Research Field

The Mechanisms behind Second Language Acquisition

Department of Cognitive Neuroscience, University of Bergen, Norway

Many speculations exist about how multiple languages are represented in the brain. Different patterns of cortical activation have been found for the first language acquired early in life as opposed to a second language acquired later in life. However, none of these studies took a direct look at the process of second language acquisition. This process is of great importance since second language acquisition is not a static but a dynamic process. As a result, most of the differences in fMRI studies between languages found so far can be explained by the different acquisition stages of their participants. In this project structural and functional MRI, ERP and PET (neurochemistry) will be used to study this process. Moreover, a multidisciplinary approach (neuroscientific, psychological and linguistic) will be used to investigate the mechanisms behind (German - and Norwegian) second language acquisition.

Other interesting research groups with respect to this topic:

  • Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics, Nijmegen, The Netherlands:
    The Dynamics of Multilingual Processing
  • Department of Psychology, Åbo Akademi University, Turku, Finland
  • Department of Linguistics, Radboud University Nijmegen, The Netherlands