University of Wisconsin–Madison

Monika Chavez
German, Professor

Languages: German

Research/Language Interests: second language acquisition foreign language pedagogy special focus: classroom language use; perceptions (of interactions & objectives; self; teachers; students; language; native speakers; culture)

Education: 1992, Ph.D. in Germanic Linguistics (German Applied Linguistics), The University of Texas at Austin 1989, M.A. in German Studies, The University of New Mexico, Albuquerque 1982-1987, German & History (erste & zweite Diplomprüfung), University of Vienna

Affiliated Departments: Ph.D. Program in Second Language Acquisition

Undergraduate Courses: German 262 - Intermediate German-Writing German 337 - Advanced Conversation and Composition German 372 - Österreich: Natur als Kultur

Recent Graduate Courses:  The Speaking Ecology of a Foreign Language Classroom (Spring 2012) Research in Second Language Acquisition (Fall 2013) Hot Seat–Language Program Direction (Fall 2014) The Language Classroom as a Social Space (Spring 2016) The Language Classroom from the Student View (Fall 2016) Survey Research in Second Language Acquisition (Spring 2017) The Language in Language Learning & Teaching (Fall 2017)

About Me: I was born in Melk, Austria, and came to the United States in 1986/87 after my marriage. I have always enjoyed, as they say, 'languages'. I first got hooked when I realized I could say things my parents couldn't understand and that I could sound different from my old (sometimes boring) self. I have always loved literature but felt that the burdens of the daily grind (i.e., engaging with it professionally) may kill that love. At the same time, I have a strong positivist streak - and enjoy designing studies, analyzing data, and mulling over patterns and trends. I am also very, very nosy - and research allows me to ask questions that otherwise would mark me as a social oddity. So, I was very much attracted to linguistics, particularly in its social applications. I continue to articulate and ask questions - and hope to support my students in doing the same.

Selected Publications


Lovik, Thomas & J. Douglas Guy & Monika Chavez. (2014) Vorsprung. Boston:

The Houghton Mifflin Company. [third edition]

Lovik, Thomas & J. Douglas Guy & Monika Chavez (2014).Vorsprung -Students Ancillary Materials: Workbook - Lab Manual - Video Workbook.  Boston: The Houghton Mifflin Company.  [third edition]

Empirical studies in peer-reviewed journals 



(in review). To study or not to study a foreign language: Feared and ideal communities near and far.


(2017). Hard rules and bad memories: College learners’ accounts of what makes learning German grammar difficult. Die Unterrichtspraxis/Teaching German 50 (1), 1-21.

(2016). Students’ accounts of grammatical forms of German that are difficult, unattainable, and irrelevant for self-expression. Language Awareness 25 (3), 197-221.

(2016). The First Language in the Foreign Language Classroom: Teacher Model and Student Language Use: An Exploratory Study. Classroom Discourse 7 (2), 131-163.

(2014). Variable beliefs about the need for accuracy in the oral production of German: an exploratory study. International Journal of Applied Linguistics 24(1), 97-127.

(2013). How college learners of German envision their final attainment: between community and future self. Die Unterrichtspraxis/Teaching German, 46 (1), 75-90.