Betsy Sneller


Photo of Betsy Sneller in front of mountains.

Betsy Sneller is Assistant Professor of Linguistics in the Department of Linguistics, Languages, and Cultures. She is a director of the MSU Sociolinguistics Lab. She is the PI for the MI Diaries project. Betsy’s primary research interest is in language variation and change. Her dissertation work focused on the way that dramatic structural sound change (i.e., phonological change) is represented and produced by individual speakers during the change. Her postdoc research at Georgetown University used experimental methods to investigate the way that children acquire sociolinguistic and phonological variation.


Suzanne Evans Wagner headshot

Suzanne Evans Wagner is Associate Professor of Linguistics in the Department of Linguistics, Languages, and Cultures. She is a director of the MSU Sociolinguistics Lab. Suzanne is the co-PI of the MI Diaries project. She is interested in language change across the lifespan, especially the late adolescence/young adult life-stage, and its intersection with community-level language change. She is a co-editor of the book series Routledge Studies in Language Change and of the edited volume Panel Studies of Variation Change (both with Isabelle Buchstaller).

Affiliated faculty, staff, and affiliates

Gabriela Alfaraz is Associate Professor of Spanish in the Department of Romance and Classical Studies. She is the director of the MA in Applied Spanish Linguistics. Her main research interests are language variation and change in Spanish varieties of the insular Caribbean, the influence of immigration and dialect contact on Caribbean varieties in the US context, and patterns of language use in bilingual speech communities.

Silvina Bongiovanni is Assistant Professor of Spanish in the Department of Romance and Classical Studies. Her research employs fine-tuned phonetic analysis to investigate variation in sound systems and connects these analyses to issues in sociolinguistics. Her primary focus of inquiry explores variation in nasality in vowels and in consonants. Additionally, she has carried out corpus studies examining sociolinguistic distribution of phonological variants, the link between frequency of phonotactic collocations, and phonological variation. She is also interested in the acquisition of phonological systems by second language speakers and she has examined the impact of learning context (study abroad vs. at-home) on development of L2 sound systems.

Brahim Chakrani is Associate Professor of Arabic and Arab Culture in the Department of Linguistics, Languages, and Cultures. He received his doctorate in linguistics from the University of Illinois at Chicago, and he is interested in sociolinguistics, discourse analysis and second language learning. 

Peter I. De Costa is a full professor in the Department of Linguistics, Languages, and Cultures (LiLaC). Within this department, Peter directs the Master of Arts in TESOL (MATESOL) Program. He is part of the core faculty within the Second Language Studies Ph.D. Program and the MATESOL Program. He also directs the Language Policy and Practice lab that is situated within the College of Arts & Letters. Peter’s primary area of research is the role of identity, ideology, and emotion in applied linguistics. He researches other applied linguistic issues, including World Englishes, CLIL and EMI education, critical classroom discourse analysis, and ethics. Much of his current work is centered on language teacher emotions.

Xiaoshi Li is Associate Professor of Chinese in the Department of Linguistics, Languages, and Cultures. She received her PhD in Culture, Literacy, and Language at the University of Texas at San Antonio. Her dissertation is on the acquisition of sociolinguistic competence by learners of Chinese (Mandarin) as a second language, with a particular focus on the acquisition of sociolinguistic variation in the target language. She has also been doing research in Chinese language and culture, applied linguistics, and intercultural issues in second language teaching and learning. Xiaoshi Li has extensive teaching and research experiences in both China and the United States. Her research interests include second language learning/teaching; sociolinguistics; Chinese language and culture; intercultural communication.

Camelia Suleiman is Associate Professor in the Department of Linguistics, Languages, and Cultures. She has a Ph.D. in Linguistics from Georgetown University, specializing in sociolinguistics. Her research interest is in the area of language and identity in relation to gender, politicians’ use of language in the media, and national identity. Her articles have appeared in a variety of journals including PragmaticsJournal of Psycholinguistic ResearchMiddle East Critique and Middle East Journal of Culture and Communication. Her book, Language and Identity in the Israel-Palestine Conflict: The Politics of Self-Perception was published in 2011 by I.B. Tauris. She is now working on ‘Arabic and national identity’ in relation to the post-Arab Spring Middle East.

Chantal Tetreault is Associate Professor of Anthropology. Her recent work has primarily focused on issues of migration and social change in France. She is currently looking at the interactional styles whereby French adolescents of Algerian descent construct and express their emergent identities as Arab Muslims and French youth. She analyzes instances of “crossing,” that is, when individuals adopt and transform linguistic styles that are normally ascribed to a group to which they are not granted membership.

Stephanie Perentesis

Stephanie C. Perentesis (MLS, MA-TESOL)  is a humanities and linguistics librarian at the MSU Libraries who also works in reference services. She helps students and faculty using the extensive resources available through the library in support of their research, teaching and learning in all areas of linguistics and language study, including sociolinguistics.

Althea Davis

Althea Davis is the Education Services Program Manager an PBS NC in Raleigh, North Carolina. She received her bachelor’s degrees in Elementary Education and Child Development from Michigan State University in 2016. After spending 5 years in the classroom as an elementary school teacher of multilingual students, she transitioned into the academic world of linguistics. She received her masters in sociolinguistics from North Carolina State University in 2023 where her research focused on dialect diversity education.