Home / People / Faculty / Janet van Hell

Janet van Hell
Professor of Psychology and Linguistics
Director of the Linguistics Program

Department of Psychology
4G Thomas Building
University Park, PA 16802

Phone (Penn State): 814-867-6754
Email: jgv3@psu.edu

Lab Affiliation: Bilingualism and Language Development Lab (BiLD lab)

Research Interests:

Second language learning and bilingualism/multilingualism.

The Bilingualism and Language Development (BiLD) Lab studies the cognitive and neurocognitive processes related to language development, second language learning, and bilinguals’ use of two languages. We combine behavioral, neuropsychological (ERPs), and linguistic techniques to study patterns of cross-language interaction and transfer in second language learners at different levels of proficiency, as well as neural and cognitive mechanisms involved in code-switching. We also study sign-speech bilinguals who use spatial and oral languages from two different modalities. A second research theme in the BiLD Lab focuses on language development in school-aged children with typical or atypical development, including children with dyslexia or with specific language impairment, and children who are deaf.

Research Opportunities:

The Bilingualism and Language Development (BiLD) Lab is a new lab in the Psychology and Linguistics Departments, and focuses on language development and bilingualism at middle childhood and beyond. Questions we examine include: How do bilinguals with different levels of proficiency in their second language process words and sentences in their first and second language? Why do bilinguals switch between languages and what triggers a switch to the other language? How do beginning second language learners learn new words and syntactic structures in the second language? How do children with dyslexia or with Specific Language Impairment process complex morphosyntactic structures? How does sign language influence processing in an oral language in sign-speech bilinguals?

There are many opportunities for research for students interested in particular languages (e.g., Spanish, German, Chinese, American Sign Language), but you don’t have to speak a second language yourself. We seek students who are curious, enthusiastic, and responsible, and who seek training in experimental and neurocognitive research related to language processing. Method of compensation: Independent study (Psychology 494 or Linguistics 496) or work study positions are available for undergraduate students who are eligible. Please contact me at jgv3@psu.edu if you are interested.

Recent Publications:

* denotes a student author

Kootstra*, G. J., Van Hell, J. G., & Dijkstra, T. (in press). Code-switching in sentences: The role of lexical repetition, cognates, and language proficiency. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition.

Van Hell, J. G., & Kroll, J. F. (in press). Using electrophysiological measures to track the mapping of words to concepts in the bilingual brain: a focus on translation. In J. Altarriba & L. Isurin (Eds.), Memory, Language, and Bilingualism: Theoretical and Applied Approaches. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Poarch*, G. J. & Van Hell, J. G. (in press). Cross-language activation in children’s speech production: Evidence from second language learners, bilinguals, and trilinguals. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology. doi:10.1016/j.jecp.2011.09.008

Schwartz, A. I. & Van Hell, J. G. (in press). Bilingual visual word recognition in sentence context. In J. Adelman (Ed.), Visual Word Recognition (Ed. J. Adelman). Psychology Press.

Hoogeveen*, L., Van Hell, J. G., & Verhoeven, L. (in press). Accelerated gifted students in the Netherlands: Social and emotional characteristics and behavior. British Journal of Educational Psychology. DOI: 10.1111/j.2044-8279.2011.02047.x

Van Hell, J. G. & Poarch*, G. J. (in press). Lexical and conceptual representations in second language acquisition. In M. Gullberg & J. Williams (Eds.), The Encyclopedia of Applied Linguistics.

Hermans, D., Ormel, E., Van den Besselaar*, R., & Van Hell, J. G. (in press). Lexical activation in bilinguals’ speech production is dynamic: How language ambiguous words can affect cross-language activation. Language and Cognitive Processes. DOI: 10.1080/01690965.2010.530411

Van Beijsterveldt*, L. M., & Van Hell, J. G. (in press). The development of deaf writers’ tense marking in narrative and expository text: a bimodal bilingual perspective. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition. DOI:10.1017/S1366728910000465

Jackson, C. N., & Van Hell, J. G. (2011). The effects of L2 proficiency level on the processing of wh-questions among Dutch second language speakers of English. International Review of Applied Linguistics in Language Teaching, 49 (3), 195-219.

Brenders*, P., Van Hell, J. G., & Dijkstra, T. (2011). Word recognition in child second language learners: Evidence from cognates and false friends. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 109, 383-396. DOI:10.1016/j.jecp.2011.03.012

Kootstra*, G. J., Van Hell, J. G., & Dijkstra, T. (2010). Alignment in the production of code-switched sentences: The role of word order and dialogue partner. Journal of Memory and Language, 63, 210-236. doi:10.1016/j.jml.2010.03.006

Kroll, J. F., Van Hell, J. G., Tokowicz, N., & Green, D. W. (2010). The Revised Hierarchical model: A critical review and assessment. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 13 (3), 373-381. doi:10.1017/S136672891000009X

Van Beijsterveldt*, L. M. & Van Hell, J. G. (2010). Lexical noun phrases in texts written by deaf children and adults with different proficiency levels in sign language. International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, 13 (4), 439-468. DOI: 10.1080/13670050903477039

Van Hell, J. G., & Tokowicz, N. (2010). Event-related brain potentials and second language learning: Syntactic processing in late L2 learners at different L2 proficiency levels. Second Language Research, 26 (1), 43-74. DOI: 10.1177/0267658309337637

De Jong, T., van Gog, T., Jenks, K., Manlove, S., Van Hell, J.G., Jolles, J., van Merrienboer, J., van Leeuwen, T., Boschloo, A. (2009). Explorations in Learning and the Brain. On the Potential of Cognitive Neuroscience for Educational Science. Springer. ISBN: 978-0-387-89511-6

Hoogeveen*, L., Van Hell, J. G., & Verhoeven, L. (2009). Self-concept, social status and reputation of accelerated and non-accelerated students in the Netherlands. Gifted Child Quarterly, 53, 50-67. DOI: 10.1177/0016986208326556

Kootstra*, G. J., Van Hell, J. G., & Dijkstra, T. (2009). Two speakers, one dialogue: An interactive alignment perspective on codeswitching in bilingual speakers. In: L. Isurin, D. Winford, & K. de Bot (Eds.), Multidisciplinary approaches to code switching (pp. 129-159). Amsterdam / Philadelphia: John Benjamins.

Van Beijsterveldt*, L. M., & Van Hell, J. G. (2009). Evaluative expression in deaf children’s written narratives. International Journal of Language and Communication Disorders, 44 (5), 675-692. DOI: 10.1080/13682820802301498

Van Beijsterveldt*, L. M., & Van Hell, J. G. (2009). Structural priming of adjective-noun structures in hearing and deaf children. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 104 (2), 179-196. doi:10.1016/j.jecp.2009.05.002

Van Hell, J. G., & Witteman*, M. J. (2009). The neurocognition of switching between languages: A review of electrophysiological studies. In: L. Isurin, D. Winford, & K. de Bot (Eds.), Multidisciplinary approaches to code switching (pp. 53-84). Amsterdam / Philadelphia: John Benjamins.

Van Hell, J. G. & De Groot, A. M. B. (2008). Sentence context affects lexical decision and word translation. Acta Psychologica, 128, 431-451. doi:10.1016/j.actpsy.2008.03.010

Van Hell, J. G., Verhoeven, L., & Van Beijsterveldt*, L. M. (2008). Pause time patterns in writing narrative and expository texts by children and adults. Discourse Processes, 45, 406-427. DOI: 10.1080/01638530802070080

Verhoeven, L. & Van Hell, J. G. (2008). From knowledge representation to writing text: A developmental perspective. Discourse Processes, 45, 387-405.

Van Hell, J. G., & van Weerdenburg, M. (2007). Taalontwikkeling and taalproblemen [Language development and language disorders]. In: K. Verschueren & H. Koomen, Handboek diagnostiek in de leerlingenbegeleiding [Handbook for diagnostics in school service] (pp. 89-104). Leuven, Belgium: Garant.

Bosman, A. M. T., Van Hell, J. G., & Verhoeven, L. (2006). Learning the spelling of strange words in Dutch benefits from regularized reading. Journal of Educational Psychology, 98, 879-890. DOI: 10.1037/0022-0663.98.4.879

De Groot, A. M. B., & Van Hell, J. G. (2005). The learning of foreign language vocabulary. In: J. F. Kroll & A. M. B. de Groot (Eds.), Handbook of bilingualism: Psycholinguistic approaches (pp. 9-29). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Hoogeveen*, L., Van Hell, J. G., & Verhoeven, L. (2005). Teacher attitudes toward academic acceleration and accelerated students in the Netherlands. Journal for the Education of the Gifted, 29, 30-59.

Van Hell, J. G., Verhoeven, L., Tak*, M., & van Oosterhout*, M. (2005). To take a stance: A developmental study on the use of pronouns and passives in spoken and written texts in different genres. Journal of Pragmatics, 37, 239-273. doi:10.1016/j.pragma.2004.08.004