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You are here: Home / Research / Bilingualism and Language Development (BiLD) Lab

Bilingualism and Language Development (BiLD) Lab

Primary Investigator: Janet van Hell 

Postdoctoral Fellows:
Katharine Donnelly Adams
Rafał Jończyk

Graduate students:
Fatemeh Abdollahi
Carla Fernandez
Yushuang Liu
Antje Stöhr (Fulbright graduate student from Germany/the Netherlands)


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 child and adult second language learners at different levels of proficiency. We also study the neural and cognitive mechanisms involved in code-switching and in the comprehension of foreign accented speech. A second research theme in the BiLD Lab focuses on language development in school-aged children with typical or atypical development, including children with specific language impairment and children who are deaf.

Part of our neurocognitive research takes place in an RV mobile lab parked at schools, the 'brain bus'. We also use the 'brain bus' for outreach activities, e.g., science fairs or research demonstrations. For more information on our research projects, the people in the BiLD lab, how to get involved, and our recent publications, see the BiLD lab website, http://bild.la.psu.edu/

Recent Publications:

* denotes student or postdoc author

Poarch*, G., & Van Hell, J. G. (in press). Bilingualism and the development of executive function in children – the interplay of language and cognition. In: S. A. Wiebe and J. Karbach (Eds.), Executive function: Development across the lifespan. New York, Routledge. 

Stöhr*, A., Benders, T., Van Hell, J. G., & Fikkert, P. (in press). Heritage language exposure impacts voice onset time of Dutch-German simultaneous bilingual preschoolers. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition.

Stöhr*, A., Benders, T., Van Hell, J. G., & Fikkert, P. (in press). Second language attainment and first language attrition: The case of VOT systems in immersed Dutch-German late bilinguals. Second Language Research.

Van Hell, J. G., & Abdollahi*, F. (in press). Individual variation in syntactic processing in the second language: Behavioral and electrophysiological approaches. In: E. Segers & P. van den Broek (Eds.). Developmental Perspectives in Written Language and Literacy. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Van Hell, J. G., Fernandez*, C., Kootstra*, G. J., Litcofsky*, K. A., & Ting*, C.Y. (in press). Electrophysiological and experimental-behavioral approaches to the study of intra-sentential code-switching. Linguistic Approaches to Bilingualism. 

Fairchild*, S., & Van Hell, J. G. (2017). Determiner-noun code-switching in Spanish-English heritage speakers. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 20 (1), 150-161.

Grey*, S. E., & Van Hell, J. G. (2017). Foreign-accented speaker identity affects neural correlates of language comprehension. Journal of Neurolinguistics, 42, 93-108.

Litcofsky*, K. A. & Van Hell, J. G. (2017). Neural correlates of intra-sentential codeswitching: Switching direction affects switching costs. Neuropsychologia, 97, 112-139.

Takashima*, A., Bakker*, I., Van Hell, J. G., Janzen, G., & McQueen, J. M. (2017). Interaction between episodic and semantic memory networks in the acquisition and consolidation of novel spoken words. Brain and Language, 167, 44-60.

Tanner*, D., Grey*, S. E., & Van Hell, J. G. (2017). Dissociating retrieval interference and reanalysis in the P600 during sentence comprehension. Psychophysiology, 54(2), 248-259.

Litcofsky*, K.A., Tanner*, D., & Van Hell, J.G. (2016). Effect of language proficiency, use, and cognitive function on bilingual word production and comprehension. International Journal of Bilingualism, 20 (6), 666-683.

Lorimor, H., Jackson, C., Spalek, K., & Van Hell, J. G. (2016). The impact of notional number and grammatical gender on agreement with conjoined noun phrases in Dutch. Language, Cognition, and NeuroScience, 31 (5), 646-661.

Poll*, G., Miller, C. A., & Van Hell, J. G. (2016). Sentence repetition accuracy in adults with developmental language impairment: Interactions of participant capacities and sentence structures. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 59, 302-316.

Van Hell, J. G. (2016). Relative language proficiency affects language production in unimodal and bimodal bilinguals. Linguistic Approaches to Bilingualism, 6(6), 834-836.

Van Hell, J. G., Cohen*, C., & Grey*, S. (2016). Testing tolerance for lexically-specific factors in Gradient Symbolic Computation. Commentary. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 19, 897-899.

Van Weerdenburg, M. & Van Hell, J. G. (2016). Taalontwikkeling and taalproblemen [Language development and language disorders]. In: K. Verschueren & H. Koomen, Handboek diagnostiek in de leerlingenbegeleiding, Second Edition [Handbook for diagnostics in school service] Leuven, Belgium: Garant.

Bakker*, I., Takashima*, A., Van Hell, J. G., Janzen, G., & McQueen, J. M. (2015). Changes in theta and beta oscillations as signatures of novel word consolidation. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 27 (7), 1286-1297.

Bakker*, I., Takashima*, A., Van Hell, J. G., Janzen, G., & McQueen, J. M. (2015). Tracking lexical consolidation with ERPs: Lexical and semantic-priming effects on N400 responses to newly learned words. Neuropsychologia, 79, 33-41.

Bultena*, S., Dijkstra, T., & Van Hell, J. G. (2015). Language switch costs in comprehension depend on language dominance: Evidence from self-paced reading. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 18, 453-469.

Bultena*, S., Dijkstra, T., & Van Hell, J. G. (2015). Switch cost modulations in bilingual sentence processing: Evidence from shadowing. Language, Cognition, and NeuroScience, 30, 586-605.

Dijkstra, T., Van Hell, J. G., & Brenders*, P. (2015). Sentence context effects in bilingual word recognition: Cognate status, sentence language, and semantic constraint. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 18, 597-613.

Poarch*, G. J., Van Hell, J. G., & Kroll, J. F. (2015). Accessing word meaning in beginning second language learners: Lexical or conceptual mediation? Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 18 (3), 357-371.                                                                    

Poll*, G. H., Miller, C. A., & Van Hell, J. G. (2015). Evidence of compensatory processing in adults with Specific Language Impairment: Testing the predictions of the procedural deficit hypothesis. Journal of Communication Disorders, 53, 84-102.

Sanjeevan*, T., Rosenbaum, D. A., Miller, C., Van Hell, J. G., Weiss, D., & Mainela-Arnold, E. (2015). Motor issues in specific language impairment: a window into the underlying impairment. Current Developmental Disorders Reports, 2 (3), 228-236. 

Van Hell, J.G, Litcofsky*, K. A., Ting*, C. Y. (2015). Sentential code-switching: cognitive and neural approaches. In J. W. Schwieter (Ed.), The Cambridge Handbook of Bilingual Processing (pp 459-482). Cambridge University Press.