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OHIO Expert

Photo of Ashwini Ganeshan

Ashwini Ganeshan, Ph.D.

  • Assistant Professor of Spanish
    Charles J. Ping Fellow for the Teaching of the Humanities
    Fellow of the Bruning Teaching Academy
    Adviser to Sigma Delta Pi, Chapter Pi Rho/Tao of Ohio University (National Collegiate Hispanic Honor Society)
  • Modern Languages
  • College of Arts and Sciences
  • ganeshan@ohio.edu
  • 740-593-2764
  • 404-324-8805

Areas of Expertise:
Hispanic Linguistics, Language and Gender, Linguistics, Politeness in Language, Spanish

An expert in linguistics, Dr. Ganeshan’s area of research and specialization is lexical semantics and pragmatics. Her research interest involves examining, understanding, and making generalizations about the structure of the different varieties of the Spanish language and relating it to languages around the world. In particular, she is interested in lexical semantic theory, a field within syntax and semantics, which investigates and establishes the correlation between word meaning and grammatical functions across languages such as why some verbs, like  break, allow for an alternation that other verbs, like  cut, do not? For example, both of these sentences are correct: John broke the window. The window broke. But these are not: John cut the paper. The paper cut. Or, why do we understand that  Juan se comió la manzana  implies that Juan ate the entire apple, while  Juan comió una manzana  is ambiguous about how much of the apple Juan ate?

Dr. Ganeshan also does research in the field of pragmatics – the study of how meaning is interpreted in context. For example, often instead of giving an order people frame the order as a question because it is more polite (e.g. Could you pass me the salt, please? ). It also attempts to answer questions such as when silences are appropriate and inappropriate in conversations. What are the differences in the way a compliment is given and reacted to in Spanish and English?

Research has shown that languages across the world exhibit patterns (in lexical semantics and pragmatics) in a systematic manner and by investigating these patterns, people can make strong predictions as to the nature of language and further linguistic theory. Dr. Ganeshan has published articles and presented her work at several national and international conferences on different topics in Hispanic Linguistics.

She also values teaching highly. She has taught and has been taught in different environments and educational systems in India, Spain, and the U.S. She has had the privilege of plenty of opportunities to interact with different kinds of teachers, students, and institutions. The diversity of her teaching and learning experiences has strongly influenced her teaching philosophy - the idea that no model of teaching and learning fits all students. Therefore, she uses an eclectic style that combines inductive inquiry-based, communicative, and task based approaches which she adapts every semester to serve her students in the best way she can. She is in constant search for innovative teaching practices that can make the learning experience more effective and more meaningful for her students.

Dr. Ganeshan is also a Fellow for the  Ping Institute for the Humanities and a  Bruning Teaching Fellow  at Ohio University. She earned her Ph.D. in Hispanic Linguistics from the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at the University of Texas at Austin in 2015. She completed her master’s and bachelor’s in Spanish from the Centre of Spanish, Portuguese, Italian and Latin American Studies at Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India from 2000-2005. She also has an Expert's degree in Teaching Spanish as a Foreign Language which she completed at the Instituto Cervantes, Spain, in 2006.

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