Mihaela Pirvulescu

Mihaela Pirvulescu

Associate Professor, Linguistics
Associate Chair, Language Studies

My areas of expertise are in first language acquisition, multilingual acquisition and early second language acquisition. My current SSHRC project, involving a team of national and international researchers, investigates the role of language interactions in multilingual language acquisition. I’m interested in how a heritage language is acquired and maintained in an anglophone multilingual environment, as well as in how French as a third language is acquired, and what the interactions are with the previously learned languages.


Areas of Academic Interest

Bilingualism and multilingualism, syntax, child language acquisition


Grants, Fellowships & Awards

  • SSHRC Insight Grant, 2017-2022, Heritage language and maintenance in a trilingual context; Principal Investigator (co-investigators: Rena Helms-Park, UTSC and Elena Valenzuela, U Ottawa; collaborators: Virginia Hill, University of New Brunswick Saint John; Arsalan Kahnemuyipour, UTM; Tanja Kupisch, University of Konstanz, Germany; Jason Rothman, University of Tromsø, Norway).
  • Jackman Institute Working group, 2015-2016, Canadian Multilingualism.
  • UTM Research and Scholarly Activity Fund, 2015, Trilingual language development and maintenance in the French immersion system.
  • SSHRC Aid to research Workshops and Conferences in Canada, 2010, GALANA, Principal Applicant (organizing committee: Laura Colantoni, Maria-Cristina Cuervo, Ana T. Pérez-Leroux, Yves Roberge, Jeffrey Steele).
  • SSHRC Standard Research Grant, 2009-2013, The acquisition of object clitics by children learning French as their first or second language; Principal Investigator (co-investigators: Ana Pérez-Leroux and Yves Roberge; collaborators: Johanne Paradis, University of Alberta; Philippe Prévost, Université Laval/Université de Tours).
  • SSHRC Standard Research Grant, 2005-2008, Object omission and transitivity in child language; Co-investigator with Ana Pérez-Leroux (Principal Investigator: Yves Roberge).




  • “Direct objects and language acquisition”, 2018, book, CUP Press, with Ana Pérez-Leroux and Yves Roberge.
  • “Arborescences”, No. 5, Acquisition du français, 2015, edited by Jeffrey Steele and Mihaela Pirvulescu, Numéro 5, p. 1-138.
  • “Selected Proceedings of the 4th Conference on Generative Approaches to Language Acquisition North America (GALANA 2010)”, 2011, edited by Mihaela Pirvulescu, María Cristina Cuervo, Ana T. Pérez-Leroux, Jeffrey Steele, and Nelleke Strik.



  • “L’acquisition des objets directs et indirects en français L1” to appear, Language, Interaction, and Acquisition (with Sophia Bello).
  • “The acquisition of adverbs in child L3 French in Canada” (2022), Glossa: A Journal of General  Linguistics, 7:1, https://doi.org/10.16995/glossa.5721 (with Virginia Hill, Nadia Nacif, Rena Helms-Park, and Maria Petrescu).
  • “Clitics as input to the acquisition of verbal transitivity in French” (2017), Linguisticae Investigationes, 40(1) (with Ana T. Pérez-Leroux, Yves Roberge and Nelleke Strik).
  • “Object clitics in a second language: evidence from early child second language learners of French” (2015), Linguistica Atlantica (with Ana T. Pérez-Leroux, Yves Roberge and Nelleke Strik).
  • “The acquisition of object clitic features in French: A comprehension study” (2014), Lingua, 144, 58-71 (with Nelleke Strik).
  • Bilingual effects: Exploring object omission in pronominal languages” (2014), Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 17(3), 495-510 (with Ana T. Pérez-Leroux, Yves Roberge, Nelleke Strik and Danielle Thomas).
  • “French object clitics, L1 and the Left Periphery” (2012), in Ferré, S. et al (eds). Romance Turn 4, 169-189, Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Press (with Virginia Hill).
  • “Clitic Production across Tasks in Young French-speaking Children” (2012) in A. K. Biller, E. Y. Chung, and A. E. Kimball (eds.), BUCLD 36 Proceedings, Cascadilla Press, 461-473 (with Ana T. Pérez-Leroux, Yves Roberge and Nelleke Strik).
  • Object Clitic Omission in French-Speaking Children: Effects of the Elicitation Task” (2012), Language Acquisition, 19:1, 73-81 (with Virginia Hill).
  • “The acquisition of variable phenomena: The case of past participle agreement in Québec French” (2010), Bucharest Working Papers in Linguistics XII, no. 1, pp. 193-202.
  • “Agreement Paradigms across Moods and Tenses: The Case of Romanian Subjunctive and Imperative” (2009), Canadian Journal of Linguistics, 54 (1), pp. 137-156.
  • “Null Objects in Child Language: Syntax and the Lexicon” (2008), Lingua, 118:3, pp. 370-398 (with Ana T. Pérez-Leroux, Yves Roberge).
  • “The Acquisition of Past Participle Agreement in Québec French L1” (2008), Language Acquisition, 15:2, pp. 75-88 (with Isabelle Belzil).



Linguistic Studies
Current Courses
First Language Acquisition, Syntax, Bilingual and Multilingual Language Acquisition