Laura Catharine Smith

Associate Professor, German & Russian

3109 JFSB


Research Areas: , , ,

Teaching Experience

As the sole linguist in German at BYU, I teach the linguistics class related to German, including German Phonetics, History of German, Structure of German, and seminars in topics ranging from Biblical Gothic, Middle High German, Second Language Proficiency, and experimental linguistics. My seminar teaching reflects a belief that wherever possible, students’ work should be focussed on contributing to the local community rather than just earning a grade.


Historical Linguistics-Prosodic phonology and morphology especially focussing on the role of prosodic templates shaping the history of the Germanic languages; Second Language Perception and Pronunciation, the role of dialect in second language perception and production; Language Acquisition on Study Abroad (grammatical, pronunciation and vocabulary gains, cultural attitudes); Factors affecting native speaker judgments

Selected Publications

  • Smith, Laura Catharine. To appear. “Moving from syllables to feet in the prosodic hierarchy: How foot-based templates reflect prosodic preferences.” In Noel, Patrizia and Laura Catharine Smith (Eds.) Preferences, Mouton de Gruyter.
  • Schuhmann, Katharina and Laura Catharine Smith. Forthcoming. “Practical prosody: a new hope for teaching German plurals.” To appear in Die Unterrichtspraxis/Teaching German.
  •  Smith, Laura Catharine and Shawn Nissen. 2020. “The impact of FLH on pronunciation: the case of German rounded vowels.” In Bown, Jennifer and Dan Dewey (Eds.) Language Learning in Foreign Language Houses, Georgetown University Press, pp.251-257.
  •  Smith, Laura Catharine. 2020. “The role of foot structure in Germanic.” Page, Richard and Michael Putnam (Eds.) Cambridge Handbook of Germanic Linguistics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 49-72.
  •  Bown, Jennifer, Laura Catharine Smith and Ekatarina V. Talalakina. 2019. “The Effects of an EFL and L2 Russian Teletandem Class: Student Perceptions of Oral Proficiency Gains.” Journal of Language and Education 5(3): 35-55.
  •  Montgomery, Cherice and Laura Catharine Smith. 2015. “Bridging the gap between practitioners and researchers.” Unterrichtspraxis 48 (1): 100-113.
  • Smith, Laura Catharine and Adam Ussishkin. 2015. “Prosodic/Templatic Change.” Invited chapter in Patrick Honeybone and Joseph Salmons (Eds.) The Handbook of Historical Phonology. Oxford University Press, pp. 262-285.
  •  O’Brien, Mary Grantham and Laura Catharine Smith. 2010. “Impact of first language dialect on the production of German vowels.” International Review of Applied Linguistics. 48: 297-330


Fostering relationships with colleagues at BYU and other universities has enabled collaborations that move our fields forward. Hosting colleagues in Provo at conferences like SLRF and GLAC (Germanic Linguistics Annual Conference) is a bonus. Working as a series co-editor has helped me better appreciate all those scholars whose time and efforts made it possible for my own research to appear. Working on the FAC, especially to increase diversity and inclusion on our campus has been an honour.

Citizenship assignments

Current Primary Assignments:

  • Fellow, Humanities Center, Brigham Young University, College of Humanities
  •  Faculty Advisory Council (FAC), Representative for College of Humanities
  • Series co-editor for sister series, Studies in Germanic Linguistics (Benjamins)/Open Studies in Germanic Linguistics (Language Sciences Press)
  • Member, Executive Council for Society for Germanic Linguistics
  •  Co-editor (with Patrizia Noel) on Preferences (Festschrift for Theo Vennemann)

Office Hours
MW 1:00-2:00 p.m.
Office Hours
Th 10:00-10:50 a.m.