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Jean Costa-Silva

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PhD Candidate
Linguistics Teaching Assistant

My primary linguistic interests pertain to Second Language Acquisition, Syntax, and Cognitive Linguistics. My work focuses on the acquisition of motion encoding lexicalization patterns in L2s. In essence, I am particularly interested in how speakers of Portuguese and English as a second language begin to employ different syntactic and semantic strategies to describe movement through space.

I have a BA in Anglophone Studies (English Linguistics, Literature, and TESOL) from the Federal University of Minas Gerais, as well as teaching certificates from the University of Oregon and the University of Cambridge. Prior to coming to UGA, my career was mostly focused on TESOL: I taught English as a Foreign Language in Slovakia and Brazil for over 10 years. In 2017-2018 I received a Fulbright scholarship and worked in the Department of Romance Languages at UGA. Upon starting my PhD at UGA, I was awarded a Goizueta Foundation Fellowship, and worked at the Center for Latino Achievement and Success in Education (CLASE) from 2019 to 2023.

I am currently a Teaching Assistant for the Franklin College Writing Intensive Program, where I support students in the Generative Syntax courses in the Department of Linguistics. I am also an Instructor of Record for LING2100 "Study of Language". Besides my teaching appointments, I serve as the current Executive Editor of UGA Working Papers in Linguistics, the Social Chair of the Linguistics Society at UGA, and the coordinator of the SLAC Research Group.

  • 2019- present, PhD in Linguistics, University of Georgia.
  • 2009- 2014, B.A., English Studies (Linguistics, Literature and TESOL), magna cum laude, Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG), Brazil.
Specific Research Areas:
  • Second Language Acquisition
  • Cognitive Linguistics
  • Psycholinguistics
  • Generative Syntax
  • Interlanguage Pragmatics
  • Charlayne Hunter-Gault Giving Voice to the Voiceless Program Grant, Grady College, University of Georgia, 2021; ($1,000)
  • Shelter Projects Micro-Fellowship, Willson Center for Humanities and Arts, University of Georgia, 2021. ($500)
Selected Publications:

Book Chapters:

  • Costa-Silva, J., Fischer, D. N. (2022). Voicing the Global South: Translanguaging for Social Justice. In Língua(gem) e justiça social: saberes, práticas e paradigmas, 2, 40-53.
  • Costa-Silva, J., Saccomani, J. (2021). A revista de um programa de português como ferramenta didática: uma alternativa translíngue e multicultural. In Microgeopolítica da língua portuguesa: ações, desafios e perspectivas, 187-198.

Peer-Reviewed Publications:

  • Costa-Silva, J. (2018). Uma proposta interdisciplinar para o ensino de inglês: a história dos multi-word verbs. In Revista de Letra em Letra, 5, 74-82.

Creative Writing:

  • Costa-Silva, J. (2021). “The Lost Star: A estrela perdida”, e-book, Sponsored by the Willson Center for the Humanities and Arts’s Shelter Project Micro-Fellowship, Willison Center, University of Georgia
  • Costa-Silva, J. (2015). “O Último Natal”, e-book.
  • Costa-Silva, J. (2014). “Sinais de Trânsito” (“Traffic Lights”), short-story, II "Travessia" Writing Contest, Federal University of Minas Gerais, Brazil.
Awards and Special Recognitions:

Internal Awards:

  • 2023, Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award, Center for Teaching and Learning.
  • 2023, Outstanding Contributions to the Department, Department of Linguistics.
  • 2021-present, Graduate Teaching Assistantship, Department of Linguistics;
  • August 2019- May 2023, Goizueta Foundation Fellowship: Graduate Assistantship, Center for Latino Achievement and Success in Education (CLASE);
  • 2018, Team Work: Career Readiness Challenge, Career Center, University of Georgia - with Fala Aí Magazine.

External Awards:

  • Global Engagement Initiative Award, ACTFL Language Connects, for the Portuguese Flagship Online Summer Program, 2020;
  • Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistantship, U.S. Department of State, 2017-2018;
  • American English E-Teacher Program Scholarship, U.S. Department of State, 2015;
  • Crossing Countries through Culture, Youth in Action Programme, European Union Commission (Slovakia), 2007-2008;
  • Tales Inside Us, The Tale of Europe, Youth in Action Programme, European Union Commission (Turkey), 2007.

Travel Funding & Awards:

  • Graduate Student Domestic Travel Award. Costa-Silva, J., Lee-Schoenfeld, V. (2023, July). Syntactically Branching out Beyond the Traditional Classroom: A Report on the Discovery Method. Paper presented at the NSF-funded 2023 Conference on Scholarly Teaching and SoTL in Linguistics.
  • Linguistics Society at UGA Travel Funding: Costa-Silva, J. (2023, March). The Acquisition of Motion Encoding by English-Portuguese Bilinguals Across Proficiency Levels. Paper presented at the 90th Southeastern Conference on Linguistics.
  • Graduate School Domestic Travel Award: Rodríguez, Shannon, Paula Mellom, Jean Costa Silva, Rebecca K. Hixon, & Jodi Weber. (2021, March). Impact of Instructional Conversation on WTC in Undergraduate Foreign Language Courses. Paper presented at the meeting of the American Association of Applied Linguistics, Virtual.


  • Blue Key Honors Society - University of Georgia Chapter.
  • Alpha Alpha Alpha (Tri-Alpha) Honors Society.
Articles Featuring Jean Costa-Silva

The Department of Linguistics is proud to announce the 2023 Outstanding Teaching Award winners:

Our PhD student Jean Costa Silva has recently given a series of talks on second language acquisition at the Instituto Federal de Minas Gerais, Brazil.

Congratulations to PhD student Jean Costa Silva, who recently published a chapter titled "A revista de um programa de português como ferramenta didática: uma alternativa translíngue e multicultural (The magazine of a Portuguese program as a pedagogical tool for…

Major Professor:

Associate Research Scientist, Center for Latino Achievement and Success in Education

Committee Members

Associate Professor, Dept. of Language and Literacy Education

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