• B.A., University of Belize, 2006
  • M.A., TESOL, Southern Illinois University-Carbondale, 2009
  • Ph.D., University of Florida, 2016


Dr. Osmer Balam and three colleagues from Europe were recently awarded a prestigious FWO grant for a 4-year project (Research Foundation – Flanders, €270.210,00, https://www.fwo.be/media/1024904/resultaten-senior-onderzoeksprojecten-2023.pdf) that will comparatively examine how structural, sociolinguistic, and cognitive factors influence code-switching practices across three communities: Miami (FL), El Paso (TX), and Belize in Central America/the Caribbean. The cross-regional project aims to contribute to a better understanding of the grammar underlying Spanish/English(/Kriol) codeswitching across communities where bi/multilinguals regularly mix their languages in everyday conversations. The project is being coordinated by Dr. Renata Enghels (project PI, Ghent University: https://research.flw.ugent.be/nl/renata.enghels), Dr. Rob Hartsuiker (Ghent University: https://users.ugent.be/~rhartsui/), Dr. M. Carmen Parafita Couto (Universiteit Leiden & Universidade de Vigo, https://www.universiteitleiden.nl/en/staffmembers/maria-del-carmen-parafita-couto#tab-1), and Dr. Osmer Balam (The College of Wooster & Universiteit Leiden, https://wooster.edu/bio/obalam/.

Areas of Interest

Osmer E. Balam (B.A. University of Belize; M.A. Southern Illinois University Carbondale; Ph.D. University of Florida) taught ESL and culture courses at the Regional Language Center in the University of Belize. He has also taught Spanish language and content (second language acquisition, syntax and pragmatics) courses at the University of Indiana in Bloomington and the University of Florida in Gainesville. At Wooster, he will teach language and content courses, as well as a topics course in Bilingualism in the Spanish-speaking world. His research focuses on the sociolinguistic outcomes of bi/multilingualism in Northern Belize where Spanish is in intense contact with English and Belizean Kriol. Dr. Balam’s refereed publications have appeared in edited volumes and scholarly journals such as Studies in Hispanic and Lusophone Linguistics, Spanish in Context, the Journal of Language Contact, and the Journal of Language, Identity and Education. In his free time, Dr. Balam enjoys working out, watching historical films and documentaries, traveling, and writing poetry. His original poetry is available online. One of Dr. Balam’s dreams is to publish a book of Spanish/English bilingual poetry.

Courses Taught
  • Beginning Spanish 101
  • Spanish Phonology 270

Baird, B., Balam, O., & Parafita Couto, M. C. (eds.). 2023.

Linguistic Advances in Central American Spanish. Brill: Leiden, the Netherlands. https://brill.com/display/title/68340?language=en

Balam, O., & Shelton, J. (2023). The use of Spanglish in Latin rap music: An analysis of interand intraclausal codeswitching. Bilingual Review/ Revista Bilingüe, 35(1), 3252.

Balam, O.,
StadthagenGonzález, H., RodríguezGonzález, E., & Parafita CoutoM.C. (2023). On the grammaticality of passivization in bilingual compound verbs. International Journal of Bilingualism, 27(4), 415431.

Balam, O., Stadthagen-González, H., Rodríguez-González, E., & Parafita Couto, M.C. (2022). On the Grammaticality of Passivization in Bilingual Compound Verbs. International Journal of Bilingualism. doi:10.1177/13670069221097772                    

Balam, O. (2021). Beyond Differences and Similarities in Code-switching and Translanguaging Research. Belgian Journal of Linguistics, 35, 76-103.

Balam, O., Parafita Couto, M. C., & Chen, M. (2021). Being in Bilingual Speech: An Analysis of Estar ‘be’ Constructions in Spanish/English Code-switching. Journal of Monolingual and Bilingual Speech 3(2), 238-264.

Balam, O., Lakshmanan, U., & Parafita Couto, M. C. (2021). Gender Assignment Strategies among Simultaneous Spanish/English Bilingual Children from Miami, Florida. Studies in Hispanic and Lusophone Linguistics, 14(2), 241-280.

Balam, O., Parafita Couto, M. C., & Stadthagen-González, H. (2020). Bilingual Verbs in Three Spanish/English Code-switching communities. International Journal of Bilingualism. 24(5-6), 952-967.

Balam, O., & Parafita Couto, M. C. (2019). Adjectives in Spanish/English Code-switching: Avoidance of Grammatical Gender in Bi/Multilingual Speech. Spanish in   Context, 16(2), 194-216.

Balam, O., & Prada Pérez, A. (2017). Attitudes toward Spanish and Code-switching in Belize: Stigmatization and Innovation in the Spanish Classroom. Journal of Language, Identity and Education, 16(1), 17-31.

Lakshmanan, U., Balam, O., & Bhatia, T. K. (2016). Introducing the Special Issue: Mixed Verbs and Linguistic Creativity in Bi/Multilingual Communities. Languages, 1(1), 9.

Balam, O. (2016). Semantic Categories and Gender Assignment in Contact Spanish: Type of Code-switching and its Relevance to Linguistic Outcomes. Journal of Language Contact, 9(3), 405-435.

Balam, O., & Prada Pérez, A. (2016). On the Productive Use of ‘Hacer + V’ in Northern Belize Bilingual/Trilingual Codeswitching. In Guzzardo Tamargo, R. E., Mazak, C., & Parafita Couto, M. C. (Eds.), Spanish-English Codeswitching in the Caribbean and the U.S. (pp.261-279). Amsterdam: John Benjamins. 

Balam, O. (2016). Mixed Verbs in Contact Spanish: Patterns of Use among   Emergent and Dynamic Bi/Multilinguals. Languages, 1(1), 3.                      

Balam, O. (2015). Code-switching and Linguistic Evolution: The Case of ‘Hacer + V’ in Orange Walk, Northern Belize. Lengua y Migración, 7(1), 83-109.

Balam, O. (2014). Notes on the History and Morphosyntactic Features of Spanish in Northern Belize. Kansas Working Papers in Linguistics, 2, 79-94. 

Balam, O., Prada Pérez, A., & Mayans, D. (2014). A Congruence Approach to the Study of Bilingual Compound Verbs in Northern Belize Contact Spanish. Spanish in Context, 11(2), 243-265.

Balam, O. (2013). Variable Neutralization of the Intervocalic Rhotic Contrast in Northern Belizean Spanish. Borealis: An International Journal of Hispanic Linguistics, 2(2), 285-315.

Balam, O. (2013). Overt Language Attitudes and Linguistic Identities among Multilingual Speakers in Northern Belize. Studies in Hispanic and Lusophone Linguistics6(2), 247-277.