First Language Acquisition

Language is an extremely complex system, which is continuously subject to change. Despite this complexity and a vast amount of variation, children learn their mother tongue quickly and efficiently. The challenge is to discover how children learn the structure of language, what aspects of language they store language in their brain, and how this developmentally affects their use of language.

The research of the First Language Acquisition programme is on the acquisition of phonological representations in the lexicon, the role of these representations in perception and production, and their interaction with morphosyntax. Phonological representations mediate between the acoustic signal and meaning in speech perception and between meaning and the articulatory output in speech production. Thus, these representations lay the foundation for successful communication. Yet, the nature of phonological representations that are built up during language acquisition and the mechanisms behind that are far from clear.

Research projects

Kinderen in een klaslokaal onder begeleiding van een leraar

Stats and Structure

This project investigates how the nature of children’s peer language affects language acquisition for children with Developmental Language Disorder (DLD).

Child looking at pictures in children's book

The development of word production in young children: Monitoring of self and others

PerPLex is a project about the speech perception (how a child perceives speech) and speech production of lexical items (words) of toddlers.


Much of our research takes place in the Baby and Child Research Center and uses both behavioural and neurocognitive methods to investigate children’s knowledge of segmental and prosodic structure. This groups closely collaborates with the Language Development Department led by Caroline Rowland at the MPI.

The group participates in two interdisciplinary projects: Kletskoppen and BRC.


View all publications

Staff members

View all group members

Contact information


Erasmus building

Erasmusplein 1
6525HT Nijmegen
Postal address
Postbus 9103