Dr E.A. Ormel (Ellen)

Assistant professor - Centre for Language Studies
Assistant professor - Department of Language and Communication

Dr E.A. Ormel (Ellen)
Visiting address

Erasmusplein 1

Postal address

Postbus 9103

Working days Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday

My main line of research consists of language processing in bilinguals, in particular deaf and hearing bimodal bilinguals of a signed and a spoken language. I examine the impact of modality on human language processing. I have a keen interest in bimodal cross-language interactions, in the interaction between language use and non-linguistic aspects of human cognition, in phonology and iconicity processing in proficient and less proficient signers, and in bimodal bilingual (deaf) education.

I have a mixed background in Special Education, Psychology and Linguistics. My PhD concerned visual word recognition in deaf children who participated in bilingual deaf education programs. One of my studies demonstrated that deaf children are affected by their sign knowledge while they read, partly due to the link between form and meaning of sign components. In another study, I found that adult bimodal bilinguals seem to use their languages interactively, similar to bilingual deaf children. Also interpreters in international sign settings appear to make use of iconicity to emphasize their message. In my NWO Veni project “Handy connection between signing and speaking”, I investigated the link between language use and non-linguistic cognitive abilities in deaf and hearing bimodal bilingual children. I demonstrated that bimodal bilingual children develop various specific cognitive skills particularly well, resulting from their language use.

In our sign language team we are in the process of developing an extensive sign database in Sign Language of The Netherlands (“NGT SignBank”), a sign language assessment tool for second language users of NGT (“Sentence Repetition Test NGT”) and an informative website for parents of deaf children (“doofgewoon.nl”). In future studies, I would like to investigate how iconic links play a role during (bilingual) language processing. I would also like to be contribute to primary education for deaf children.

Research theme Research group


Research grants and prizes



Ancillary activities