Jeff MacSwan is Professor of Applied Linguistics and Language Education at the University of Maryland. He is also Professor of Neuroscience and Cognitive Science, and affiliate Professor in the Department of Linguistics, the Center for the Advanced Study of Language, and the Maryland Language Science Center.  MacSwan’s research program focuses on the linguistic study of bilingualism and codeswitching (or language alternation), and its implications for theories about the role of language in educational settings for multilingual students.  He is the editor of the International Multilingual Research Journal, and serves on several editorial boards.  Examples of his published work appear in American Educational Research Journal, Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, Lingua, Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences, Teachers College Record, and in edited collections and handbooks.  MacSwan recently served on the Committee on Fostering the Development and Educational Success of Dual Language Learners of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, and is a Fellow of the American Educational Research Association and of the National Education Policy Center. He received the Lifetime Achievement Award from AERA's Bilingual Education Research SIG and the Leadership through Scholarship Award from AERA's Second Language Research SIG, both in 2021. His most recent book (July, 2022) is titled Multilingual Perspectives on Translanguaging, published with Multilingual Matters.


  • PhD

My codeswitching research began with my doctoral dissertation, revised and published in Garland’s Outstanding Dissertations in Linguistics book series in 1999. The work developed a model of intrasentential codeswitching which explored consequences of Chomsky’s Minimalist Program, the current instantiation of generative grammar, for the data of language mixing, and included an original corpus of Spanish-Nahuatl codeswitching data which I collected in Tehuacan, Mexico. Drawing upon Minimalist assumptions in syntactic theory, I postulated that items may be drawn from the lexicon of either language to introduce features into the lexical array which must then be checked for convergence in the same way as monolingual features must be checked, with no special mechanisms permitted. An extensive analysis of my own data as well as those of previously published research shows that these conclusions are sustained empirically over a wide range of language pairs. The dissertation is available online here, and the book version, which has some revised content, can be purchased from Amazon.  In 2014 I edited volume which pursues this line of work, known as the Constraint-free Approach to codeswitching, with MIT Press, titled Grammatical Theory and Bilingual Codeswitching.  

Research Methods
Research Interests
2223 Benjamin Building
Neuroscience and Cognitive Science
macswan [at]