BEING MULTILINGUAL

This research area in this project explores the cognitive aspects of what it means to be multilingual. Given the long-term objective of the EU to have all its citizens speak two languages in addition to their mother tongue, understanding how and why people succeed or fail in learning multiple languages is critical.

Within this research area, AThEME researchers are interested in three particular aspects:

  • Their first aim is to gain more knowledge of how factors like age-of-onset (the age at which an individual learns a second language) and language distance (how much one language differs from another) affect the final outcome of a person’s second language acquisition. They aim to uncover the factors which best predict how well somebody learns a second or third language. Both behavioural experiments as well as neurophysiological experiments will be conducted.
  • The second aim of these AThEME researchers is to investigate the direct effects of multilingualism on human interaction. For example how are certain processes in conversations, such as sentence comprehension, affected when foreign speakers are involved? Or how is sentence comprehension of speakers influenced when exposed to foreign-accented speech?
  • A third and final aim in this research area is to collect more data and gain more knowledge of the relationship between language and other mental operations, like attention and memory. In other words, AThEME researchers aim to investigate the effects of multilingual interaction on a neurocognitive level.

Traditionally, multilingualism has been investigated with behavioural methods such as questionnaires and experiments set up to measure reaction times. In this project researchers will include neurocognitive measures using EEG/ERP (measures of electrical activity of the brain) and fMRI (measurements of brain activity by means of changes in blood flow) in specially designed labs in the various countries of participating researchers.

RESEARCH TEAM BEING MULTILINGUAL

Our research team consists of researchers from 11 institutions across 6 EU countries.
Meet our team leaders:

LATEST PUBLICATIONS

Children's early bilingualism and musical training influence prosodic discrimination of sentences in an unknown language (Jan 2018)

What do childhood bilingualism and musical training at an early age have in common when it comes to detecting prosody (i.e. rhythm, intonation and tone)? A new study by AThEME researchers from the University of Nova Gorica and the French National…

Pragmatic abilities in bilinguals: the case of scalar implicatures (Jan 2018)

This article is a collaboration between AThEME partners CNRS-L2C2 (French National Centre for Scientific Research L2C2) and the Center for Cognitive Science of Language at the University of Nova Gorica in Slovenia. The aim of this research…

The Minimal and Short-lived Effects of Minority Language Exposure on the Executive Functions of Frisian-Dutch Bilingual Children (Aug 2017)

Does degree of bilingualism influence executive functioning (i.e. cognitive processes including attention and working memory) in children, and, if so, is this effect sustained over time? That is exactly what researchers from the Fryske Akademy,…

NEWSFLASH

Winter 2018 issue of the AThEME newsletter - out now!

The ninth and last issue of the AThEME e-newsletter gives a wealth of information about what our researchers and dissemination partners have been up to these last couple of months. As always, the newsletter includes updates on research, dissemination…

SUMMER 2018 ISSUE OF THE ATHEME NEWSLETTER – OUT NOW!

The eighth issue of the AThEME e-newsletter gives a wealth of information about what our researchers and dissemination partners have been up to these last couple of months. As always, the newsletter includes updates on research, dissemination…

Latest research: Evidence for an advantage of bilingualism in dyslexia

This study, developed by the University of Verona (Italy), in collaboration with the University of Trento (Italy) and the Xiamen University (China), sheds light on the relationship between bilingualism and developmental dyslexia by comparing…

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