A strategic partnership for the study of Portuguese in multilingual settings

Month: January 2022

PhD scholarship: Natural Language Processing and SLA

We are delighted to announce the a three-year PhD position, co-supervised by Professor Amália Mendes (University of Lisbon), Professor Detmar Meurers (University of Tübingen), and Professor Patrick Rebuschat (Lancaster University). It would be great if you could circulate the announcement within your networks.

PhD scholarship: Natural Language Processing and Second Language Acquisition

Applications are invited for a three-year PhD position in Natural Language Processing applied to foreign language learning and teaching at the Linguistics Center of the University of Lisbon (CLUL).

The deadline for applications is February 28, 2022. For additional information, including salary and application details, please visit:


The aim of the PhD project is to research, develop and evaluate a digital tool supporting the acquisition of Portuguese as a Foreign or Heritage language. The work can build on the existing ICALL approaches developed at the University of Tübingen for English and German (http://icall-research.de). The goal is to support learners in selecting texts that support noticing of key target structures and provide practice opportunities. The computational linguistic analysis can build on recent findings about linguistic structures that are acquired late by heritage speakers of Portuguese and include an empirical validation in the context of the network maintained by the Camões Institute across the globe.

The PhD project will be co-supervised by Professor Amália Mendes (University of Lisbon), Professor Detmar Meurers (University of Tübingen), and Professor Patrick Rebuschat (Lancaster University). The successful applicant will be integrated in the Heritage Language Consortium (HL2C), a strategic partnership between six European universities and the Camões Institute, a branch of the Portuguese Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Further details on the HL2C can be found on our website:


For questions, email us at:
Amália Mendes amaliamendes@letras.ulisboa.pt
Detmar Meurers detmar.meuers@uni-tuebingen.de
Patrick Rebuschat p.rebuschat@lancaster.ac.uk

HL2C Seminar: Shanley Allen (Kaiserslautern), Cross-linguistic influence in heritage language speakers?

We are pleased to announce that another HL2C seminar will take place on Thursday 27th January from 3pm to 4pm GMT (Dublin, Edinburgh, Lisbon, London).


Shanley Allen (Kaiserslautern)


Information structure in the majority English of heritage speakers: Cross-linguistic influence and other patterns

How to join:

Our seminars are free to attend. Simply sign up to the HL2C Mailing List to receive the link to join us via Microsoft Teams link. You do not need a Teams account to access the talk.


Most linguistic research on heritage speakers to date has focused on their heritage language (Benmamoun et al. 2013; Kupisch 2013; Montrul 2016). In contrast, much less is known about patterns in their majority language, especially for adolescents and adults. In majority English, for example, only a few studies have been published to date, all focused on semantic structures (Lee et al. 2011; Montrul & Ionin 2010; Scontras et al. 2017).

To address this gap, we undertook a large-scale project investigating noncanonical patterns in majority English as produced by adolescent and adult heritage speakers of German, Greek, Russian and Turkish as well as English monolinguals in the USA – part of the Research Unit on Emerging Grammars in Language Contact Situations (RUEG). The 276 participants in our study all recounted a short video of a (fictitious) car accident, in each of four registers (informal spoken, informal written, formal spoken, formal written). Narratives were all transcribed and annotated in Exmaralda. We then explored several patterns related to information structure, particularly in the domains of referential expression and syntactic construction. Consistent with RUEG’s overarching approach, we assessed the impact of register, age, and language contact.

In this talk, I will present the results of our work to date on concept lexicalization, clause types, subordination, and left dislocations. While some results show cross-linguistic influence from the heritage language to majority English, others show a general pattern across all groups of heritage speakers regardless of language background. Our results contribute to the understanding of the contact-linguistic status of non-canonical patterns in the majority English of heritage speakers, the sources of their development, and their position within speakers’ broader repertoires of languages and registers.

HL2C/SLLAT Seminar: Joe Kakitani (Lancaster), Effects of distributed practice on L2 speech fluency development

Our next HL2C seminar will take place on Wednesday 26th January from 12 noon to 1pm GMT (Dublin, Edinburgh, Lisbon, London). This talk is a joint initiative with Lancaster’s SLLAT Research Group.


Joe Kakitani (Lancaster)


Effects of distributed practice on L2 speech fluency development

How to join:

Our seminars are free to attend. Simply sign up to the HL2C Mailing List to receive the link to join us via Microsoft Teams link. You do not need a Teams account to access the talk.


There has been a surge of interest in L2 research investigating how practice schedule can influence various aspects of L2 learning such as grammar, vocabulary, and pronunciation (e.g., Kasprowicz, Marsden, & Sephton, 2019; Rogers & Cheung, 2018, 2020; Li & DeKeyser, 2019). Recent L2 distributed practice research has focused on oral fluency development—a dimension of L2 performance which hinges highly on L2 procedural knowledge (Kormos, 2006). Manipulating the timing of task repetitions has shown to affect the fluency of the repeated performance (Bui, Ahmadian, & Hunter, 2019), and the effects of practice schedule have been found to transfer to a performance on a novel task (Suzuki & Hanzawa, 2021). Research in cognitive psychology suggests that an ideal distribution of repeated practice rests on the ratio of the interval between practice sessions (i.e., the intersession interval; ISI) and the time gap between the final practice session and the time of testing (i.e., the retention interval; RI). However, no research to date has examined the effects of distributed practice on L2 oral fluency development by systematically manipulating the ISI–RI ratio. An investigation of specified ISI–RI ratios is necessary to gain a better understanding of distributed practice effects on L2 fluency development, and how the research findings from cognitive psychology can be applied to a rather complex skill of L2 speaking. The current study, thus, aimed to fill the research gap by examining the effects of distributed practice using the ISI–RI ratios of 10–30%, an optimal range suggested by cognitive psychology research (Rohrer & Pashler, 2007). To this end, 116 Japanese university students participated in an online experimental study. The participants were randomly assigned to one of four groups, which consisted of two experimental groups (a short-spaced group [1-day ISI] and a long-spaced group [7-day ISI]) and two control groups. The experimental groups engaged in four narrative-task practice sessions which were identical in terms of content and procedure, with the only difference lying in the distribution of the practice sessions (1 day vs. 7 days apart). The control groups, by contrast, only took the three tests (pretest, posttest, delayed posttest) which followed the same schedule as each corresponding experimental group. A total of 348 speech datasets were analyzed in terms of speed fluency (e.g., articulation rate), breakdown fluency (e.g., frequency and duration of mid-clause and clause-final pauses), and repair fluency (e.g., repetition). Linear mixed-effects modeling showed the advantage of the long-spaced practice over short-spaced practice in terms of breakdown fluency (e.g., mean length of mid-clause pauses) on the delayed posttest, demonstrating greater retention of enhanced fluency performance. The present findings contribute to the existing body of L2 research by yielding insights on how distributed practice may benefit the long-term development of L2 oral fluency.

Bui, G., Ahmadian, M. J., & Hunter, A.-M. (2019). Spacing effects on repeated L2 task performance. System, 81, 1–13. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.system.2018.12.006

Kasprowicz, R. E., Marsden, E., & Sephton, N. (2019). Investigating distribution of practice effects for the learning of foreign language verb morphology in the young learner classroom. The Modern Language Journal. https://doi.org/10.1111/modl.12586

Kormos, J. (2006). Speech production and second language acquisition. New York: Routledge.

Li, M., & DeKeyser, R. (2019). Distribution of Practice Effects in the Acquisition and Retention of L2 Mandarin Tonal Word Production. https://doi.org/10.1111/modl.12580

Rogers, J., & Cheung, A. (2018). Input spacing and the learning of L2 vocabulary in a classroom context. Language Teaching Research, 1–26. https://doi.org/10.1177/1362168818805251

Rogers, J., & Cheung, A. (2020). Does it matter when you review?: Input spacing, ecological validity, and the learning of L2 vocabulary. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 1–19. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0272263120000236

Rohrer, D., & Pashler, H. (2007). Increasing retention without increasing study time. Psychological Science, 16(4), 183–186. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-8721.2007.00500.x

Suzuki, Y., & Hanzawa, K. (2021). Massed task repetition is a double-edged sword for fluency development: An ESL classroom study. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 1(1), 1–26. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0272263121000358

Call for papers : Linguística. Revista de Estudos Linguísticos da Universidade do Porto.

Linguística: Revista de Estudos Linguísticos da Universidade do Porto has recently published a call for submissions.

Linguística is a publication of the Linguistics Centre of the University of Porto (CLUP) and of the Faculty of Arts and Humanities of the University of Porto, one of the founding institutions of HL2C.

About the journal:

The journal welcomes original papers in the field of Linguistics, and in other areas dealing with natural languages. Both fundamental and applied research perspectives will be considered for publication. The journal publishes research papers, research notes, critical reviews, news, and discussions, among others. The texts can be written in Portuguese, English, French, Spanish and Italian; papers written in other languages may also be accepted.

Please visit the journal website for more information.

  • Instructions for authors are available on this page.
  • Information on the editorial process, including the peer review process, is available here.
  • Published texts are freely accessible at the journal’s Digital Library.

Submission information:

The anonymized manuscript and any associated materials must be sent (in pdf or word format) to linguistica@letras.up.pt
Deadline for volume 17:  31/03/2022.

Apelo a publicação para LinguísticaRevista de Estudos Linguísticos da Universidade do Porto (uma publicação da Faculdade de Letras e do Centro de Linguística da Universidade do Porto).
A Revista publica anualmente trabalhos inéditos na área da Linguística. Serão igualmente considerados para publicação trabalhos provenientes de outras áreas desde que se debrucem sobre a linguagem e as línguas naturais, quer na perspetiva da investigação fundamental, quer na da investigação aplicada. Os trabalhos publicados podem revestir a forma de artigos, notas de investigação, recensões críticas, notícias e discussões, entre outros. São aceites para publicação trabalhos redigidos em português, inglês, francês, espanhol e italiano; eventualmente poderão ser aceites trabalhos redigidos noutras línguas.
Entrega dos textos: Os textos devem ser enviados em suporte informático anonimizado (documento word ou pdf) para linguistica@letras.up.pt. Para o volume 17, de 2022, os textos devem ser enviados até 31/3/2022.