Professional Biography

Jeff MacSwan

Jeff MacSwan is Professor of Applied Linguistics and Language Education at the University of Maryland. He is also Professor of Neuroscience and Cognitive Science, and affiliate Professor in the Department of Linguistics and the Maryland Language Science Center.  MacSwan’s research program focuses on the linguistic study of bilingualism and codeswitching (or language alternation), and its implications for theories about the role of language in educational settings for multilingual students.  He is the editor of the International Multilingual Research Journal, and serves on several editorial boards.  Examples of his published work appear in American Educational Research Journal, Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, Lingua, Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences, Teachers College Record, and in edited collections and handbooks.  MacSwan recently served on the Committee on Fostering the Development and Educational Success of Dual Language Learners of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, and is a Fellow of the American Educational Research Association and of the National Education Policy Center. He received the Lifetime Achievement Award from AERA's Bilingual Education Research SIG and the Leadership through Scholarship Award from AERA's Second Language Research SIG, both in 2021.

Personal Biography

For my personal biography, please see my chapter in Prasad, Auger and Le Pichon-Verstman's collection, Multilingualism in Context: Researchers’ Pathways and Perspectives (Cambridge, 2022).


MacSwan 2022MacSwan & Faltis 2020
NAS ReportMacSwan 2014
MacSwan 1999  

Select Articles and Chapters

MacSwan, J. & K. Rolstad. (2024). (Un)grounded language ideologies: A brief history of translanguaging theory. International Journal of Bilingualism.

MacSwan, J., Thompson, M., Rolstad, K., McAlister, K., & Lobo, G. (2017). Three Theories of the Effects of Language Education Programs: An Empirical Evaluation of Bilingual and English-Only Policies. Annual Review of Applied Linguistics, 37, 218-240. doi:10.1017/S0267190517000137

MacSwan, J. (2017). A multilingual perspective on translanguaging. American Educational Research Journal, 53(1), 54(1), 167–201. DOI: 10.3102/0002831216683935 

MacSwan, J. (2016).  Codeswitching and the timing of lexical insertion. Linguistic Approaches to Bilingualism, 6(6), 786-791.

MacSwan, J. (2016).  Codeswitching in adulthood, pp. 183-200. In Nicoladis, E., & Montanari, S. (eds.). Lifespan perspectives on bilingualism. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association & Berlin: Walter de Gruyter.

MacSwan, J., ed. (2014). Grammatical Theory and Bilingual Codeswitching.  Cambridge: MIT Press.  ISBN 978-0-262-02789-2. 

Rolstad, K., & MacSwan, J. (2014). The facilitation effect and language thresholds. Frontiers in Psychology, 5. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2014.01197

MacSwan, J.  (2013). Code switching and linguistic theory, pp. 223–350. In T. K. Bhatia & W. Ritchie (Eds.), Handbook of Bilingualism and Multilingualism. Oxford: Blackwell.

Krashen, S., Rolstad, K. & MacSwan, J. (2012). Review of “Research summary and bibliography for Structured English Immersion programs” of the Arizona English Language Learners Task Force, pp. 107-119. In C. Faltis & B. Arias (eds.) English Learners in Arizona. Bristol, UK: Multilingual Matters.

van Gelderen, E. & MacSwan, J. (2008). Interface conditions and code-switching: Pronouns, lexical DPs, and checking theory. Lingua, 118(6), 765-776.

MacSwan, J., & Rolstad, K. (2006). How language tests mislead us about children’s abilities: Implications for special education placements. Teachers College Record, 108(11), 2304–2328.

MacSwan, J. (2005). Codeswitching and generative grammar: A critique of the MLF model and some remarks on “modified minimalism.” Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 8(1), 1-22. 

MacSwan, J. (2005). Remarks on Jake, Myers-Scotton and Gross’s response: There is no “matrix language.” Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 8(2), 277-284.

Mahoney, K., MacSwan, J., & Thompson, M. (2005). The condition of English Language Learners in Arizona: 2005, pp. 1-24. In D. Garcia & A. Molnar (Eds.), The Condition of PreK-12 Education in Arizona, 2005. Tempe, AZ: Education Policy Research Laboratory, Arizona State University.

MacSwan, J., & Pray, L. (2005). Learning English bilingually: Age of onset of exposure and rate of acquisition of English among children in a bilingual education program. Bilingual Research Journal, 29(3), 687-712.

MacSwan, J. & Rolstad, K. (2005). Modularity and the facilitation effect: Psychological mechanisms of transfer in bilingual students. Hispanic Journal of the Behavioral Sciences, 27(2), 224-243.

MacSwan, J., & Rolstad, K. (2003). Linguistic diversity, schooling, and social class: Rethinking our conception of language proficiency in language minority education, pp. 329-340. In C. B. Paulston & R. Tucker (Eds.), Sociolinguistics: The Essential Readings. Oxford: Blackwell.

MacSwan, J., Rolstad, K., & Glass, G. V. (2002). Do some school-age children have no language? Some problems of construct validity in the Pre-LAS Español. Bilingual Research Journal, 26(2), 213-238.

MacSwan, J. (2000). The Threshold Hypothesis, semilingualism, and other contributions to a deficit view of linguistic minorities. Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences, 22(1), 3-45.


Contact Information

2223 Benjamin Building
Department of Teaching and Learning, Policy and Leadership
Division of Language, Literacy, Culture, and Social Inquiry (LLCSI)
College of Education
University of Maryland
College Park, MD 20742

Email: (best contact method)
Phone: (301) 405.3141
Fax: (301) 314.9055