Research at CLS

The Centre for Language Studies (CLS) aims to achieve a deeper understanding of the cognitive and social processes underlying language systems, language processing, and language use. We aspire to optimise human communicative interaction. Our approach is to investigate language from single sounds to discourse, including modalities from speech and text to gestures, signs, and images.

Mission Statement

Language Science that Matters.

Uniquely positioned on one of the strongest campuses in linguistics worldwide, CLS is a research institute that performs top quality language and communication research on pressing scientific questions that matter societally. Our research strives to achieve a deeper understanding of the nature of language and the way it functions. CLS has a keen eye on impact in relevant societal domains such as education and digitalization, and CLS researchers are solidly embedded in the educational programs of the Faculty of Arts. We value training students to become familiarized with the latest academic insights and what they mean for society at large. The many text corpora and software tools we develop contribute to achieving central research aims for CLS and the larger academic community, and we have a strong track record in AI driven language and speech technology as an instrument and an object of research. Striving for a deeper understanding of what underlies language systems, language processing, and language use, CLS researchers examine three big questions (Appendix B):

1) How are language systems structured and how do they evolve? We study typological, regional, and historical differences between languages and their varieties, and how social and cognitive factors contribute to language structure, variation and change.

2) How do humans and machines acquire languages? We examine the factors and processes underlying language acquisition in first, second, foreign and multi-language contexts by human learners of all ages in naturalistic and educational settings, and we examine the possibilities and boundaries of computers in simulating these processes.

3) How do human communication and cognition interact? We investigate the structure, meaning, functions, and modalities of language in social interaction. We examine language processing and communication effects on cognition and behavior in healthy persons and individuals with an impairment, in interpersonal, organizational, and digital contexts.

Departing from the perspective that today’s complex problems cannot be solved by language and communication scientists alone, CLS has strong and collegial ties with several renowned institutes on campus and beyond. In Nijmegen, CLS is a full partner of the Donders Network Institute, a collaboration between six different institutes on the Radboud campus, among which the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics (MPI). Within this network, CLS researchers collaborate in the Language and Communication theme and with the Baby & Child Research Center. More recently, CLS has partnered up with iHub, the interdisciplinary Hub for research on digitalisation in several research projects. CLS also shares research interests and project with the institute Radboud Institute for Culture & History (RICH), Radboudumc, and the Behavioural Science Institute (BSI). Globally, CLS’ collaboration network spans more than 40 countries and 200 institutions. 

Research facilities

Radboud University offers many facilities to both internal and external researchers. An overview of all research facilities for each research domain can be found below.

View all research facilities


CLS researchers are engaged in a diverse range of research projects. Presented below is a selection of our ongoing projects.

Abstract image of blue and red smoke coming together

The Language Leak

This project aims at uncovering the architecture of the multilingual sentence processing system and explaining how multilingual’s languages interact.

Speak cloud in yellow and green

Multilingual corpora

On the basis of multilingual corpora an analytical tool will be developed and tested in this project in which mode switch (as opposed to code switch) is operationalised.

Participate in our research!

We are always looking for participants. Sign up as a participant in the Radboud SONA system to take part in our lab or online experiments. For further information, please send an e-mail to clslab [at] (clslab[at]let[dot]ru[dot]nl).

Information for EEG/fEMG participants

Please read this information before coming to the appointment. 

Information EEG Information fEMG 


CLS Talks

CLS Talks take place once a month on Thursdays at 4 pm. These colloquia showcase research done within the CLS, with the aim to increase awareness of the ongoing research in our institute, and to facilitate discussions and collaborations between researchers. In addition, we invite a number of external speakers to share their work with us. If you would like to suggest names for speakers (someone else or yourself), please get in touch with us via clstalks [at] (clstalks[at]ru[dot]nl)

CLS Talks are open to all interested researchers. If you are not on the CLS mailing list but would like to receive notice about an upcoming talk, please send a message to clstalks [at] (clstalks[at]ru[dot]nl)

CLS Talks are organised by Janine Berns, Sybrine Bultena, Kars Ligtenberg, Katharina Pabst & Laura Speed.

The most recent overview of upcoming CLS Talks can be found here:

Show CLS Talks


The Centre for Language Studies (CLS) is involved in language education and in the Research Masters Linguistics and Communication Sciences and Historical, Literary and Cultural Studies at the Faculty of Arts of Radboud University.


Networks facilitate research past the borders of our institute. Many researchers of CLS founded and collaborate in networks, of which an overview is presented below.