Robert Bayley

Robert Bayley Portrait

Position Title
Professor Emeritus

281 Kerr Hall


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


Robert Bayley is Professor Emeritus of Linguistics at UC Davis and an associate member of the Centre for Research on Language Contact at York University in Toronto. His research focuses on language variation and language socialization, especially in bilingual and second language populations. Professor Bayley is the author of more than 150 publications, including 16 co-authored and co-edited volumes and articles in major journals such as American Speech, Asia-Pacific Language VariationLanguage, Language Variation and Change, and Studies in Second Language Acquisition. Currently he is conducting research on the acquisition of sociolinguistic competence by second language learners and, with Gregory Guy and others, investigating subject pronoun expression cross-linguistically.

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.


Kennedy Terry, K., & Bayley, R. (2024). Social network analysis in second language research: Theory and methods. New York: Routledge.

Bayley, R, & Benson, E. (Eds.) (2023). Needed research in North American dialects. Publication of the American Dialect Society 108. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

Bayley, R., Preston, D. R., & Li, X. (Eds.). (2022). Variation in second and heritage languages: Crosslinguistic perspectives. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Bayley, R., & Escalante, C. (2022). Variationist approaches to second language acquisition. In K. L. Geeslin (Ed.), The Routledge handbook of second language acquisition and sociolinguistics, 3–16. New York: Routledge.

Lucas, C., Bayley, R., Hill, J. C., & McCaskill, C. (2022). The segregation and desegregation of the Southern schools for the deaf: The relationship between language policy and dialect development. Language 98.4: e173–198.

Pozzi, R., & Bayley, R. (2021). The development of a regional phonological feature during a semester abroad in Argentina. Studies in Second Language Acquisition 43: 109–132.

McCaskill, C., Lucas, C., Bayley, R., & Hill, J. (2020). The hidden treasure of Black ASL: Its history and structure, Washington, DC: Gallaudet University Press. Paperback edition with links to online video examples and updated foreword and bibliography.

Li, X., & Bayley, R. (2018). Lexical frequency and syntactic variation: Subject pronoun use in Mandarin Chinese. Asia-Pacific Language Variation 4: 135–160.

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

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

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


Current and recent dissertations supervised

Méndez Kline, Tyler (in progress). Storytelling in contact: The role of prosody in bilingual Mexican American narrative practice.

Zhang, Xinye (2023). Language variation in dual immersion preschools: Teaching and learning Mandarin Chinese as a heritage language.

Torres, Peter Joseph (2022).The nation’s fix: The language of the opioid crisis (co-chair with Vaidehi Ramanathan).

Escalante, Chelsea (Spanish, 2018). The acquisition of a sociolinguistic variable while volunteering abroad: s-weakening among heritage- and L2 learners in coastal Ecuador (co-chair with Travis Bradley).

Notarianni Burk, Gabriella (2018). The acquisition of tense and aspect by instructed adult learners of Italian.

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.


2023 Mentoring Award, Linguistic Society of America

2022. Fellow, Linguistic Society of America.

2022. Linguistics, Language, and the Public Award from the Linguistic Society of America to the Black ASL Project (C. McCaskill, C. Lucas, R. Bayley, & J. Hill) for documenting and raising public awareness of Black American Sign Language.

2021. Fellow, American Dialect Society.

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 (C. Lucas, C. McCaskill, & R. 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, San Antonio.

1997. National Academy of Education Postdoctoral Fellowship.

1994. Fulbright Senior Scholar Award in TEFL to Mexico.