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Language Learning


Sible Andringa

Participants in 2018

ACLC staff: Sible Andringa; Jan Hulstijn; Nel de Jong; Folkert Kuiken; Elisabetta Materassi; Alla Peeters-Podgaevskaja; Anna Pot, Lissan Taal-Apelqvist; Ineke Vedder; Josje Verhagen; Roos van der Zwaard

ACLC PhD candidates: Imogen Cohen;  Aartje van Dijk; Kyra Hanekamp; Darlene Keydeniers; Pauline Koeleman;  Hanneke Pot; Natalia Rivera; Patrick Schetters; Wilma van der Westen

Description of the research group

The Language Learning research group (formerly known as CASLA) unites a group of researchers within the ACLC that take an interest in language acquisition, language use and language education. This should be taken in the broadest sense: The focus of the group is to understand how languages are learned and maintained, and it covers topics ranging from language learning and bilingual development by young children to adult second and foreign language learning. The group harbors researchers that do experimental research in the lab as well researchers that work with data obtained in natural settings. The group is concerned with theoretical approaches to language learning, but also takes a keen interest in applied, socio-educational issues in the domains of classroom instruction, bilingual education, computer-assisted language learning, language testing and language policy.

Research highlights in 2018

Folkert Kuiken and Ineke Vedder developed a rating scale for the assessment of functional adequacy in L2 and showed in a study published in 2018 that this is a reliable and efficient tool for assessing functional adequacy  of both written and spoken L2 production.

Sybren Spit and Judith Rispens found that gifted children are better able to interpret object relative clauses than non-gifted peers, and that differing procedural memory capacities are an unlikely cause for this. 

Jan Hulstijn received the 2018 distinguished scholar award from the European Second Language Association (EuroSLA),

In a conceptual article (Internationale Neerlandistiek, 2018), reviewing hundred years of foreign and second-language instruction, Hulstijn argues that views of the behaviorist/structuralist and of the generative schools can no longer be considered relevant for the teaching and learning of a foreign or second language, while some views of connectionism, Usage-based linguistics and Construction Grammar are. For foreign and second–language instruction, Hulstijn emphasizes the importance, for implicit learning of grammatical patterns, of training word-by-word understanding of spoken language.

Caroline Roset described the grammar of Darfur Arabic and found that it stands midway between a pidgin or a creole on the one hand, and a full-fledged Arabic colloquial on the other. Moreover, the Arabic of Darfur displays considerable variability and much resembles Chadian Arabic.

Societal impact

Sybren Spit wrote several contributions to NEMO Kennislink; participated in several ScienceBattles, and is secretary of WAP (platform for bridging the gap between science and language practice). In addition he was interviewed for NPO radio 1 and Folia:

  • Hoe leren kinderen een nieuwe taal? Radio-interview, NPO Radio 1: Focus
  • Begrijpen kleuters de regels van een taal echt? Interview Folia

Sible Andringa launched the OASIS database website together with colleagues from the US and the UK. The Open Accessible Summaries In Language Studies (OASIS) initiative aims to make research findings on language learning and teaching available and accessible to a wide audience.