Rebekah Rast

Professor

  • Department: Comparative Literature and English
  • Complementary Department(s): French Studies and Modern Languages
  • Graduate Program(s): 
    Cultural Translation
  • Office: 
    G-109
  • Office Hours: 
    Tuesdays 15:15-17:00 or by appointment

See Courses >>

Professor Rast received her doctorate from the Université Paris VIII in linguistics, with a specialization in adult second language acquisition. Her research focuses on the role that a learner's linguistic environment (foreign language input) plays in the acquisition process. She works in collaboration with an interdisciplinary research team Langage, Cognition et Acquisition comprised of university faculty and CNRS researchers. She also collaborates on a European project Varieties of Initial Learners in Language Acquisition (VILLA).

Rast has taught English and linguistics at the American University of Paris since 1992. Courses include teacher training courses (Pedagogical Grammar and TESOL Methodologies), English courses (all levels of writing and English Grammar Review), and linguistics courses (Language Acquisition and Social Policy, Introduction to Linguistics, Psycholinguistics, and Language Acquisition and Multilingualism). Her current research interests include second and third language acquisition and the interface between language acquisition and teaching.



Education/Degrees

  • PhD, Linguistics, Université Paris 8
  • DEA, Linguistics (Option: Second Language Acquisition), Université Paris 8
  • MA, Applied Linguistics/TESOL, Indiana University, Bloomington
  • BA, French and Music, Sarah Lawrence College, Bronxville NY

News

Professor Rast’s latest article is now published in Italian. Primi passi in un nuovo sistema linguistico. In M.E. Favilla & E. Nuzzo (Eds.), Grammatica Applicata: Apprendimento, Patologie, Insegnamento, 111-124. Milano: Associazione Italiana di Linguistica Applicata.

Professor Rast and her colleague ZhaoHong Han of the Teachers College of Columbia University in New York City have published an edited volume with Cambridge University Press on the absolute beginning stages of foreign language learning. The book entitled First Exposure to a Second Language: Learners’ Initial Input Processing presents observations and analyses of how adults begin to learn a new language. Target languages discussed include German, Korean, Norwegian, Polish and Spanish.

Publications

Books and chapters
  • Rast, R., Watorek, M., Hilton, H. and Shoemaker, E. (2014). “Initial processing and use of inflectional markers: Evidence from French adult learners of Polish”.

Rast

 

 

 

Han, Z-H. and Rast, R. (Eds.) (2014) First Exposure to a Second Language: Learners’ Initial Input Processing. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

 

 

 

 

 

  • Rast, R., Watorek, M., Hilton, H. and Shoemaker, E. (2014) Initial processing and use of inflectional markers: Evidence from French adult learners of Polish. In Z-H. Han and R. Rast (Eds.), First Exposure to a Second Language: Learners’ Initial Input Processing, 64-106. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Rast, R., Watorek, M., Hilton, H. and Shoemaker, E. (in press). “Initial processing and use of inflectional markers: Evidence from French adult learners of Polish”. In Z-H. Han and R. Rast (Eds.), First Exposure to a Second Language: Learners’ Initial Input Processing. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Rast, R. (2012) "L2 input and the L2 initial state: The writings of Clive Perdue". In M. Watorek, S. Benazzo & M. Hickmann (Eds.), Comparative Perspectives to Language Acquisition: A Tribute to Clive Perdue, 37-53. Bristol, Multilingual Matters.
  • Rast, R., Dimroth, C. and Watorek, M. (2011) "Language teaching and acquisition: What can we learn from ab initio learners?". In P. Trévisiol-Okamura & G. Komur-Thilloy (Eds.), Discours, acquisition et didactique des langues: Les termes d'un dialogue, 71-86. Paris, Orizons.
  • Rast, R. (2011) "Input processing principles: A contribution from first exposure data". In C. Sanz & R. Leow (Eds.), Implicit and Explicit Conditions, Processes and Knowledge in SLA and Bilingualism, 129-141. Washington, DC, Georgetown University Press.
  • Rast, R. (2010) "First exposure: Converting target language input to intake". In M. Pütz & L. Sicola (Eds.), Cognitive Processing in Second Language Acquisition, 99-115. Amsterdam, John Benjamins.
  • Rast, R. (2008) Foreign Language Input: Initial Processing. Clevedon, Multilingual Matters.
Articles in peer-reviewed journals
  • Watorek, M., Rast, R., Durand, M., Dimroth, C. and Starren, M. (forthcoming) “L’influence du type d’enseignement sur l’appropriation de la morphologie au début de l’apprentissage d’une langue étrangère”. Le français dans le monde.
  • Dimroth, C., Rast, R., Starren, M. and Watorek, M. (2013) “Methods for studying a new language under controlled input conditions: The VILLA project”. Eurosla Yearbook 13: 109-138.
  • Hinz, J., Krause, C., Rast, R., Shoemaker, E. and Watorek, M. (2013) “Initial processing of morphological marking in nonnative language acquisition: Evidence from French and German learners of Polish”. Eurosla Yearbook 13: 39-175.
  • Shoemaker, E. and Rast, R. (2013) "Extracting words from the speech stream at first exposure". Second Language Research 29/2: 165-183.
  • Rast, R. (2010) "The role of linguistic input in the first hours of adult language learning". Language Learning (Wiley-Blackwell).
  • Rast, R. (2010) "The use of prior linguistic knowledge in the early stages of L3 acquisition". International Review of Applied Linguistics in Language Teaching (Mouton de Gruyter).
  • Rast, R. and Taïeb, E. (2008) "Présentation". Acquisition et Interaction en Langue Étrangère : Savoirs et savoir-faire dans l’apprentissage et l’enseignement d’une langue étrangère 27, 3-14.
  • Rast, R. (2006) "Le premier contact avec une nouvelle langue étrangère : comment s’acquitter d’une tâche de compréhension ?" Acquisition et Interaction en Langue Étrangère 24, 119-148.
  • Trévisiol, P. and Rast, R. (2006) "Présentation". Acquisition et Interaction en Langue Étrangère 24, 3-11.
  • Rast, R. and Dommergues, J-Y. (2003) "Towards a characterisation of saliency on first exposure to a second language". EUROSLA Yearbook 3, 131-156.
  • Rast, R. (1999) The first hours of second language acquisition, Acquisition et Interaction en Langue Etrangère, Special Issue, Vol. 2 From Word to Structure, 73-88.
  • Perdue, C. and Rast, R. (1999) Introduction. Acquisition et Interaction en Langue Étrangère Special Issue, Vol. 1 The Bilingual Person, 1-6.
TOEFL Publications
  • Martz, L. and Rast, R. (2006) 8 jours pour réussir le TOEFL. Paris, Ellipses.
  • Martz, L., Rast, R. and Fichaux, F. (2005) TOEFL: Epreuves d’entraînement, Paris, Ellipses.
  • Fichaux, F., Guillard, D., Martz, L. and Rast, R. (2004) Réussir le TOEFL. Paris, Ellipses.
Edited volumes
  • Han, Z-H. and Rast, R. (Eds.) (2014) First Exposure to a Second Language: Learners’ Initial Input Processing. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Rast, R. and Taïeb, E. (2008) Acquisition et Interaction en Langue Étrangère Savoirs et savoir-faire dans l’apprentissage et l’enseignement d’une langue étrangère (N° 27), Association Aile-Encrages, Université Paris 8, Saint-Denis.
  • Rast, R. and Trévisiol, P. (2006) Acquisition et Interaction en Langue Étrangère : L’Acquisition d’une Langue 3 (N° 24), Association Aile-Encrages, Université Paris 8.
  • Perdue, C. and Rast, R. (1999) Acquisition et Interaction en Langue Étrangère, Vol 1 : The Bilingual Person et Vol 2 : From Word to Structure, Association Aile-Encrages, Université Paris 8.

 

Conferences & Lectures

  • Measuring foreign language exposure and its effects on language development: Applications for study abroad”. Invited speaker. Study Abroad Research in European Perspective: Methods and measures of input and language development, COST Action Conference,Vilnius, Lithuania, 14 October 2016.

  • “Construction du discours en polonais langue cible par des apprenants
    débutants: l’interaction des propriétés des langues sources et de l’input en classe de langue”, with M. Watorek, P. Trévisiol and A.-C. Demagny. International conference, Connaissances et usages en langue seconde/Knowledge and Usage in Second Language, Nantes, France, 30 June 2016. 

  • “The significance of composition symbols for the development of writing in a foreign language”. Trends in Foreign Language Teaching, PETALL, University of Granada, 28 April 2016.

  • “Les premières étapes dans l’acquisition d’une langue étrangère :
    dialogue entre Acquisition et Didactique des langues”, with M. Watorek and M. Durand. Journée d’étude Acquisition-Didactique 2, INALCO, Paris, 19 March 2016.

  • “L’acquisition de la morphologie nominale en polonais langue étrangère par des apprenants français débutants: difficultés spécifiques des locuteurs francophones”, with M. Watorek. Colloque international de linguistique, Analyse des erreurs commises par des francophones apprenant une langue éloignée, Centre d’études japonaises de l’INALCO, Paris, 5 February 2016.

  • “What can adult learners do at first exposure to a novel language?” Second Language Studies Seminar, Michigan State University, 12 November 2015.

  • “How do absolute beginners learn inflectional morphology?”, with M. Watorek and A. Latos. Classroom Oriented Research: Toward Effective Learning and Teaching, Konin, Poland, 14 October 2015.

  • “Individual differences in a beginning language classroom: young adult learners in five European countries”, with H. Hilton and M. Starren. European Second Language Association Conference 25, Aix-en-Provence, France, 29 August 2015.

  • “To what extent does structured and practiced input neutralize L1 and L2 effects on an L3 at the initial stages of acquisition?”, with M. Watorek, P. Trévisiol and A.-C. Demagny. European Second Language Association Conference 25, Aix-en-Provence, France, 28 August 2015.

  • “L’apprentissage d’une nouvelle langue: comment démarrer ?” Invited speaker, LGIDF conference Journée Pédagogique: Acquisition et enseignment du français en context multilingue, Paris, 17 June 2015.

  • “Instructed third language acquisition: The first moments of input processing”. Invited speaker, Applied Linguistics 3rd Postgraduate Conference, University of Greenwich, UK, 27 May 2015.

  • “Language learner performance at first exposure and implications for teaching”. Applied Linguistics and TESOL Program Seminar, Teachers College, Columbia University, NYC, 16 December 2014.

  • “The development of phonemic categories at first exposure”, with E. Shoemaker. ERP: Experimental Psycholinguistics Conference, Madrid, Spain, 3 October 2014.

  • “Recognizing lexical forms in the speech stream at first exposure”, with G. van Bergen and E. Shoemaker. European Second Language Association Conference 24, York, UK, 4 September 2014.

  • “Cracking the code of a new linguistic system: First exposure studies”. Second Language Studies Colloquium, Indiana University, 11 April 2014.

  • “The development of phonemic categories at first exposure”, with E. Shoemaker. ERP: Experimental Psycholinguistics Conference, Madrid, Spain, 3 October 2014.

  • “Recognizing lexical forms in the speech stream at first exposure”, with G. van Bergen and E. Shoemaker. European Second Language Association Conference 24, York, UK, 4 September 2014.

  • “Breaking into a novel linguistic system”. Invited plenary speaker, Associazione Italiana di Linguistica Applicata (AltLA), Verona, Italy, 6 February 2014.
  • “Comment observer la ‘saisie’ de l’apprenant débutant ?” Invited speaker, De l'importance du corpus en didactique et en acquisition des langues, student organized conference, Université Paris VIII, St. Denis, France, 14 January 2014.
  • “Cześć! The development of perceptual sensitivity to Polish sibilants at first exposure”, with E. Shoemaker. European Second Language Association Conference 23, Amsterdam, NL, 31 August 2013.
  • “Processing morpho-syntax at first exposure: The role of source language, input and learner variability”, with M. Starren, M. Watorek, H. Hilton and A. Latos. European Second Language Association Conference 23, Amsterdam, NL, 29 August 2013.
  • "Word recognition strategies at first exposure", with E. Shoemaker. European Second Language Association Conference 22, Poznań, Poland, 7 September 2012.
  • "Perception and production of nominal morphology: The early stages of the acquisition of Polish by child and adult native speakers of German", with J. Hinz, C. Dimroth and M. Watorek. European Second Language Association Conference 22, Poznań, Poland, 7 September 2012.
  • "Instructional treatment types and their effects on the processing of nominal morphology by beginning learners of Polish", with M. Watorek and H. Hilton, Annual European Second Language Acquisition Conference 21, Stockholm University, Sweden, 8 September 2011.
  • Extracting words from the L2 speech stream: a first exposure study, with E. Shoemaker, for the panel “First exposure studies: Implications for an applied research agenda”. Canadian Association of Applied Linguistics, University of New Brunswick & St. Thomas University, Fredericton, Canada, 1 June 2011.
  • "Linguistic input and foreign language teaching: What do learners ‘take in’ during beginning language instruction?" The Department of Education, University of York, 24 March 2011.
  • Extracting words from the L2 speech stream: preliminary data from a first exposure study of L2 Polish, The Department of Applied Linguistics and Communication, Birkbeck College, University of London, 25 March 2011.
  • Initial processing of morphological marking in second language acquisition, with M. Watorek and H. Hilton. Annual European Second Language Association Conference 20, Reggio Emilia, Italy, 2 September 2010.
  • "The first hours of second language acquisition: How do French native speakers perceive, comprehend and parse the Polish speech stream?" Research Centre for Applied Linguistics and English, University of Cambridge, UK, 9 February 2010.
  • "Modeling responses to the first few hours of exposure to new languages". Poster presented with Claudia Roda and Georgi Stojanov at the conference Computational Linguistics in the Netherlands (CLIN), Utrecht, The Netherlands, 5 February 2010.
  • The role of linguistic input in the early stages of adult language learning Third A. Guiora Roundtable Conference in Cognitive Neuroscience of Language, sponsored by the journal Language Learning and the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics, Nijmegen, The Netherlands, 8-9 October 2009.
  • Initial representations at first exposure to a target language, for the panel “First exposure studies: new methods, new results”. The International Symposium on Bilingualism 7, Utrecht University, The Netherlands, 9 July 2009.
  • Initial processing of target language input, for the panel “Learner spontaneous processing of input”, Georgetown University Round Table on Languages and Linguistics, Washington, D.C., 13 March 2009.
  • The use of prior linguistic knowledge in the early stages of L2+ acquisition. The Role of the Background Languages in Third Language Acquisition: Romance languages as L1, L2 or L3, Stockholm University, Sweden, 5 February 2009.
  • L’input et l’état initial L2 : les écrits de Clive Perdue. Acquisition des langues : perspectives comparatives : Hommage à Clive Perdue, Université Paris 8, 5 December 2008.
  • The multilingual’s ability to discriminate accent in a non-native language, International Conference on Multilingualism: Cross-cultural communication and language acquisition, Universitat Jaume 1, Castelló, Espagne, 18 December 2008.
  • The effects of linguistic experience on the perception of English accent variation by non-native speakers, Annual European Second Language Acquisition Conference 18: Second Language Acquisition Research in Context, Université de Provence, Aix-en-Provence, 12 September 2008.
  • Characterizing the Multilingual’s Linguistic Profile. Poster presented at the 17th Sociolinguistics Symposium, Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam, 5 April 2008.
  • "Learners ‘taking in’ target language input". 33rd LAUD Linguistic Agency Symposium: Cognitive Approaches to Second/Foreign Language Processing, Theory and Pedagogy, Landau, Germany, 11 March 2008.
  • "What do adult learners do with the target language input they get?" Language Acquisition Seminar, The University of London Institute in Paris, 7 February 2007.
  • Theoretical implications of first exposure studies in SLA (Second Language Acquisition). Poster presented at the Annual European Second Language Association Conference 16, Boğaziçi University, Antalya, Turkey, 15 September 2006.
  • "Different from the beginning: Two case studies of early adult L2 acquisition", international conference Recherche sur l’acquisition et l’enseignement d’une langue seconde ou étrangère, La Sorbonne Nouvelle, Paris, 7 September 2006. 
  • "Activating previously acquired language(s) upon first contact with a foreign language". Annual European Second Language Association Conference 15, University of Zagreb, Dubrovnik, Croatia, 14-17 September 2005.
  • "Cross-linguistic influence upon first contact with L3 input". Fourth International Conference on Third Language Acquisition and Multilingualism, Universities of Fribourg/Freiburg and Biel/Bienne, 9 September 2005.
  • "Information processing upon first exposure to a second language". Seminar on Bi- and Multilingualism and Cognition, Mitteleuropa Foundation, Bolzano, Italy, 20 May 2005.

Affiliations

  • Member of the editorial board, Acquisition et Interaction en Langue Étrangère: Langage, Interaction et Acquisition, Amsterdam, John Benjamins.
  • Member of the editorial board, EUROSLA Yearbook, the journal of the European Second Language Association, John Benjamins, Amsterdam.
  • Country coordinator with M. Watorek (Paris VIII) for the project Varieties of Initial Learners in Language Acquisition (VILLA): Controlled classroom input and elementary forms of linguistic organisation, grant received from the Open Research Area in Europe for the Social Sciences across three countries: France, Germany, and The Netherlands (2011-2014).
  • Coordinator with M. Watorek of CNRS-GDRI grant (Paris VIII) Second Language Acquisition and Teaching: First stages and input processing (2014-2017).
  • Member of the French research team UMR 7023 Structures Formelles du Langage: Langage, Cognition et Acquisition, CNRS and Université Paris VIII.
  • Member of the French Research Group (GDR ADYLOC) Langues, langage oral, cognition : Acquisition et dysfonctionnements - nouvelles approches.

Research Areas

  • Second language acquisition
  • Third and additional language acquisition
  • The interface between language acquisition and teaching