, in M.E. Anderson & A. Lazaraton (eds.). Bridging Contexts, Making Connections: The proceedings of the fifth international language teacher education conference, 7-22. Download
  • Tarone, Elaine and Martha Bigelow (2007). Alphabetic print literacy and processing of oral corrective feedback in L2 interaction, in A. Mackey (ed.). Conversational interaction in second language acquisition: A series of empirical studies, 101-121. Download
  • Tarone, Elaine E (2007). Sociolinguistic approaches to second language acquisition research, 1997-2007. Modern Language Journal, 91, 837-848. Download
  • Bigelow, Martha, Bob DelMas, Kit Hansen, and Elaine Tarone (2006). Literacy and the processing of oral recasts in SLA. TESOL Quarterly, 40, 1-25. Download
  • Broner, Maggie and Elaine Tarone (2001). Is it fun? Language play in a fifth grade immersion classroom. Modern Language Journal, 85,, 363-379. Download
  • BOOK: Swierzbin, B., Anderson, M., Morris, F., Klee, C. and Tarone, E. (Eds.) (2000). The Interaction of Social and Cognitive Factors in SLA: Proceedings of the 1999 SLRF. Somerville, MA: Cascadilla Press.
  • Tarone, Elaine E (2000). Still wrestling with 'context' in interlanguage theory. Annual Review of Applied Linguistics, 20, 182-198. Download
  • Tarone, E., S. Gillette, S. Dwyer, and V. Icke (1998). On the use of the active and passive voice in astrophysics journal articles: With extensions to other languages and other fields. English for Specific Purposes, 17, 113-132.
  • Yule, G. and Tarone, E. (1997). Investigating communication strategies in L2 reference: pros and cons. In G. Kasper & E. Kellerman (eds.), Communication Strategies: Psycholinguistic and Sociolinguistic Perspectives (pp. 17-30). New York: Longman. Download
  • Tarone, Elaine E, and Guo-qiang Liu (1995). Social context, variation and SLA theory, in G. Cook & B. Seidlhofer (eds.). Principle and Practice in Applied Linguistics: Studies in honour of H.G. Widdowson, 107-124. Download
  • BOOK: Tarone, E., Gass, S. and Cohen, A.D. (Eds.) (1994). Issues in Second Language Acquisition Research Methodology. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Publishers.
  • Yule, George & Tarone, Elaine. 1991. The other side of the page: Integrating the study of communication strategies and negotiated input in SLA, in Phillipson, R., Kellerman, E., Selinker, L., Sharwood Smith, M., and Swain, M. (eds.). Foreign/Second Language Pedagogy Research (pp. 162-171). Clevedon: Multilingual Matters. Download
  • BOOK: Tarone, Elaine and George Yule (1989) Focus on the Language Learner. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • BOOK: Tarone, Elaine (1988). Variation in Interlanguage. London: Edward Arnold.
  • Tarone, Elaine E, Parrish, Betsy (1988). Task-related variation in interlanguage: The case of articles. Language Learning, 38, 21-44. Download
  • Tarone, E. & Yule, G. (1987). Communication strategies in East-West interactions. In L.E. Smith (Ed.), Discourse across cultures: Strategies in World Englishes (pp. 49-65). New York: Prentice-Hall. Download
  • Tarone, Elaine E (1985). Variability in interlanguage use: A study of style-shifting in morphology and syntax. Language Learning, 35, 373-403. Download
  • Tarone, Elaine E (1983). On the variability of interlanguage systems. Applied Linguistics, 4, 142-163. Download
  • Tarone, Elaine. (1981). Some thoughts on the notion of 'communication strategy.' TESOL Quarterly, 15, 285-295. Download
  • BOOK: Selinker, L., E. Tarone and V. Hanzeli (eds.). (1981). English for Scientific and Technical Purposes: Studies in Honor of Louis Trimble. Rowley, MA: Newbury House Publishers.
  • Tarone, Elaine E (1980). Communication strategies, foreigner talk, and repair in interlanguage studies. Language Learning, 30, 417-431. Download
  • Tarone, Elaine E (1979). Interlanguage as chameleon. Language Learning, 29, 181-191. Download
  • E. Tarone (1978). Conscious communication strategies in interlanguage: A progress report, in H. D. Brown, C. Yorio and R. Crymes (Eds.), On TESOL “˜77: Teaching and Learning English as a Second Language.Washington, D.C.: TESOL.[First published research study on communication strategies in SLA]. Download
  • Tarone, E. (1972). A suggested unit for interlingual identification in pronunciation. TESOL Quarterly 6: 325-331. Download
  • Tarone, E. (1980). Some influences on the syllable structure of interlanguage phonology. IRAL: International Review of Applied Linguistics, 18: 139-152. Download
  • Cohen, A., Larsen-Freeman, D., & Tarone, E. (1991). The contribution of SLA theories and research to teaching language. In E. Sadtono (Ed.), Language acquisition and the second/foreign language classroom (136-155). Singapore: SEAMEO Regional English Language Centre. Download

Professional Activities

  • Director, Center for Advanced Research on Language Acquisition, University of Minnesota: 1993 - present
  • President and Vice President, American Association for Applied Linguistics: Organized and co-chaired the first independent national conference of AAAL , 1990 - 1992
  • Co-Editor, Applied Linguistics: (with Bernard Spolsky & Alan Davies) , 1984 - 1989
  • Chair, Research Committee: Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) , 1979 - 1981

Outreach Activities

  • CARLA Summer Institute for Foreign Language Teachers: "Basics of Second Language Acquisition for Teachers", 2003 - ongoing


  • Distinguished Scholarship and Service Award, American Association for Applied Linguistics, 2012
  • TESOL Heinle Distinguished Research Award, 2007
  • Award for Outstanding Contributions to Postbaccalaureate, Graduate, and Professional Education, University of Minnesota, 2000
  • College of Liberal Arts Teaching Award, University of Minnesota, 1982

Courses Taught

  • SLS 5805: Introduction to Second Language Acquisition for Teachers
  • TESL 8751: English for Specific Purposes
  • TESL 5610: Research Methods in Language Acquisition
  • TESL 5401, 5402: Language Analysis for Teachers of English as a Second Language
  • TESL 5722: Practicum in Teaching ESL
  • TESL 3001: Basics of Teaching ESL
  • TESL 5721: Methods in Teaching ESL
  • LSA Summer Institute: Interlanguage Variation
  • Ling 5301: Phonetics/Applied Phonetics
  • Ling 5821: Sociolinguistics
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