Get to Know Your Instructors: Loraine Obler

Loraine Obler (CUNY) and Eve Higby (UC Riverside) will reprise a course they taught at a previous Institute called “The Bilingual Brain.” This course is set to incorporate the most recent literature in the neurolinguistics of bilingualism such as the influence of L2 on L1, aphasia in bilinguals, and bilingual cognitive advantage, among many others.

Can you please tell us about your linguistic background?

I was trained in Linguistics and Near East Studies at the University of Michigan, focussing on Morphosyntactic Grammaticalization in Arabic for my dissertation. A student in a class I taught introduced us to a patient with agrammatic aphasia which started me on my career in Neurolinguistics. After 9 years at the Aphasia Research Center in Boston, I got my current position at CUNY Graduate Center.

Can you tell us about the course you are teaching at the Institute?

Dr. Eve Higby and I will reprise (and revise) the course we taught at the LSA Institute in Ann Arbor, focusing on the most recent literature on interesting topics in the Neurolinguistics of Bilingualism such as influence of the L2 on L1, aphasia in bilinguals, bilingual cognitive advantage, etc.

What research are you currently working on?

My Neurolinguistics Lab currently has team projects ongoing on brain regions involved in listening to speech in noise, learning an L2 in older adulthood, and cognate status in bilingual dementia

What is your favorite hobby or pastime?

I don’t hierarchize: reading, film, theater, choral singing, pottery and very slowly training to be a watsu practitioner

In a parallel universe in which you are not an academic/linguist, what would you be?

an ethnomusicologist and grandparent

What are you most looking forward to about Davis?

The chance to learn what linguist colleagues and graduate students are working on, and what neurolinguists around U.C. Davis are working on, plus the chance to share how neurolinguists do research with those in our class.

What advice would you give to graduate students interested in pursuing a career in linguistics?

If you want to have a career in neurolinguistics, make sure you volunteer in research labs if paid positions are not available so you have as much hands-on experience in experimentation. Learn lots of statistics. Learn about grant-writing from all possible sources (lab mentors, on-line resources, etc.). Participate in summer programs in specific aspects of neurolinguistics.

Visit Professor Obler’s website here: