WHAT ARE THE SET OF FACTORS THAT CONTRIBUTE TO SUCCESSFUL ADULT SECOND LANGUAGE LEARNING?
Adult second language learning is arguably one of the most challenging and complex tasks for the adult mind. Indeed, adult learners often struggle when learning a second language, resulting in a great deal of variability in their learning outcomes, with some learners reaching favorable milestones in their second language learning experience while some others learners do not. Explaining the varying success in adult second language learning constitutes one of my main areas of interest. In my work, I investigate the role that learner-internal and learner-external factors play in adult second language development (specifically for grammar learning), as well as how those individual factors interact to achieve proficient bilingualism.
BILINGUALISM CHANGES LINGUISTIC AND COGNITIVE FUNCTION.
A critical issue in bilingualism research is to examine the way two or more languages interact in the brain of bilinguals. A substantial amount of research provides evidence that bilinguals' languages interact and influence each other despite constant processes that allow bilinguals to distinguish and use their languages separately. This constant interaction has been shown to result in changes to the linguistic and cognitive systems of bilinguals. Understanding the ways in which the (becoming) bilingual experience changes linguistic and cognitive function constitutes another of my areas of interest. In my work, I investigate cross-linguistic influence in both the grammatical and phonological domain, specifically from the second to the first language, and changes in cognitive abilities, specifically in the executive control domain, in heritage speakers and sequential bilinguals.
NEUROCOGNITION OF BILINGUALISM
Do our brains differ in the way they process the different languages we know? Can we gain better insight into how knowledge of a second language develops by studying the brain? Answering these questions (and many others!) constitutes another of my areas of interest. In my work, I use neurocognitive methods (such as event-related potentials) to look at first and second language grammatical processing along the continuum of bilingualism in order to gain a greater understanding of the neurocognitive processes underlying successful second language development and use.