Professional Biography

Dr. Matsumoto is an Assistant Professor in the Educational Linguistics division at Penn GSE. She received a Ph.D. in Applied Linguistics from Pennsylvania State University. Her dissertation focused on communicative strategies for resolving miscommunication using multimodal interactional resources—such as gesture, embodied action, laughter, and material objects—in English as a lingua franca (ELF) contexts. Simply put, ELF is a practice where interlocutors with various linguistic and cultural backgrounds use English as a means of communication. Her major research interests include ELF, intercultural communication, and pragmatics.

Prior to joining Penn GSE, Dr. Matsumoto was a visiting assistant professor at the University of Massachusetts Boston, where she taught a variety of graduate-level applied linguistics courses, including Cross-Cultural Perspectives, Second Language Acquisition, and Bilingualism and Language Policy. She also taught English as a foreign language at secondary schools in Japan for about five years.

Research Interests and Current Projects

As both a researcher and teacher educator, Dr. Matsumoto focuses on the field of English as a lingua franca (ELF). She seeks to illuminate communicative strategies of so-called non-native English speakers—or what she prefers to call ELF speakers—that enable them to communicate successfully in intercultural contexts. In her doctoral dissertation, entitled Multimodal Communicative Strategies for Resolving Miscommunication in Multilingual Writing Classrooms, she developed a new multimodal orientation to the conceptualization of ELF by conducting multimodal analysis of ELF academic discourse. Dr. Matsumoto’s primary objectives in this area of research are to (a) exhibit how multilingual students and instructors use miscommunication as a space for negotiating differences; (b) to develop an alternative, positive view of multilingual speakers and intercultural communication; and (c) to uncover the pedagogical implications of this work for language teacher education.

Dr. Matsumoto is also investigating various functions of laughter and humor in ELF interactions, in both informal and academic contexts. Combining sequential analysis with ethnographic information, she closely analyzes how ELF speakers employ laughter, and how interactants with diverse linguistic and cultural backgrounds can successfully construct humor. Her goals in this research area are to demonstrate the intricate process of constructing humor and to examine the possible relationship between humor and second language development.

Finally, Dr. Matsumoto is interested in “seeing” how second language teachers develop professionally through the lens of sociocultural theory. She has analyzed an experienced second language teacher’s self-reflective writing and traced his professional development from a sociocultural perspective by employing grounded analysis. She is considering the possibility of employing reflective writing as a mediational tool for tracing novice teacher development in the Penn GSE TESOL program.



Ph.D. (Applied Linguistics) Pennsylvania State University, 2015

M.A. (Second Language Studies, specialization in English Language Teaching) University of Hawai‘i at Manoa, 2006

B.A. (Elementary School Education) University of Okayama, 1998

Areas of Expertise

English as a lingua franca

Intercultural communication and pragmatics

Gesture and second language learning/development

Humor and politeness work

Multimodal analysis

Material use in L2 classroom

Selected Publications

Matsumoto, Y., & Dobs, A. (2017). Pedagogical gestures as interactional resources for teaching tense andaspect in the ESL classroom. Language Learning, 67(1), 7-42. DOI: 10.1111/lang.12181

Matsumoto, Y. (forthcoming). Teachers’ identities as ‘non-native’ speakers: Do they matter in English as a lingua franca interactions? In B. Yazan & N. Rudolph (Eds.), Criticality, teacher identity, and (in)equity in ELT through and beyond binaries: Issues and implications. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Springer. 

Canagarajah, S., & Matsumoto, Y. (in press). Voice in translingual literacies: Practicing critical writing in the academic contact zone. Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development. DOI: 10.1080/01434632.2016.1186677

Matsumoto, Y. (2016). The power of self-directed journals: Being a temporary ‘other’ for learning to teach. Journal of Teacher Development, 20(4), 521–537. DOI:

Matsumoto, Y. (2014). Collaborative co-construction of humorous interaction among ELF speakers. Journal of English as a Lingua Franca, 3(1), 81–107. DOI:

Canagarajah, S., Kafle, M., & Matsumoto, Y. (2012). World Englishes in local classrooms. In A. Yiakoumetti (Ed.), Harnessing linguistic diversity for better education: Rethinking education (pp. 77–96). Oxford: Peter Lang.

Matsumoto, Y. (2011). Successful ELF communications and implications for ELT: Sequential analysis on ELF pronunciation negotiation strategies. Modern Language Journal, 95(1)97–114. DOI: 10.1111/j.1540-4781.2011.01172.x