Skip to main content
Skip to main menu Skip to spotlight region Skip to secondary region Skip to UGA region Skip to Tertiary region Skip to Quaternary region Skip to unit footer


Jean Costa-Silva

Default Image
PhD Candidate
Linguistics Teaching Assistant

My primary linguistic interests pertain to Second Language Acquisition, Syntax, Semantics, and Cognitive Linguistics. My work focuses on the acquisition of motion descriptions by L2 English and L2 Portuguese speakers. In essence, I am interested in how learners employ different linguistic strategies to describe movement through space.

I have a BA in 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 in Slovakia and Brazil for over 10 years altogether. 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, which I held 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. I also serve as the current Executive Editor of UGA Working Papers in Linguistics and the coordinator of the SLAC Research Group.

  • 2019- present, PhD in Linguistics, University of Georgia.
  • 2024- Graduate Certificate in University Teaching, 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
  • Semantic Typology
  • 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:

Peer-Reviewed Publications:

  • Costa-Silva, J. (2024). Neither Portugal nor Brazil: an investigation of the decolonial efforts in instructional materials adopted in early Portuguese courses at U.S. universities. Hispania, 107(1), 67-86.
  • 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.
  • 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:

  • 2024, SEC Emerging Scholars Assistantship Award.
  • 2024, Summer Doctoral Research Assistantship, Graduate School.
  • 2024, Excellence in Teaching Award, Office of the Vice President for Instruction.
  • 2023, Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award, Center for Teaching and Learning.
  • 2023, Outstanding Contributions to the Department, Department of Linguistics.
  • August 2019- May 2023, Goizueta Foundation Fellowship, 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:

  • 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

This past week, Ph.D. candidate and teaching assistant Jean Costa-Silva received a Graduate Research Award from the Willson Center for Humanities and Arts Advisory Board. The $900 award will go towards costs associated with his research project, “Acquisition of…

This past summer, Linguistics faculty and students represented UGA at several conferences. We are excited about all of the phenomenal research taking place in the department, and we would like to take the opportunity to recognize some of the projects that…

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

Support Linguistics at UGA

Your donations to the Department of Linguistics will support research and travel opportunities for students and faculty and other initiatives to enhance students' education in linguistics. Please consider joining other friends and alumni who have shown their support by making a gift to our fund. We greatly appreciate your contributions to the success of our programs!