LOT Summer School 2018

The cognition and electrophysiology of multilingual learning and processing

Kristin Lemhöfer



Title of the course:

Cognition of bilingualism



Course description: This course will cover aspects of the cognitive mechanisms of bilingual language processing and learning, with a focus on sentence processing, but we will also talk about words (on Thursday). The main idea I would like to give examples on is how to use strictly controlled lab methods from experimental psychology and cognitive neuroscience to address questions on natural language use from Second Language Acquisition, a field usually covered by applied linguists. These methods include behavioral ones (reaction times, accuracy) and event-related potentials in the EEG, which will be explained in more detail than what is usually the case in research talks. On Friday, there will be a practical session where students will run their own micro-experiment in groups.

Day-to-day program:

Day 1: One mind, two languages: general introduction to the cognition of bilingualism event-related potentials in language; semantic processing in bilinguals

Day 2: Are L2 grammars shallow? Syntactic processing in bilinguals and its development

Day 3: L2 learning ‘in the wild’: incidental learning and its absence ( ‘fossilization’)

Day 4: Handling multiple mental lexicons: acquisition, interference, and forgetting of words in multilinguals

Day 5: Practical: run your own (micro-)experiment (behavioral)


Steinhauer, K. (2014). Event-related potentials (ERPs) in second language research: A brief introduction to the technique, a selected review, and an invitation to reconsider critical periods in L2. Applied Linguistics, 35(4), 393–417. doi:10.1093/applin/amu028

Ferreira, F. (2003). The misinterpretation of noncanonical sentences. Cognitive Psychology, 47(2), 164-203.

Clahsen, H., & Felser, C. (2006). How native-like is non-native language processing? Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 10(12), 564-570. doi: 10.1016/j.tics.2006.10.002

Lemhöfer, K., Schriefers, H., & Indefrey, P. (2014). Idiosyncratic grammars: Syntactic processing in second language comprehension uses subjective feature representations. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 26(7), 1428-1444. doi:10.1162/jocn_a_00609

de Vos, J.F., Schriefers, H., & Lemhöfer, K. (in press). Noticing vocabulary holes aids incidental second language word learning: An experimental study. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition.

de Vos, J.F., Schriefers, H., ten Bosch, L., & Lemhöfer, K. (under revision). Incidental spoken L2 word learning and retention: An experimental study.