Applied Linguistics

The research profile of the Applied Linguistics research group is centred on child language acquisition, second language acquisition and speech coding.

Child language acquisition
Adopting a linguistic framework, we carry out intensive research into typical and atypical language acquisition patterns in various groups of children with language and/or hearing disorders. Monolingual and multilingual children with specific language development disorders, children with dyslexia and children with hearing disorders are central to the research. In cooperation with the VUmc (LHCA), the group also studies spoken language comprehension by adult native-language speakers with hearing disorders in relation to their cognitive and linguistic capabilities.

Second language acquisition
Another central pillar of our research is the way in which adults learn and use a foreign language. We are especially interested in the acquisition and teaching of Dutch as a second language (NT2), and English and French as a second language, both as spoken and written languages. Central themes include spoken fluency and sentence comprehension by English learners and grammatical flexion in written French.

Speech coding
The third pillar of research in the group concerns speech perception in relation the way it is coded in current hearing technology (cochlear implants, classical hearing aids). One of our main objectives is finetuning algorithms for targeted, computer-assisted calibration of speech processors in the cochlear implants of deaf language users.

Social applications
The research group attaches particular importance to the social value of its research outcomes. Results, knowledge and insights are translated into applications in education, healthcare and IT. Examples include the optimization of spoken language development in children with hearing disorders; the development of tools to diagnose specific language disorders or dyslexia in multilingual children; the development of language tests for adult language learners and the improvement of teaching methods.
We have many ties with companies who are interested in innovative research in applied linguistics, such as the publishers of teaching materials and language tests, the producers of cochlear implants and hearing aids, firms that develop software for dyslexics and for audiological practices, acoustic engineers and producers of noise-cancelling products.