Alan Juffs

Professor of Linguistics

Former Director, English Language Institute, 1998-2020

BA University of London

MA University of Durham

PhD McGill University

Address:2833 Cathedral of Learning
Telephone: (412) 624-5900
E-mail: juffs at
FAX: (412) 624-6130

Previous Employment

  • Lecturer in ESL at Xiang-Ya (Hunan-Yale) Hunan Medical University, P.R. of China, 1992.
  • Assistant Professor at the International University of Japan. 1985-1989
  • Lecturer in ESL at Hunan Agricultural University, Changsha, P.R. of China. 1982-1984
  • Other teaching experience in France and the United Kingdom.

Areas of Specialization

  • Linguistic theory
  • Second Language Acquisition
  • Syntax and semantics
  • Working memory and sentence processing
  • Language Development in Intensive English Programs
  • Intensive English Program Administration

Current Projects

  • Research on acquisition of derivational morphology in second language acquisition
  • Research on second language processing
  • National Science Foundation funded: Robust Learning of vocabulary in ESL.
  • Pittsburgh Science of Learning Center
  • Chair of the English Course Committee, Pittsburgh Science of Learning Center
  • ELI Data Mining Group on GitHub

Selected Recent and Forthcoming Publications. Click on highlighted links to access abstracts and papers

PhD Dissertations Directed or Co-Directed and Job Placement

Recent and forthcoming Conference Presentations

  • 2020. Juffs, A. Output Practice and Reading for Academic Vocabulary Learning in IEPs.TESOL International. March, 31-April, 3 2020, Denver, CO
  • 2020. Fang Shaohua & Juffs, A. The primacy of animacy for the subject grammatical function in Mandarin Chinese. North American Conference on Chinese Linguistics University of Connecticut, Storrs, Sept 18-20, 2020..
  • 2019. Kushki, Ali & Juffs, A. (2019). L2 Lexical Exposure and Influences on L1: The Significance of Vygotsky's Word Meaning of L1-L2 Lexical Bonds. Socio-cultural Theory L2 Working Group.
  • 2019. Juffs, A. & Han, N-R. Combining Formal and Usage-Based Theories with Data Science Techniques in Measuring the Development of Syntactic Complexity in Written Production American Association of Applied Linguistics, International Conference. March,9-12, 2019, Atlanta, GA
  • 2018. Naismith, B., Han, N.-R., Juffs, A., Hill, B. L., & Zheng, D. (2018). Accurate Measurement of Lexical Sophistication with Reference to ESL Learner Data. Educational Data Mining 2018, Buffalo, NY.
  • 2018. Juffs, A. On the Importance of Descriptive and Theoretical Linguistics in the Theory and Practice of Language Learning and Teaching, May, 2018, Tsing Hua University, Taiwan. International Conference on English Teaching and Learning
  • 2018. Juffs, A. Validating IEP Placement Practice with K-cluster analysis. TESOL International. March, 27-30, 2018, Chicago, IL
  • 2017. Juffs, A. Tracking longitudinal vocabulary development in an Intensive English Program: finding appropriate measures. Second Language Research Forum, October 13-15, 2017. The Ohio State University.
  • 2017. Li, Noriyasu & Alan Juffs. L2 Acquisition of the System of Japanese Reflexives: Evidence of UG in L2 Binding. Second Language Research Forum, October 13-15, 2017. The Ohio State University.
  • 2016. Juffs, A. Second language acquisition and linguistic theory at the crossroads: invited plenary at PacSLRF, October 2016, Chuo University, Japan. PACLSLRF 2016
  • 2016. Juffs, A. An analysis of IEP Placement and Diagnostic Assessment Tools: Reconciling Program Goals and Accreditation Standards. Georgetown University Round Table (GURT) March, 11-13, 2016, Georgetown University, Washington, D.C. GURT 2016
  • 2016. Wu, Zhaohong & Alan Juffs. L2 Concept category facilitation effects support concept mediation in L2-L1 translation. Linguistic Society of America Annual Meeting, Washington, D.C. USA.
  • 2014. Juffs, A., & Vercellotti, M-L. The interaction of the lexical diversity and the use of trigrams in spoken ESL. Association Internationale de Linguistique Appliqueex. (AILA). Brisbane, Australia. August 2014.
  • 2014. Martin, K, & Juffs, A. L1 orthographic background and listening discrimination influence on L2 spelling. American Association of Applied Linguistics, Portland, OR, March 2014.
  • 2013. Juffs, A, Petrich, J, & N-R Han. Tracking the development of lexical diversity in intensive English program students in the US. American Association of Applied Linguistics, Houston, TX. 2013.
  • 2011. Martin, K. and Juffs, A. Reading in English: A Comparison of Native Arabic, Native Chinese, and native English speakers. Poster. International Symposium on Bilingualism 8 (ISB8).
  • 2010. Rehak, K. and Juffs, A. Native and Non-Native Processing of Morphologically Complex English Words. Second Language Research Forum, October 2010. University of Maryland.
  • 2009. Juffs, A. & Friedline, B. L1 influence, morphological (in)sensitivity and L2 lexical development: Evidence from production data. Paper presented at the Eastern Psychological Association Annual Meeting. March 4, 2009.
  • 2009. Juffs, A. Invited plenary: Syntactic and Morphological processing failures in L2: issues and solutions. Paper presented at the L2 Processing and Parsing. Lubbock, Texas. May 23, 2009
  • Juffs, A. and Rodriguez, G. Second language sentence processing and working memory in college-educated and low-educated learners of English as a second language. EuroSLA, Antalya, Turkey. September, 2006.
  • Juffs, A., Eskenazi, M., Callan, J., Wilson, L., Heilman, M., Collins-Thompson, K and Pelletreau, T. Promoting robust learning of vocabulary through computer assisted language learning. June, 2006, AAAL Montreal.
  • Pharmakis, P. and A. Juffs. It's all Greek to me: L1 lemma mediated access in Greek/English bilinguals. Poster at GASLA 8, Banff, April, 2006.
  • Spinner, P. & A. Juffs. Case in the acquisition of L2 German. GASLA VII. Indiana University, April 2004.
  • Jelliffe, J.D. & Juffs, A. (Poster). The Parsing of Sentences with Full Relative Clauses by L2 Learners. GASLA VII. Indiana University, IN. April. 2004.
  • Juffs, A. (2003, October 18 2003). Working memory: understanding issues inb mainstream psychology. Paper presented at the Second Language Research Forum, Tucson, Arizona.
  • 2002. Working memory as a variable in accounting for individual differences in second language performance. American Association of Applied Linguistics Annual Meeting. April 6-9. 2002. Salt Lake City, UT
  • 2000a. Working memory and L1 influences in ambiguity resolution in L2 English sentence processing. American Association of Applied Linguistics Annual Meeting. March 11-14. 2000. Vancouver, BC.
  • 2000b. Creating and implementing an achievable annual marketing plan. University and College Intensive English Program/National Association of Foreign Student Advisors Annual Meeting. Workshop #18. San Diego, CA: May 29, 2000. With M. Louise Krumm (Georgetown University); A Clive Roberts (San Diego State University); Rafael Robles (University of Miami); Sam Lee (University of Southern California.)

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