Yvonne Lam, PhD, MA, BA

Associate Professor, Faculty of Arts - Modern Languages and Cultural Studies Dept


Associate Professor, Faculty of Arts - Modern Languages and Cultural Studies Dept



I am an Associate professor in the Spanish and Applied Linguistics programs. I hold a PhD (2003) in Hispanic Linguistics from the University of Toronto. My areas of expertise are sociolinguistics and second language acquisition.


My general area of research is in multilingualism. In particular, I am interested in language ideologies and identities among speakers of minority and indigenous languages. I have been working with indigenous language speakers in Mexico since 2003, examining the many complex factors that influence language sustainability. I am part of an ongoing SSHRC-funded project on the Totonacan languages of Mexico (led by David Beck), where my role is to carry out ethnographic research on the ideologies underlying the use and loss of these languages. I am also part of a SSHRC-funded initiative (led by Martin Guardado and Jorge Lemus) looking at language revitalization in El Salvador. Additionally, I am a member of an interdisciplinary research team at the University of Alberta (with Martin Guardado, Evangelia Daskalaki, and Rika Tsushima) studying the acquisition and the maintenance of heritage languages in Alberta.


I teach a variety of senior-level undergraduate courses in Spanish language and linguistics, as well as graduate-level courses in applied linguistics. I have supervised a number of MA and PhD students on different topics in second language acquisition and sociolinguistics. I have also supervised several undergraduate honours students as well as several winners of the Faculty of Arts Undergraduate Researcher Award. In 2017, I was a visiting professor in the Masters program in Indoamerican Linguistics at the Centre for Research and Advanced Studies in Social Anthropology (CIESAS) in Mexico City.


MLCS 650 - Teaching Postsecondary Language, Literature, and Cultural Studies

Designed to help graduate students develop theoretical knowledge and practical expertise in postsecondary language, literature, and cultural studies instruction. Prerequisite: consent of Department.

Fall Term 2021
SPAN 300 - Advanced Spanish

A high-intermediate to advanced-level course intended to improve overall proficiency in spoken and written Spanish. Emphasis on intercultural communicative competence. Prerequisite: SPAN 212 or consent of Department. Note: Not to be taken by students with advanced standing equivalent or near native ability or with credit in SPAN 306.

Fall Term 2021
SPAN 373 - Spanish as a World Language

Focus on the evolution of Spanish from Latin and its spread around the world. Examines the different varieties of Spanish as well as practices and attitudes regarding the use of Spanish in different regions. Prerequisite: SPAN 300 or 306 or consent of Department. Note: Not open to students with credit in SPAN 372. May be taken in place of SPAN 372 for program requirements.

Winter Term 2022

Browse more courses taught by Yvonne Lam


Los cargos: Un relato del sistema de cargos en el totonaca del Río Necaxa [Los cargos: An account of the system of cargos in Upper Necaxa Totonac]
Author(s): David Beck; Yvonne Lam
Publication Date: 2020
Publication: Tlalocan: Revista de fuentes para el conocimiento de las culturas indígenas de México
Volume: XXV
Page Numbers: 51-113
External Link: http://dx.doi.org/10.19130/iifl.tlalocan.2020.500
The acquisition of prepositional meanings in L2 Spanish
Author(s): Yvonne Lam
Publication Date: 2018
Publication: Canadian Journal of Applied Linguistics
Volume: 21
Issue: 1
Page Numbers: 1-22
External Link: https://journals.lib.unb.ca/index.php/CJAL/article/view/24600
La diversidad lingüística y el futuro de las lenguas originarias [Linguistic diversity and the future of indigenous languages]
Author(s): Yvonne Lam
Publication Date: 2018
Publication: Ichan Tecolotl: Puntos de Encuentro
Volume: mayo 2018
External Link: https://tecolotl.ciesas.edu.mx/2018/05/
Oportunidad, ideología y la pérdida del totonaco del río Necaxa
Author(s): Yvonne Lam
Publication Date: 2012
Publication: In P. Levy & D. Beck (Eds.), Las lenguas totonacas y tepehuas: Textos y otros materiales para su estudio. Mexico City, Mexico: Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México.
Page Numbers: 519-543

Yes/no tests for foreign language placement at the post-secondary level
Author(s): Yvonne Lam
Publication Date: 2010
Publication: Canadian Journal of Applied Linguistics
Volume: 13
Issue: 2
Page Numbers: 54-72
External Link: https://journals.lib.unb.ca/index.php/CJAL/article/view/19884
Applying cognitive linguistics to teaching the Spanish prepositions 'por' and 'para'
Author(s): Yvonne Lam
Publication Date: 2009
Publication: Language Awareness
Volume: 18
Issue: 1
Page Numbers: 2-18
External Link: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/09658410802147345
The straw that broke the language’s back: Language shift in the Upper Necaxa Valley of Mexico.
Author(s): Yvonne Lam
Publication Date: 2009
Publication: International Journal of the Sociology of Language
Volume: 195
Page Numbers: 219-233
External Link: http://www.degruyter.com/view/j/ijsl.2009.2009.issue-195/ijsl.2009.012/ijsl.2009.012.xml?format=INT