top of page

Karen Lichtman

Second Language Acquisition

 Blacksburg, VA

Researchgate  Academia  Google Scholar



I joined Northern Illinois University as an assistant professor of Spanish Linguistics in the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures in 2012, and became associate professor in the Department of World Languages and Cultures (same department, new name) in 2018. I'm also the director of World Language Educator Licensure.

My research focuses on instructed second language acquisition . Specifically, I look at the interaction between learner-internal factors, such as age, and learner-external factors, such as amount of language exposure and type of instruction, as learners acquire second language morphosyntax and phonology.



  • Teaching: beginning & intermediate Spanish classes; undergraduate/graduate Spanish Linguistics classes; Teaching Methods classes; K-12 Spanish classes

  • Program Administration: hiring & collaborating with assistant director & university supervisors; growing enrollment; student advising; curriculum design

  • Research: peer-reviewed journal articles; book on TPR Storytelling, many conference presentations, MA thesis supervision, mentoring undergraduate researchers

  • Professional development for language teachers: research on Comprehensible Input methods, practical training for pre-service teachers



Assistant/Associate Professor of Spanish Linguistics

Director of Educator Licensure

Department of World Languages & Cultures

Northern Illinois University


Graduate Program Faculty

Southern Oregon University Summer Language Institute

Guanajuato, Mexico

2000-2005, 2021-2022

Spanish teacher

Grades K & 3: Sunrise Spanish program, Williamstown, MA

Grades 5-9: Rippowam Cisqua School, Bedford, NY

Grades 4-8: Blacksburg New School, Blacksburg, VA


Ph.D. in Linguistics, 2012

Specialization in Psycholinguistics

Certificate in Second Language Acquisition and Teacher Education

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

M.A. in Linguistics, 2009

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

B.A. in Spanish & Psychology, 2002

Williams College

bottom of page