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Robert Bley-Vroman



PhD, University of Washington

Robert Bley-Vroman received his MA in Germanics and his MA and PhD in linguistics from the University of Washington. At Hawai‘i, he has served as Chair of the Department of Second Language Studies, Director of the Second Language Teaching and Curriculum Center, and was the first Director of the National Foreign Language Resource Center.

Before joining the faculty of the University of Hawai‘i, he taught in Romania at Universitatea din Cluj (English and applied linguistics), the University of Texas at Austin (linguistics) and at the University of Michigan, where he was Director of Courses for the English Language Institute. He also served as Project Manager at the interstate consortium SEARCH Group (Sacramento) for the national project on criminal justice terminology (Federal Law Enforcement Assistance Administration).

His research is concentrated in applied linguistics, syntax, and second language acquisition theory. His recent theoretical work attempts to integrate current trends in linguistic theory with accounts of child/adult differences in language acquisition. His research has appeared in the journals Language Learning, TESOL Quarterly, Linguistic Analysis, Linguistic Inquiry, Second Language Research, and in edited collections. His most influential papers are “The logical problem of foreign language learning” and “The comparative fallacy in interlanguage studies”. He is the author of a paper (with L. Loschky) on the use of communicative tasks in grammar instruction.

He is also interested in computational linguistics, natural language processing, corpus linguistics, and machine translation and worked on the German-English machine translation project of Siemens AG (Project METAL), where he was responsible for the grammar used by the German parser and for aspects of the design of the programming environment.

He is an enthusiastic Macintosh user, contradance caller for the Contradancers of Hawai‘i, rhythm pianist with the band Whiskey Starship, hiker, collector of old telephones, and ringer of bells in the St. Andrew’s cathedral tower.