Using and Acquiring Multiple Languages
Course infoSchedule
Course moduleSOW-DGCN19
Credits (ECTS)6
Language of instructionEnglish
Offered byRadboud University; Faculty of Social Sciences; Cognitive Neuroscience;
prof. dr. A.F.J. Dijkstra
Other course modules lecturer
prof. dr. A.F.J. Dijkstra
Other course modules lecturer
Contactperson for the course
prof. dr. A.F.J. Dijkstra
Other course modules lecturer
prof. dr. J.M. McQueen
Other course modules lecturer
Academic year2017
SEM1  (04/09/2017 to 04/02/2018)
Starting block
Course mode
Registration using OSIRISYes
Course open to students from other facultiesNo
Waiting listNo
Placement procedure-
After completion of the course, students should be able to discuss recent psychological, neuroscientific, and linguistic developments in the domain of multilingualism. They should also understand the rationale underlying recent studies in terms of their methodological, theoretical, and modelling aspects. Finally, the course will train skills of critical reflection on the literature by requiring essay questions and an in-depth oral presentation with respect to one specific research theme.
In the first part of the course, neuroscientific and (psycho)linguistic approaches to multilingualism are considered to characterize how multilinguals read, listen, speak, and learn foreign languages. Processes and representations are described at sublexical (phonemic and syllabic), lexical, syntactic, semantic, and dialogue levels. The focus of the course lies on a still-unresolved but central question: Since languages sometimes help each other and sometimes fight each other during processing, what determines the balancing act between the various languages in the multilingual mind? An in-depth understanding of this issue requires a consideration of the types of stimulus materials and research techniques in use, the effects of age of acquisition, and the available bilingual models of language (non)selective access and executive control. Complex issues like word translation and foreign-accented speech are informative here as well.
The second part of the course deepens the student's knowledge of multilingualism and second language acquisition with respect to a chosen theme or application by means of one or more relevant articles. The gist of what the student has read and understood is presented to fellow students and incorporated in a written report that is made available to others (and limited in size).
Additional comments
COURSE: November 1, 2017 – January 12, 2018; Wednesday and Friday 13.45-15.30
LOCATION: t.b.a.

Test information
TYPE OF EXAM: take home exam
NOTE: enrollment for a course automatically registers you for its exam. If you don't want to do the first exam you have to deregister for the exam in OSIRIS, but do not forget to sign up for the retake in OSIRIS.via STUDENT PORTAL until 5 working days before the start of the course.
This course is for CNS students only. Non-CNS students can contact Ellen Janssen ( or Arno Koning (

Contact information
Prof. dr. A. Dijkstra

Required materials
Course material
Lecture notes and relevant chapters from books on bilingualism and recent research articles on (neuro)cognitive aspects of bilingualism.
Reader containing relevant chapters from books on bilingualism and recent research articles on (neuro)cognitive aspects of bilingualism.

Recommended materials
Kroll, J.F., & De Groot, A.M.B. (2004). Handbook of Bilingualism: Psycholinguistic Approaches Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Dijkstra, A. & Van Heuven, W.J.B. (2002). The architecture of the bilingual word recognition system: From identification to decision. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 5, 175-197.
Birdsong, D. (2006). Age and second language acquisition and processing: A selective overview.Language Learning, 56 (s1), 9-49.
Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 5, 175-197.

Instructional modes
Attendance MandatoryYes

Lectures by teachers

Attendance MandatoryYes

15-minute oral presentations by students on selected topics in bilingualism

take home exam
Test weight1
OpportunitiesBlock SEM1, Block SEM2