Spanish, Linguistics, Applied Linguistics, Second Language Acquisition, Language Learning, Pedagogy, Instruction, Classroom, Development, Morphosyntax, Grammar


After growing up in Rochester, New York, and attending college in Cleveland, Ohio, I received my doctorate in Spanish applied linguistics from the University of Pittsburgh in 1997. Over the course of my career, I have taught high school and university-level Spanish, coordinated language curricula, supervised pre-service teachers, and mentored numerous doctoral students. Before coming to Temple in 2008, I held faculty positions at the University of Pittsburgh, the University of Akron, in Ohio, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  

I began learning Spanish in high school at age 14. My personal experience is an example of bilingualism made possible by caring teachers, supportive friends and colleagues, and native speakers who offered patience and kindness to this emerging Spanish speaker. 

Research Interests

As an applied linguist, my research focuses on second-language classroom learners of Spanish.  My research investigating the impact of different communicative and task-based approaches to language teaching on learners’ knowledge of Spanish pronouns and verb meanings has twice been awarded the Paul Pimsleur Award for research excellence from the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages. In other publications, I have explored how learners understand classroom as opportunities for meaningful use of the target language, as well as ways that cognitive and social theories of language and language learning can more broadly inform classroom practice.

Teaching Interests

I have been priviledged to work with students from a variety of social backgrounds in a broad range of courses. I have taught all levels of Spanish language, as well as graduate and undergraduate courses on second language development, linguistics, and pedagogy. In graduate courses, I aim to help learners understand the scope of inquiry and investigative tools that different theoretical approaches offer. Through our assignments and discussions, I encourage students to explore the implications of research for language teaching and learning in light of the cognitive, social, and linguistic factors involved. Meanwhile, in writing, grammar, and linguistics courses, I favor an inductive approach where learners must draw conclusions about Spanish structure and use based on a range of culturally-authentic sources.

Finally, as a language instructor, I am committed to carefully-planned teaching that emphasizes purposeful, accurate interaction for cross-cultural communication. I advocate a task-based, integrative skills approach in line with the ACTFLNational Standards. I draw on learner interests, target-language media and community resources as the basis for classroom interaction. I believe that cultural, literary, and popular texts provide both a rich source of linguistic models for learning, and an ideal point of departure for engaging learners with the diverse world views of Spanish-speaking communities. In all my courses, the dynamic and diverse student body at Temple continually inspires me to be a better teacher, and I am honored to contribute to their personal and professional development.

Curriculum Vitae

Selected Publications

Edited Academic Journal’s Special Issue 

  • Toth, P. D. (Ed.) (2022). What do the data show? Multiple perspectives on classroom L2 learning from a single data set [Special issue]. Language Learning 72(S1), (10 chapters; 338 pages).

Academic Journal Articles

  • Toth, P. D.  (2022). Introduction: Investigating explicit L2 grammar instruction through multiple theoretical and methodological lenses. Language Learning, 72(S1), 5-40.

  • Toth, P. D and Gil-Berrio, Y. (2022). Exploring “intersubjectivity negotiation episodes” and “language related episodes” in second-language peer interaction.  In P. D. Toth, (Ed.). What do the data show? Multiple perspectives on classroom L2 learning from a single data set. Special issue of Language Learning 72(S1), 257-313.

  • Toth, P. D. and Moranski, K. (2018). Why haven’t we solved instructed SLA?  A sociocognitive account.  Foreign Language Annals 51 (1), 73-89.

  • Toth, P. D. and Davin, K. (2016). The socio-cognitive imperative of L2 pedagogy. The Modern Language Journal 100(Special Issue), 148-168.

  • Wagner, E. and Toth, P. D. (2014). Teaching and testing L2 Spanish listening using scripted versus unscripted texts.Foreign Language Annals 47(3) 404-422.

  • Bowles, M., Adams, R., and Toth, P. D. (2014). A comparison of L2-L2 and L2-heritage learner interactions in Spanish language classrooms. The Modern Language Journal 98(2) 497-517.

  • Toth P. D. and Guijarro-Fuentes, P. (2013). The impact of instruction on second-language implicit knowledge: Evidence against encapsulation. Applied Psycholinguistics34(4), 1163-1193.

  • Toth, P. D., Wagner, E. M., and Moranski, K., (2013). “Co-constructing” explicit L2 knowledge with high school learners through guided induction. Applied Linguistics 34(3), 279-303.

  • Toth, P. D. (2011). Social and cognitive factors in making teacher-led classroom discourse relevant for L2 grammatical development. The Modern Language Journal 95(1), 1-25.

  • Toth, P. D. (2008). Teacher- and learner-led discourse in task-based  grammar instruction:  Providing procedural assistance for L2 morphosyntactic development. Language Learning 58(2), 237-283. 10.1111/j.1467-9922.2008.00441.x

  • Toth, P. D. and Garritano, A. (2008). La retroalimentación implícita por medio de «contraejemplos» en una clase de español como lengua extranjera (Implicit feedback through “recasts” in a Spanish foreign language class.) Hispania 91(1), 124-138.

  • Toth, P. D. (2006). Processing Instruction and a role for output in second language acquisition. Language Learning56, 319-385. 10.1111/j.0023-8333.2006.00349.x (Winner of ACTFL Paul Pimsleur Award for Excellence in Foreign Language Education Research, September 2007)

  • Toth, P. D. (2004). When grammar instruction undermines cohesion in L2 Spanish classroom discourse. The Modern Language Journal 88(1), 14-30.

  • Toth, P. D. (2000). The interaction of instruction and learner-internal factors in the acquisition of L2 morphosyntax. Studies in Second Language Acquisition 22(2), 169-208. (Winner of ACTFL Paul Pimsleur Award for Excellence in Foreign Language Education Research, September 2002)

  • Toth, P. D. (1999). Preemption in instructed learners of Spanish as a foreign language:  Acquiring a rule for SESpanish Applied Linguistics 3(2), 195-246.

Book Chapters

  • Toth, P. D. (in press).  Grammar: Documenting growth in L2 classrooms. In L. Gurzynski-Weiss & Y. Kim (Eds.), Research methods in instructed second language acquisition. Amsterdam: John Benjamins, to appear in December 2022. (9,500 words)

  • Toth, P. D., Moranski, K., Shaffer, A., and Mattson-Prieto, R. (2020). Languaging and grammatical terminology: Expressing linguistic concepts while co-constructing understanding.  In W. Suzuki, and N. Storch (Eds.), Languaging in language learning and teaching: A collection of empirical studies (pp.67-89). Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

  • Toth, P. D. (2019). Morfología [Morphology.] In J. Muñoz-Basols, E. Gironzetti, and M. Lacorte (Eds.) The Routledge handbook of Spanish language teaching:  Metodologías, contextos y recursos para la enseñanza del español L2.  [Methodologies, contexts, and resources for teaching L2 Spanish] (pp. 301-315) New York: Routledge.

  • Wagner, E. and Toth, P. D. (2017). The role of pronunciation in the assessment of L2 listening ability.  In T. Isaacs and P. Trofimovich (Eds.) Second language pronunciation assessmentInterdisciplinary perspectives (pp. 72-92) Bristol, UK:  Multilingual Matters.

  • Moranski, K. and Toth, P. D. (2016). Small group meta-analytic talk and Spanish L2 development. In M. Sato and S. Ballinger (Eds.) Peer interaction and second language learning: Pedagogical potential and research agenda (pp. 291-316). Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

  • Wagner, E. and Toth, P. D. (2013). Building explicit L2 Spanish knowledge through guided induction in small-group and whole-class interaction. In K. McDonough and A. Mackey (Eds.) Second language interaction in diverse educational contexts (pp. 89-108).  Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

  • Toth, P. D. (2012). Output-based instructional approaches. In C. Chapelle. (Ed.), The encyclopedia of applied linguistics.  Oxford, UK: Wiley-Blackwell.

  • Toth, P. D.  (2011). Teacher- and learner-led discourse in task-based  grammar instruction:  Providing procedural assistance for L2 morphosyntactic development. In P. Robinson (Ed.), Best of Language Learning Series: Vol 7. Task Based Language Learning (pp. 141-188). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley-Blackwell.  (Reprinted from Language Learning 58(2), 237-283.)

  • Toth, P. D.  (2010). Relevance, cohesion and the sociocognition of form-focused, teacher-led L2 discourse.  In R. Batstone (Ed.), Sociocognitive perspectives on language use and language learning (pp. 186-209). Oxford, UK:  Oxford University Press.

  • Toth, P. D. (2003). Psych verbs and morphosyntactic development in instructed L2 Spanish.  In S. Montrul & F. Ordóñez (Eds.), Linguistic theory and language development in Hispanic languages:  Papers from the 5thHispanic linguistics symposium and the 4th conference on the acquisition of Spanish and Portuguese (pp. 468-497). Sommervile, MA:  Cascadilla Press.  (A selected conference proceedings volume)

Courses Taught

Doctoral Seminars

  • SPAN 8985  Teaching in Higher Education: Foreign Languages
  • SPAN 8300  Topics in Hispanic Linguistics
    - Sociocognitive Approaches to Second Language Instruction
    - Researching Second Language Classrooms
    - Social and Cognitive Theories of Grammar
    - Theory and Practice of Task-Based Language Teaching
    - Instructed Second Language Acquisition

Cross-Listed Graduate-Undergraduate Courses

  • SPAN 5304/4304  Spanish Applied Linguistics
  • SPAN 5303/4303  Spanish-English Bilingualism
  • SPAN 5303/4303  Spanish-English Contrasts
  • SPAN 5302/4302  Introduction to Spanish Linguistics

Undergraduate Courses

  • SPAN 3003  Advanced Spanish Grammar and Linguistic Concepts
  • SPAN 3001  Advanced Composition and Conversation
  • SPAN 2096  Spanish Composition
  • SPAN 2001  Intermediate Conversational Review
  • SPAN 1003  Intermediate Spanish 3rd Semester
  • SPAN 1001  Elementary Spanish 1
  • SPAN 0826  Bilingual Communities
  • SPAN 0815  Language in Society