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Robert Bayley


  • Ph.D., Stanford University, 1991, Language, Literacy, and Culture.
  • M.A., University of California, Berkeley.
  • B.S., Columbia University.


Robert Bayley is professor of linguistics, chair of the Graduate Group in Linguistics, and a member of the Graduate Group in Education. He also is the editor of the Publications of the American Dialect Society and an associate member of the Centre for Research on Language Contact at York University in Toronto. He teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in sociolinguistics, second language acquisition, and general linguistics. His research focuses on language variation and language socialization, especially in bilingual and second language populations. Professor Bayley is the author of more than 100 publications, including 14 co-authored and co-edited volumes and articles in major journals such as Language Variation and Change and the Journal of Sociolinguistics. Currently he is investigating the role of frequency in language variation and change and working with Professor Jamal Abedi of the UC Davis School of Education on projects to promote fairness in the assessment of English language learners and students with disabilities.

Research Focus

Second Language Acquisition and Development: Language socialization, especially in bilingual and second language populations; standardized testing for English language learners and students with disabilities; language issues related to mathematics teaching and learning in elementary schools.

Language and Society: Language variation and change, especially in Latino and second language populations; language socialization.

Selected Publications

Bayley, R., Greer, K., & Holland, C. (in press). Lexical frequency and morphosyntactic variation: Evidence from U.S. Spanish. Spanish in Context, 14.3.

Bayley, R. (2017). Dialectology in a multilingual America. American Speech 92: 6-22.

Geraci, C., Bayley, R., Cardinaletti, A., Cecchetto, C., & Donati, C. (2015). Variation in Italian Sign Language (LIS): The case of wh-signs. Linguistics, 53, 125-151.

Bayley, R. (2014). Demographic categories in sociolinguistic studies of US Latino communities. Language and Linguistics Compass, 8, 536-547.

Bayley, R., & Holland, C. (2014). Variation in Chicano English: The case of final (z) devoicing. American Speech, 89, 385-407.

Bayley, R. (2013). The quantitative paradigm. In J. K. Chambers & N. Schilling (Eds.), The handbook of language variation and change (pp. 85-107). Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell.

Bayley, R., Cameron, R., & Lucas, C. (Eds.). (2013). The Oxford handbook of sociolinguistics. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Bayley, R., & Tarone, E. (2012). Variationist perspectives. In S. M. Gass & A. Mackey (Eds.), The Routledge handbook of second language acquisition (pp. 41-56). New York: Routledge.

Bayley, R., & Lucas, C. (Eds.). (2007). Sociolinguistic variation: Theories, methods, and applications. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Schecter, S. R., & Bayley, R. (2002). Language as cultural practice: Mexicanos en el norte. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.

Lucas, C., Bayley, R., & Valli, C. (2001).  Sociolinguistic variation in American Sign Language. Washington, DC: Gallaudet University Press. 


Recent courses include:

LIN 6, Language and Society. An introduction to sociolinguistics

LIN 160, American Voices. The study of American dialects.

LIN 182. Multilingualism. The study of bi-/multilingualism from social and cognitive perspectives

LIN 205. Language Socialization. A seminar on theory and methods in language socialization

LIN 260. Variation in Speech Communities. A seminar on language variation and change.

LIN 281. Research Methods in Second Language Acquisition and Development.

Current and recent dissertations supervised

Escalante, Chelsea (Spanish, in progress). Perception and production of a shifting target: A longitudinal study of s-weakening among L2 speakers of coastal Ecuadorian Spanish (co-chair with Travis Bradley).

Notarianni Burk, Gabriella (in progress). The acquisition of temporality in Italian as a second language.

 Banes, Leslie (Education, 2017). Explain your answer’: Writing mathematical explanations in elementary classrooms with linguistically diverse students (co-chair with Rebecca Ambrose).

Pozzi, Rebecca (Spanish, 2017). The acquisition of regional features during a semester abroad in Buenos Aires, Argentina (co-chair with Cecilia Colombi).

Villarreal, Dan (2016). The construction of social meaning: A matched guise investigation of the California vowel shift.

Holland, Cory (2014). Shifting or shifted? The state of California vowels.

Kennedy Terry, Kristen (French, 2012). What we don’t learn in the classroom: The acquisition of sociolinguistic competence during study abroad (co-chair with Eric Russell Webb).

Sturman, Heather (2012). Immigrant socialization: Literacy development among girls in a U.S. high school.

Pieretti, Robert (Education, 2011). Response to intervention and literacy: A bright spot for English language learners in California?

Bonnici, Lisa (2010). Variation in Maltese English: The interplay of the local and the global in an emerging postcolonial variety.

Liao, Silvie (2010). Identity, ideology, and language variation: A sociolinguistic study of Mandarin in central Taiwan.


2016-20. Lyle Spencer Research Award from the Spencer Foundation: Distinguishing between Low English Proficiency and Learning Disabilities: Developing a Valid Classification System for All English Language Learners (Jamal Abedi & Robert Bayley). $939,274.

2015-17. President, American Dialect Society.

2015. Fulbright Senior Scholar Award in TEFL to Argentina.

2011. Andrew Foster Humanitarian Award from the National Black Deaf Advocates to the Black ASL Project (Ceil Lucas, Carolyn McCaskill, & Robert Bayley, co-directors) for the book and DVD, The hidden treasure of Black ASL: Its history and structure (Gallaudet University Press, 2011).

2010-14. California Postsecondary Education Commission Grant: Strategic Alliance II, a project to improve mathematics instruction for students in grades K-6 (Rebecca Ambrose, Robert Bayley & Michelle Anderson, co-directors), $549,000.

2003. Fulbright Distinguished Chair (Linguistics), York University, Toronto, Canada.

2002. President’s Distinguished Achievement Award for Research Excellence, University of Texas at San Antonio.

1997. National Academy of Education Postdoctoral Fellowship.

1994. Fulbright Senior Scholar Award in TEFL to Mexico.