Megan Smith

Megan Smith

Assistant Professor


2502 Lee Hall
Department of English
P.O. Box E
Mississippi State, MS 39762


  • Ph.D. Second Language Studies, Michigan State University, 2016
  • M.A. Applied Linguistics, Texas Tech University, 2012
  • B.A. New York University, Linguistics and East Asian Studies, 2007

Teaching Interests

Second language acquisition, linguistics, psycholinguistics, language teaching methods


Megan Smith is a linguist with an interest in second language (L2) acquisition, and particularly in L2 syntax and psycholinguistics. Her research focuses on whether non-native speakers acquire different features of L2 grammars (e.g., whether non-native Japanese speakers know that case marking in obligatory on nouns in Japanese), and whether they can use this knowledge in online processing of language. Her current research investigates whether non-native Japanese speakers rely on the same grammatical information to process Japanese sentences as native speakers do. She is working on an introductory book on Second Language Acquisition as well as a project comparing different types of exposure tasks.

Selected Publications

2020. Key Questions in Second Language Acquisition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. With Bill VanPatten and Alessandro Benati.

2018. Word order typology and the acquisition of case marking: A self-paced reading study in Latin as an L2. Second Language Research. DOI: With Bill VanPatten

2016. L2 Learners and the apparent problem of morphology: Evidence from L2 Japanese. To appear in A. Benati and S. Yamashita, (Eds.). Theory, research, and pedagogy in learning and teaching Japanese. London: Palgrave.

2015. Aptitude and the early stages of Japanese as an L2: Parametric variation and case marking. Studies in Second Language Acquisition 37(1), pp. 135-165. With Bill VanPatten.

2014. Instructed SLA as parameter setting: Evidence from earliest-stage learners of Japanese as L2. In A. Benatti, C. Lavale, and M. Arche, (Eds.), The grammar dimension in instructed second language learning: Theory, research and practice (pp. 127-146). London: Bloomsbury Academic Press. With Bill VanPatten.

Faculty & Staff