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Michael Olsen

Office: CCC 411
Phone: 715-346-4537


Michael Olsen learned Spanish in an immersion setting while living in southern Ecuador. After this experience, he completed his BA in Spanish at Utah State University. In 2007, Dr. Olsen completed his Master’s degree in Second Language Teaching also at Utah State University. He then moved to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to study Hispanic linguistics and second language acquisition. He received his Master’s degree in Hispanic Linguistics and Ph.D. in Hispanic Linguistics from the University of Pittsburgh. Dr. Olsen joined the Department of World Languages and Literatures at the University of Wisconsin Stevens Point in the fall of 2015.
Dr. Olsen has taught all levels of Spanish language courses as well as Spanish Phonetics and Phonology, Spanish Applied Linguistics, and Introduction to Hispanic Linguistics. He has also taught foreign language teaching methodology courses.
Dr. Olsen’s research interests include second language acquisition of Spanish phonology and morpho-syntax, classroom-based second language acquisition vs. naturalistic second language acquisition, teacher talk in foreign language classrooms, and second language retention/attrition. He is currently working on the interlanguage of second language learners and heritage speakers of Spanish regarding object pronouns and how instruction affects the acquisition of a native-like grammar.


University of Pittsburgh, Ph.D., Hispanic Linguistics, 2013
University of Pittsburgh, M.A., Hispanic Linguistics, 2010
Utah State University, MSLT, Second Language Teaching, 2007
Utah State University, B.A., Spanish, 2006


“The Acquisition of Case in Spanish Pronominal Object Clitics in English-Speaking College-Level L2 Learners”

Selected Publications

Olsen, M. K. (2015). Current trends among Ecuadorian dialects: Insights from internet interviews. Dialectologia, 14(1), 75-96.
Olsen, M. K. (2012). The L2 acquisition of Spanish rhotics by L1 English speakers: The effect of L1 articulatory routines and phonetic context for allophonic variation. Hispania, 95(1), 65-82.

Selected Presentations

Olsen, M. K. “Preempting an Animacy-Based Spanish Object Pronoun System in English Speaking L2 Learners of Spanish,” Rocky Mountain Modern Language Association Convention, Boise, Idaho, October 10, 2014.
Olsen, M. K. “Syntax or Semantics? The L2 Learner Conundrum in the Acquisition of Spanish Object Pronouns,” University of Montana Linguistics Club Lecture Series, Missoula, Montana, April 24, 2014.
Olsen, M. K. “L2 Spanish Formal Distinctions of Pronominal Object Clitics,” The Ohio State University Congress on Hispanic and Lusophone Linguistics, Columbus, Ohio, April 6, 2013.
Olsen, M. K. “The Influence of English Phonetics and Phonology on L2 Spanish Rhotics,” Hispanic Linguistics Symposium, Gainesville, Florida, October 27, 2012.
Olsen, M. K. & Juffs, A. “The Effect of Animacy on Pronominal Object Clitic Distinction in L2 Spanish,” Second Language Research Forum, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, October 20, 2012.
Olsen, M. K. “Phonetic Constraints and L1 Transfer of an English Phonological Rule in Spanish L2 Pronunciation,” Current Approaches to Spanish and Portuguese Second Language Phonology, Gainesville, Florida, February 6, 2010.
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