Jennifer Austin

Jennifer Austin


jbaustin [at]



Office Location

 Department of Spanish & Portuguese StudiesConklin Hall - Rm. 413175 University AvenueNewark, NJ 07102


Jennifer Austin is a Professor in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese Studies at Rutgers University, Newark. She received her Ph.D. in Linguistics from Cornell University with a minor in Cognitive Science, and before coming to Rutgers-Newark she taught at Williams College. Her research interests include first and second language acquisition, language contact, and the effects of bilingualism on language and cognition. She co-authored the book Bilingualism in the Spanish-Speaking World: Linguistic and Cognitive Perspectives (Cambridge University Press, 2015) and has written articles on syntactic and morphological development in children learning Basque, Spanish, and English. Austin is a member of the graduate faculty in Global Urban Studies and in Psychology at Rutgers-Newark and in Spanish and Portuguese at Rutgers-New Brunswick, where she is also a member of the Bilingualism and Second Language Acquisition Group.  In addition, she is a co-founder of HoLa, a dual-language charter school in Hoboken, NJ, and the faculty supervisor of the Lives in Translation Project. 

Courses Taught


Rutgers-Newark: Language Acquisition, History of the Spanish Language, Latino Bilingualism, Teaching Methodologies for World Languages, Introduction to Linguistics 

Rutgers, New Brunswick: Bilingual Language Acquisition (graduate seminar)



Bilingualism, Language Acquisition, Hispanic Linguistics

Research Initiatives

Jennifer Austin's new research projects include a longitudinal study of the development of verbal agreement and subject expression in monolingual children and young heritage speakers acquiring Spanish, in collaboration with Liliana Sánchez and María Blume. In another project, she is looking at the acquisition of quantifiers in bilingual and monolingual children who are learning Spanish and English; this work is being doing in collaboration with Kristen SyrettLiliana Sánchez, Anne Lingwall and Silvia Pérez-Cortés






Ph.D., Linguistics, minor in Cognitive Science, Cornell University

B.A., English and Spanish, Earlham College



Austin, J., Blume, M. and Sánchez, L. (2015). Bilingualism in the Spanish-speaking world: Linguistic and cognitive perspectives. Cambridge University Press.

Edited Volume

Austin, J. (editor). (2019). Special issue on Bilingual Morphology. Linguistic Approaches to Bilingualism

Journal Articles, Book Chapters and Conference Proceedings

Austin, J. (In press). Cross-language Contact in the Developing Grammars of Bilingual Children. In E. Adamou and Y. Matras (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Language Contact.

Austin, J. (Accepted). Differential object marking in the speech of children learning Basque and Spanish. In S. Montrul and A. Mardale (eds.), The Acquisition of Differential Object Marking.

Austin, J. and Sánchez, L. (Under review). Distributed Morphology and acquisition.   In A. Alexiadou, R. Kramer, A. Marantz and I. Oltra-Massuet (eds.), The Cambridge Handbook of Distributed Morphology.

Sánchez, L. and Austin, J. (Under review). Negation in L2 acquisition and beyond. In V. Déprez and M. T. Espinal (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Negation.

Choi, K., Lapidow, E., Austin, J., Shafto, P. and Bonawitz, E. (2018). Preschoolers are more likely to direct questions to adults than to other children (or selves) during spontaneous conversational act. In C. Kalish, M. Rau, J. Zhu & T. Rogers, (eds.) Proceedings of the 40th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society. Madison, WI: Cognitive Science Society.

Austin, J. (2017). The role of defaults in morphological acquisition: The case of child Basque. In J. Coon, D. Massam and L. Travis, (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Ergativity. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Austin, J., Sánchez, L. and Pérez, S. (2017). Null subjects in the early acquisition of English by child heritage speakers of Spanish. In S. Perpiñán and D. Heap, (eds.), Proceedings of LSRL 44

Syrett, K., Lingwall, A., Perez-Cortes, S., Austin, J., Sánchez, L., Baker, H., Germak, C.,  and Arias-Amaya, A., (2017). How Spanish-English bilingual children approach entailment-based scalar implicatures. Glossa special issue: Acquisition of Quantification.

Syrett, K., Austin, J., Sánchez, L., Germak, C., Lingwall, A., Perez-Cortes, S., Arias-Amaya, A., and Baker, H. (2016). The influence of conversational context and the developing lexicon on the calculation of scalar implicatures: Insights from Spanish-English bilingual children. Linguistic Approaches to Bilingualism.[pdf]

Austin, J. (2015). Transfer and contact-induced variation in child Basque. In C. O'Shannessy, (ed.), special research topic: Acquisition in Contact. Frontiers in Psychology. [pdf]

Austin, J. (2013). Ergativity in child Basque. In E. Banvin and S. Stoll, (eds.), The Acquisition of Ergativity. Amsterdam/ Philadelphia: John Benjamins, 35-70.

Austin, J., Blume, M. and Sánchez, L. (2013). Morphosyntactic attrition in the L1 of Spanish-English bilingual children. Hispania, 96 (3), 542-561.

Austin, J. (2013). Markedness, input frequency and the acquisition of inflection: Evidence from Basque/Spanish bilingual children. International Journal of Bilingualism, 17(3), 259-283. Special issue on Basque bilingualism edited by P. Larrañaga and P. Guijarro-Fuentes.

Austin, J. (2012). The case-agreement hierarchy in acquisition: Evidence from children learning Basque. Lingua, 122 (3),  289-302. Special issue on ergativity edited by I. Laka and B. Fernández. 

Austin, J. (2010). Rich inflection and the production of root infinitives in child language. Morphology 20 (1), 41–69.

Austin, J. (2009). Delay, interference and bilingual development: The acquisition of verbal morphology in children learning Basque and Spanish. International Journal of Bilingualism 13 (4): 447–479.

Austin, J. (2007). Grammatical interference and the acquisition of ergative case in bilingual children learning Basque and Spanish. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition 10 (3): 315–331.

Austin, J. (2006). Dative overmarking in Basque: Evidence of Spanish-Basque convergence. Euskalingua 9, 136–145. [pdf]

Foursha, C., Austin, J. and Van de Walle, G. (2006). Is language processing identical in monolinguals and early, balanced bilinguals? In D. Bamman, T. Magnitskaia and C. Zaller, (eds.), Proceedings Supplement of the 30th Boston University Conference on Language Development.[pdf]

Santlemann, L., Berk, S., Austin, J., Somashekar, S. and Lust, B. (2002). Continuity and development in the acquisition of inversion in yes/no questions: Dissociating movement and inflection. The Journal of Child Language. 29(4):813-842.

Austin, J., Blume, M., Parkinson, D., Lust, B. and Núñez del Prado, Z. (1998). Interactions between pragmatic and syntactic knowledge in the first language acquisition of Spanish null and overt pronominals. In J. Lema and E. Trevino, (eds.), Theoretical Research on Romance Languages: Selected Papers from the Twenty-sixth Linguistic Symposium on Romance Languages. Amsterdam, New York: John Benjamins. 35-52.

López, L. and Austin, J. (1997). Theories of VP structure and the typology of structural case.  Linguistic Analysis. 27:186-219.

Austin, J., Blume, M., Parkinson, D., Proman, R., Lust, B. and Núñez del Prado, Z. (1997). The status of pro-drop in the Initial State: Results from new analyses of Spanish. In A. Pérez-Leroux and W. Glass (eds.), Contemporary Perspectives on the Acquisition of Spanish. Somerville, MA: Cascadilla Press, 37-54.

Austin, J., Blume, M., Parkinson, D., Proman, R., Lust, B. and Núñez del Prado, Z. (1997). The acquisition of Spanish null and overt pronouns: Pragmatic and syntactic factors. In S. Somashekar, K. Yamakoshi , M. Blume and C. Foley (eds.), Papers on language acquisition: Cornell Working Papers in Linguistics 15, 160-177.

Austin, J., Blume, M., Parkinson, D., Proman, R., Núñez del Prado, Z. and Lust, B. (1996). Current challenges to the parameter-setting paradigm: The pro-drop parameter. In C. Koster & F. Wijnen (eds.), Proceedings of the Groningen Assembly on Language Acquisition 1995. Groningen: Centre for Language and Cognition, 87-97.

Austin, J. and López, L. (1995). Nominative, absolutive and dative languages. In J. Beckman, (ed.), Proceedings of the Twenty-fifth North Eastern Linguistic Society. Amherst, MA: GLSA, 1-16.