Professor Listing

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Yvonne Lam, PhD, MA, BA

Associate Professor


Modern Languages and Cultural Studies

About Me

I hold a MA (1998) and a PhD (2003) in Hispanic Linguistics from the University of Toronto. I am currently a member of the university Research Ethics Board and sit on the department Graduate Committee. I have served on the Faculty of Arts Teaching and Learning Enhancement Committee (2013-2015) and have been the University of Alberta representative on the Spanish Resource Centre Coordination and Review Committee with Alberta Education and Edmonton Public Schools.


My general area of research encompasses second language acquisition and sociolinguistics. My current research—part of a five-year collaborative project (with David Beck and Greg Kondrak) funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada—examines the indigenous languages of Mexico and the factors that influence their maintenance or loss. In particular, I have been conducting a multi-year ethnographic study of two Upper Necaxa Totonac communities to identify the external pressures (social, economic, political, historical) as well as the internal ideologies that lead them to use, or to not use, the indigenous language. In addition, I have been collecting empirical data regarding the application of cognitive linguistic models to the acquisition and pedagogy of prepositions in Spanish as a second language.


I teach a variety of senior-level undergraduate courses in Spanish language and linguistics, as well as graduate-level courses in applied linguistics. I have supervised a number of MA and PhD students on different topics in second language acquisition and sociolinguistics. I have also supervised several undergraduate honours students as well as several winners of the Faculty of Arts Undergraduate Researcher Award. I am currently working with Xavier Gutiérrez on developing an online placement test for the Spanish language program.