A strategic partnership for the study of Portuguese in multilingual settings

Author: Sophie Bennett (Page 1 of 2)

HL2C Seminar: 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: 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 : Special issue, Diacrítica

Revista Diacrítica has recently published a call for papers for a special issue on “Teaching, learning and acquisition of foreign languages – interconnections”.  Diacrítica is a multidisciplinary journal, edited by the Center for Humanistic Studies of the University of Minho (CEHUM), one of the HL2C founding institutions. For questions about the special issue, please email the editors below or visit the journal website.

Submission deadline: February 28, 2022

Online submission: Please follow the link

About the volume:

Editors: Jorge Pinto (CLUL), Lili Cavalheiro (CEAUL), Maria del Carmen Fondo (FLUL), Ana Cea (CEHUM)

Teaching, learning and acquisition of foreign languages – interconnections   

The purpose of this thematic volume is to present recent studies that explore relevant issues related to the acquisition, learning, and teaching of foreign languages in different contexts, highlighting the heterogeneity and complexity that characterize them. Regardless of the different target languages on which research is carried out, in many cases their outcomes and implications may be transferred to the teaching and learning of other languages.

As the fields of acquisition and teaching and learning intersect, this volume aims to gather papers that do not exclusively focus on acquisition theories, but also address aspects of linguistics applied to the teaching and learning of foreign languages.

Finally, considering that the foreign language learning/teaching landscape has greatly changed in the last few decades, we expect works that reflect this, especially concerning multilingual contexts of classrooms. For example, the role of previously acquired languages, teachers’ attitudes towards multilingual approaches, and the advantages of a pedagogy which promotes the students’ interlinguistic development (e.g., translanguaging) versus monolingual bias.

In short, this thematic volume adopts a broad approach on the concepts of foreign language acquisition, teaching and learning, namely: 1) how foreign languages may be more easily learned and acquired, 2) which difficulties may arise when learning a foreign language, and 3) how foreign language learning has changed in view of our increasing multilingual society.

Considering the specific focus of this volume, articles related to sign language (e.g., LIBRAS, LGP) will not be considered for submission.



Título do volume: Ensino/aprendizagem e aquisição de línguas estrangeiras – interconexões  

Prazo de submissão: 28 de fevereiro de 2022

Submissão online em:http://diacritica.ilch.uminho.pt/index.php/dia/about/submissions

Apresentação do volume:

Este volume temático pretende reunir estudos atuais que explorem questões relevantes relacionadas com a aquisição, aprendizagem e ensino de línguas estrangeiras em diversos contextos, salientando a heterogeneidade e a complexidade que as caracterizam. Entende-se que, independentemente das diferentes línguas-alvo sobre as quais os estudos são realizados, os resultados obtidos e as suas implicações, em muitas situações, podem ser aplicados ao ensino e aprendizagem de outras línguas.

Como as áreas da aquisição e do ensino e aprendizagem se cruzam, pretende-se congregar trabalhos que não se concentram exclusivamente em teorias de aquisição, mas que abordem também aspetos da linguística aplicada ao ensino e aprendizagem de línguas estrangeiras.

Por fim, considerando que o panorama do ensino e aprendizagem de línguas estrangeiras mudou muito nas últimas décadas, esperam-se trabalhos em que isto se reflita, sobretudo considerando os contextos multilingues das salas de aula. Por exemplo, o papel das línguas previamente adquiridas, as atitudes dos professores em relação às abordagens plurilingues e os benefícios de uma pedagogia que promova o desenvolvimento interlinguístico (e.g. translanguaging) dos alunos versus o preconceito monolingue.

Em suma, este volume temático visa adotar uma abordagem ampla sobre os conceitos de aquisição, ensino e aprendizagem de uma língua estrangeira, a saber: 1) como as línguas estrangeiras podem ser mais eficazmente aprendidas e adquiridas, 2) quais as dificuldades que podem surgir na aprendizagem de uma língua estrangeira e 3) como a aprendizagem de línguas estrangeiras mudou, considerando a nossa sociedade multilingue em crescimento.

Tendo em conta o foco específico do volume, não serão considerados artigos para submissão relacionados com a linguagem gestual (e.g. LIBRAS, LGP).



Jorge Pinto (CLUL)

Lili Cavalheiro (CEAUL)

Maria del Carmen Fondo (FLUL)

Ana Cea (CEHUM)

Children’s literature festival celebrated in Berlin: “Os Dias do Conto”

On Friday, November 5, 2021, the 32nd “Os dias do Conto” children’s literature festival was celebrated as part of the Berliner Märchentage at the premises of the Camões Institute, Centro Cultural Português, in Berlin.

The Berliner Märchentage is one of the largest children’s literature festivals in the world, celebrating traditional fairy tales, legends, myths and fables. The theme of this year’s festival was “The Purple Flower”.

The Portuguese Embassy in Berlin, together with the Portuguese Education Department in Germany, organised the presentation and reading of a Portugese short story, “Beatriz e o Plátano”, by Ilse Losa. The story was translated into German by Isabel Remer and edited in a bilingual version by Oxalá, with illustrations by Lisa Couwenbergh. Carla Gago and Patrícia Santos, teaching staff from the Elizabeth-Shaw Grundschule school in Berlin, read the story to a class of 24 pupils aged between 7 and 8, in the presence of translator Niki Graça.

The event aimed to promote Portuguese literature, to raise awareness of multilingualism and diversity in Europe and to encourage children to learn the Portuguese language.

For additional information, please visit the Coordenação Ensino Português Alemanha Facebook page or see the original news source.

British Council award for Lancaster team’s comics app to support language learners

A Lancaster University-led project team have won a highly prestigious British Council ELTons Innovation Award  for work on an imaginative comics app to help dyslexic and non-dyslexic learners learn a second language.

The project was also given a Judges’ Commendation for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion.

The CIELL App project was led by Dr Julie-Ann Sime from Lancaster’s Department of Educational Research and also included Professor Judit Kormos, Professor of Second Language Acquisition at Lancaster and HL2C Scientific Advisory Board member, as well as colleagues from Germany, Greece and Cyprus. The project was co-funded by ERASMUS+ Programme of the European Union.

This very important award in the world of English language teaching is given in recognition of their international project “Comics for Inclusive English Language Learning” (CIELL) which aims to develop the competences of second language learners by promoting the use of comic art and other visual representations. The project also aims to enhance the quality of language teaching materials used for teaching writing in a second language by supporting the needs of dyslexic learners in a socially inclusive manner.

The CIELL App offers an inclusive, gamified approach to learning how to plan an essay at intermediate and advanced levels of English language proficiency. The award recognises that the app is designed to support students, with and without dyslexia, and offers an inclusive, gamified approach to learning how to plan an essay.

Dyslexia is a specific learning difference characterized by difficulties with word decoding, spelling, handwriting, reading, memory and attention span which affects around 10% of the population.

Many congratulations to all those involved in this important project!

For additional information, please visit the the CIEL app website, the original news source (Lancaster University website), or contact Dr Julie-Ann Sime.

Enrolment opens for free Armenian language and culture courses

avc website banner eng 1

Earlier this academic year, the University of Lisbon, one of the HL2C founding institutions, established a new cooperation agreement with the Armenian Virtual College, Yerevan State University, and the Portugal-Armenia Friendship Association.

As a result, we are pleased to announce an exciting opportunity for those interested in learning a new language. The Armenian Virtual College (AGBU) invites anyone interested in Armenian language and culture to enrol in various free online courses, from 3rd until 19th December 2021. The language courses start from 10th January until 15th March 2022 and provide the opportunity for students to enrich their knowledge  of Eastern Armenian, Western Armenian, the history of Armenia,  Armenian architecture, Armenian music and chess. More information about the courses can be found here.

The courses stem from a set of initiatives laid out in the cooperation agreement; they aim to strengthen the links between the various educational institutions and to promote Armenian language ​​and culture in Portugal and Portuguese language and culture in Armenia.

For more information, please visit the original news source (University of Lisbon).



Science Awards: Congratulations to Ana Lúcia Santos

Congratulations to Professor Ana Lúcia Santos for winning the University of Lisbon – Caixa Geral de Depósitos Science Award 2020 in the Language Sciences category. Ana Lúcia is a specialist in language acquisition research and a member of HL2C Steering Committee.

The awards recognise scientific excellence across a wide range of fields and serve to promote dissemination of cutting-edge research in international academic journals.

Nominations for the 2021 edition of this prestigious award have recently been opened. Nominations will close on 15th December at 17:00 (Lisbon time). Further information about the award can be found on the University of Lisbon’s website.

Scientific Awards University of Lisbon/Caixa Geral de Depósitos | Applications open until December 15

HL2C Seminar: New insights into the role of statistical learning abilities in second language learning

Our next HL2C seminar will take place on Wednesday 15th December from 12 noon to 1pm GMT (Dublin, Edinburgh, Lisbon, London). This talk is a joint initiative with Lancaster’s SLLAT Research Group.


Elma Kerz (Aachen)


New insights into the role of statistical learning abilities in second language learning

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.


One of the major advances in the language sciences across theoretical orientations has been in recognizing that natural languages consist of complex, variable patterns occurring in sequence, and as such can be described in terms of statistical regularities or distributional properties among language units (Christiansen & Chater, 2016; Gibson, 2019). Learning a language thus heavily depends on figuring out these complex structured patterns inherent in the input and there is a growing recognition that such accumulated statistical knowledge constitutes an essential part of our language knowledge (Rebuschat, 2013; Ellis, 2019). This is supported by extensive empirical evidence from the literature on statistical learning (henceforth SL). SL is succinctly defined as a powerful mechanism for perceiving and assimilating the range of regularities in the input, thereby shaping fundamental aspects of human cognition and behavior (Armstrong et al., 2017; Sherman et al., 2020).

A number of previous studies based on within-subject designs have examined the relationship between individual differences in SL ability and variations in language learning and processing, in both child and adult populations and in adult second-language learner populations. The main assumption underlying these studies is that individuals can be divided into ‘good’ and ‘bad’ statistical learners, with the expectation that ‘good’ statistical learners will show better performance across a wide range of language domains and population groups, such as early language acquisition (Lany et al., 2018), word predictability (Kaufman et al. 2010), reading (Arciuli, 2018), processing of complex syntactic structures in children and adults (Kidd & Arciuli, 2017; Misyak & Christiansen, 2012) and online processing of multiword combinations in second-language learners (Kerz & Wiechmann, 2019). However, this assumption has recently been challenged and there is now increasing recognition of the need to consider a broader ecological perspective on the diversity of statistics that must be accommodated and the challenges associated with the theoretical construct of good statistical learners (Bogaerts et al., 2021).

In this talk, I will present my recent studies aimed at addressing this ecological perspective and advancing our understanding of the role of SL in language learning and processing. I will show how this line of research can benefit from synthesizing experimental studies based on within-subject designs with natural language processing and computational techniques (see Rebuschat et al. (2017) for background reading).

1 References

1. Armstrong, B. C., Frost, R., Christiansen, M. H. (2017). The long road of statistical learning research: Past, present and future.. Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. 2017;372(1711):20160047.

2. Arciuli, J. (2018). Reading as statistical learning. Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, 49(3S), 634-643.

3. Bogaerts, L., Siegelman, N., Christiansen, M. H., & Frost, R. (2021). Is there such a thing as a ‘good statistical learner’?. Trends in Cognitive Sciences.

4. Christiansen, M. H., & Chater, N. (2016). Creating language: Integrating evolution, acquisition, and processing. MIT Press.

5. Ellis, N. C. (2019). Essentials of a theory of language cognition. The Modern Language Journal, 103, 39-60.

6. Gibson, E., Futrell, R., Piandadosi, S. T., Dautriche, I., Mahowald, K., Bergen, L., & Levy, R. (2019). How efficiency shapes human language. Trends in Cognitive Sciences. 5. 389-407.

7. Kaufman, S. B., DeYoung, C. G., Gray, J. R., Jim´enez, L., Brown, J., & Mackintosh, N. (2010). Implicit learning as an ability. Cognition, 116(3), 321-340.

8. Kerz, E., & Wiechmann, D. (2019). Effects of statistical learning ability on the second language processing of multiword sequences. In International Conference on Computational and CorpusBased Phraseology (pp. 200-214). Springer, Cham.

9. Kidd, E., & Arciuli, J. (2016). Individual differences in statistical learning predict children’s comprehension of syntax. Child Development, 87(1), 184-193.

10. Lany, J., Shoaib, A., Thompson, A., & Estes, K. G. (2018). Infant statistical-learning ability is related to real-time language processing. Journal of child language, 45(2), 368-391.

11. Misyak, J. B., & Christiansen, M. H. (2012). Statistical learning and language: An individual differences study. Language Learning, 62(1), 302-331.

12. Rebuschat P (2013) Statistical learning. In: Robinson P (ed.) The Routledge encyclopedia of second language acquisition. London: Routledge, pp. 612–15.

13. Rebuschat, P. E., Detmar, M., & McEnery, T. (2017). Language learning research at the intersection of experimental, computational and corpus-based approaches. Language Learning, 67(S1), 6-13.

14. Sherman, B. E., Graves, K. N., & Turk-Browne, N. B. (2020). The prevalence and importance of statistical learning in human cognition and behavior. Current opinion in behavioral sciences, 32, 15-20.

Porto series of public lectures

The University of Porto is hosting a series of two public lectures as part of their Master’s Degree in Portuguese as a Second Language/Foreign Language, with the support of CLUP. The lectures focus on Portuguese and its relationship with other languages in CPLP countries. For more information, please contact Professor Isabel Margarida Duarte.

Session 1:

Date: 28th September

Presenter: Professor Karin Noemi Rühle Indart (National University of East Timor)

Title: A Oficialização da Língua Portuguesa em Timor-Leste e os Desafios de Implementação da Política Linguística no Sistema de Educação

Click on this link for more information

Session 2:

Date: 16th November

Presenter: Professor Liliana Inverno (University of Coimbra)

Title: Contacto linguístico e restruturação da gramática da língua portuguesa em Angola.

PhD Defense: Aníbal José Ribeiro Serra, University of Evora

On Friday, 12th November, 2021, Aníbal José Ribeiro defended her PhD thesis in Linguistics  at the University of Evora.


O Português, língua de herança nos Estados Unidos: O caso de Hudson, Massachusetts


Thesis Directors:

Maria Filomena Gonçalves

Joseph Abraham Levi


Members of the PhD committee:

Isabel Margarida de Oliveira Duarte (University of Porto)

Manuel Célio Conceição (University of Algarve)


« Older posts