A strategic partnership for the study of Portuguese in multilingual settings

Tag: Lancaster (Page 1 of 2)

HL2C YouTube Channel now online!

HL2C YouTube Channel now online

It is a pleasure to announce that the HL2C YouTube Channel is now up and running. We are using this channel to share video content of activities involving the Consortium and its constituent partner institutions.

You can access our channel by clicking this link.

We grateful to the speakers of our HL2C Seminar Series for their stimulating talks and for agreeing to share the recordings with the wider heritage language and second language community. Thank you also to Luiz Amaral, who suggested the creation of this channel, and to Sophie Bennett for editing the videos and co-managing the channel.

We hope you enjoy the YouTube Channel!


Congratulations to HL2C Vice Director Cristina Flores: Habilitation (agregação)

Congratulations to HL2C Vice Director Professor Cristina Flores for successfully concluding her Portuguese Habilitation (agregação) examination earlier this week. The Habilitation is the highest university degree in European countries such as Germany and Portugal, requiring excellence in research, teaching, and academic leadership.

The public examination took place on February 21 and 22, with a panel consisting of Professor Isabel Ermida (Chair, Minho), Professor Anabela Gonçalves (Lisbon), Professor Georg Kaiser (Konstanz), Professor Jürgen Meisel (Hamburg), Professor Patrick Rebuschat (Lancaster University), and Professor Augusto Soares da Silva (Católica). The panel commended Cristina for her outstanding track-record in research, teaching and service and approved the candidate unanimously.


Standing, from left to right: Professor Anabela Gonçalves (Lisbon), Professor Cristina Flores (Minho), Professor Isabel Ermida (Minho), and Professor Augusto Soares da Silva (Católica). Participating via Zoom, on screen, from left to right: Professor Patrick Rebuschat (Lancaster University), Professor Jürgen Meisel (Hamburg), and Professor Georg Kaiser (Konstanz).

Call for papers: Lancaster Postgraduate Student Conference

The 16th annual Lancaster Linguistics and English Language Postgraduate Conference will be held on June 27, 2022. The theme is “New Perspectives in Linguistics: Innovation and Dynamics.” The conference is a great opportunity for postgraduate students (pursuing an MA or a PhD) to present their work to their peers in a supportive and inclusive space. For enquiries please email Maya Dewhurst, m.dewhurst1@lancaster.ac.uk,

Conference website

MA and PhD students are invited to submit abstracts on linguistic research, in particular those that have used innovative methods. The following panels have been proposed and you may address your abstract to any one of these. If your abstract does not fit one, please submit it anyway; we are happy to consider abstracts on topics not listed below.

• Cognitive-Functional Linguistics and Typology
• Corpus and Computational Linguistics
• Discourse Studies
• Phonetics and Phonology
• Pragmatics and Literacy Studies
• TESOL and Language Pedagogy

Abstract submission deadline: Monday 11th April 2022: Link For Submission

Word limit for submissions: 300 words exl. references

Talks should be 20 minutes long, with 5 minutes allocated for Q&A (25 minute total time) in a PowerPoint format.

When submitting an abstract, you may choose to apply for a poster presentation or a longer talk. Upon acceptance, more information regarding poster dimensions and format will be provided.

Proposal Format

Abstracts should be submitted through the designated form. All submissions should include a title and a full abstract. Please note the following word limits for submissions:

Title: 20 Words
Abstract: 300 Words

Evaluation of Proposals

Upon receipt by the organising committee, all submitted abstracts will be stripped of identifying markers (name, university, etc.) and sent to a team of peer reviewers. When reviewing abstracts, the team will take into account the following:

  • Suitability to conference theme
  • Theoretical relevance
  • Research design
  • Direction of analysis/conclusions
  • Structure and clarity

Sample Submission

Title: Writing practices across the lifespan: the transition from school to university

Abstract: Educational transitions have been described as significant life events involving self-redefinitions, the acquisition of new social roles and identities and decisions about future and education (Ecclestone, Biesta & Hughes, 2010).  However, little is known about the role of writing in these transitional experiences, especially for marginalized groups in educational settings. Similarly, the development of writing abilities across contexts and throughout the lifespan has been scarcely explored (Bazerman, 2020; Bazerman, 2013; Naftzinger, 2020). By relying on a New literacy Studies perspective (Barton & Hamilton, 2012; Barton 2007; Gee, 2000; Papen, 2005) this study seeks to understand how students’ writing practices change and evolve during the transition from school to university and across different settings in everyday life. Such an understanding could help to promote well-informed policies to support students’ writing development across educational stages, specifically for groups traditionally excluded from higher education (Lillis, 2001). Based on a longitudinal design, this study follows a group of students from low-income backgrounds in Chile from their last year of school to their first year at university. During this transitional period, students will be asked to: 1) participate in “talking around text” interviews (Baker, 2018; Ivanic, 1998; Lillis, 2001), 2) submit a sample of writing pieces, and 3) complete a writing log. All these data will be analysed by using both a scheme code (Gaisler & Swarts, 2019) according to research questions and a constant comparison method to obtained emergent categories (Charmaz, 2013). In this presentation, initial results of this study will be introduced. With these findings, I hope to contribute to a better understanding of how students from less privileged backgrounds face a diverse range of writing practices as well as identify which meanings they attribute to them in the context of their daily lives and life projects.

Further Guidance

For further guidance on writing abstracts, Shungo Suzuki from LAEL at Lancaster University has kindly shared his experiences and advice here:

Shungo Suzuki

Publication Guidelines

Speakers will also be invited to submit their papers for publication in Papers from the Lancaster Linguistics and English Language Postgraduate Conference. This is a peer-reviewed, open-access online publication featuring full papers from the annual Lancaster Linguistics and English Language Postgraduate Conference. For previous years’ publications please visit the Papers from LAEL PG.

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/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

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.

Launch of the British National Corpus 2014

Many congratulations to our colleagues at Lancaster’s Centre for Corpus Approaches to Social Science (CASS), one of the HL2C founding institutes, for the official launch of the British National Corpus 2014.

The British National Corpus 2014 (BNC2014, website) is a large collection of samples of contemporary British English language use, gathered from a range of real-life contexts. The BNC2014 contains millions of words of spoken and written English and is an exciting new resource for research and teaching on contemporary British English.

The BNC2014 is being gathered by Lancaster University and Cambridge University Press. It is the successor to the original British National Corpus, which was gathered in the early 1990s. By comparing the two corpora, researchers will be able to shed light on how British English may have changed over the last two decades. The BNC2014 is now available together with its predecessor the BNC1994 via #LancBox X.

The written BNC was official launched on November 19, 2021. Please see below for a short summary on the launch event. For more information on the BNC2014, please the CASS website or contact Dr Vaclav Brezina.

Celebrating the Written BNC2014: Lancaster Castle event

On 19 November 2021, The ESRC Centre for Corpus Approaches to Social Science (CASS) organised an event to celebrate the launch of the Written British National Corpus 2014 (BNC2024). The event was live-streamed from a very special location: the medieval Lancaster Castle.  There were about 20 participants on the site and more than 1,200 participants joined the event online.  Dr Vaclav Brezina started the event and welcomed the participants from over 30 different countries. After the official welcome by Professor Elena Semino and Professor Paul Connolly, a series of invited talks were delivered by prominent speakers from the UK and abroad. The talks covered topics such as corpus development, corpora in the classroom, corpora and fiction and the historical development of English.

Please visit the CASS website for more information on the event, including slides.

Faculty positions at Lancaster University

Job opportunity at Lancaster University (Deadline for applications: 13 December 2021 – please share widely) 

Lancaster University (Psychology Department) is currently advertising two positions at Senior Lecturer/Reader level (US equivalent: Associate Professor). The search area is broad, including infancy and early development, using both behavioural and neuroscience approaches.

We have fantastic, shared research facilities for infant development in our Babylab, which covers the entire ground floor of our dedicated research building (see http://wp.lancs.ac.uk/babylab/), with several Tobii eye trackers, 4 EGI EEG systems, fNIRS, head mounted eye tracking, motion capture, BioPac, and an observation room, plus excellent technical support. Our dedicated administrator maintains an extensive database of contacts, and there is free parking for visiting parents outside the lab. We are organizing one of the largest infancy conferences in Europe every year (Lancaster International Conference on Infant and Early Child Development – LCICD, http://wp.lancs.ac.uk/lcicd/ ).

 Current research interests in the group comprise early language, social and cognitive development in typically and atypically (ASD) developing infants and children. Please see our research pages for more details: https://www.lancaster.ac.uk/psychology/research/

Lancaster University is consistently ranked in the top 10 in the main UK league tables, and Lancaster has a high quality of life with beautiful surrounding countryside, good schools, and excellent transport links (London, Edinburgh, Glasgow 2.5h, Manchester airport 1.5h, all by direct train).

If you have any questions, you can email me (g.westermann@lancaster.ac.uk) or the Head of Department, Kate Cain (psychology.hod@lancaster.ac.uk). Full details are here: https://hr-jobs.lancs.ac.uk/Vacancy.aspx?ref=A3553

Webinar: Raising a Bilingual Child Today

On Wednesday 6th October, 2021, the challenges and opportunities surrounding language learning and bilingual development were discussed by a panel of leading experts. These included Paul Dunne, Headmaster of St. John Bosco College in Battersea; Patrick Rebuschat, Professor of linguistics and cognitive science at Lancaster University and Director of the Heritage Language 2 Consortium; Federica Piedimonte, Teacher of Italian language and culture teacher; and Agnieszka Derleta,  Head of Polish/English as an Additional Language (EAL) Department at St Thomas More in Bedford.

Both the presentations and audience’s contributions  were very insightful and the webinar offered some very exciting leads to further discussions.

The event was a joint initiative of St. John Bosco College, the Embassy of the Republic of Poland, the Camões Instiute, and the Italian General Consulate in London.

Please see the YouTube link below to watch the webinar in full.



HL2C Seminar: Aida Cardoso (Lisbon), Acquisition of infinitival constructions in L2 Portuguese

Our next HL2C seminar will take place on Wednesday, November 17 from 12pm to 1pm GMT (Dublin, Edinburgh, Lisbon, London). This talk is a joint initiative with Lancaster’s SLLAT Research Group.


Aida Cardoso (Lisbon)


Acquisition of infinitival constructions in L2 Portuguese by Spanish native speakers: A Feature Reassembly approach

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.


This talk discusses the acquisition of the Prepositional Infinitival Construction (PIC) as a complement of perception verbs by Spanish learners of European Portuguese (EP).

In Romance languages, the PIC (1) and the Gerund Construction (GC) (2) tend to occur in complementary distribution (Casalicchio, 2019). This is the case in EP and Spanish: Only the PIC is available (in the standard variety) in EP, whereas only the GC is available in Spanish. What is more, both languages make available other infinitival constructions that can also occur as complements of perception verbs (e.g., ECM).


O professor viu-os a ler a gramática.

the teacher saw-CL.ACC to.ASP read.INF the grammar

“The teacher saw them reading the grammar.”


O professor viu-os a lerem a gramática.

the teacher saw-CL.ACC to.ASP read.INF.3PL the grammar

“The teacher saw them reading the grammar.”


Vi a Juan conduciendo una furgoneta blanca.

saw.1SG A Juan driving.GER a van white

“I saw Juan driving a white van.”

[Rafel 1999: 202 (44a)]

Crucially, the PIC and the GC share semantic and syntactic properties (both being analysed as small clauses): They both have a progressive aspectual value, and they are traditionally analysed as small clauses (Raposo, 1989; Rafel, 2000; Barbosa & Cochofel, 2005; Casalicchio, 2019). However, the progressive aspectual value has different morphological counterparts in both languages. In Spanish, it corresponds to a Gerund verb form and in EP to an aspectual head (the preposition a, ‘to’) plus an inflected or uninflected infinitival verb form (Duarte, 1992).

Following the Feature Reassembly Hypothesis (Lardiere, 2008, 2009), we predict that Spanish learners will have difficulties reassembling the aspectual features of the GC into the ones of the PIC due to difficulties identifying the contrasts in the respective morphological counterparts. Furthermore, we hypothesise that Spanish learners will perform better considering the PIC with uninflected infinitive than with inflected infinitive since Spanish does not make available complements with inflected infinitives, and consequently, the acquisition of such structures entails a feature addition task (namely, ɸ-features).

Three experimental tasks were designed in order to collect complementary data on the acquisition of the PIC: an acceptability judgment task (AJT), a sentence completion task (SCT) and a forced choice task (FCT). For each task, we tested a control group of monolingual EP speakers and three groups of adult Spanish learners of EP (formal instruction context) with distinct levels of proficiency: initial, intermediate, and advanced. In the AJT, we compared the acceptability rates of PIC with inflected and uninflected infinitive; in the SCT, the preference rates of the inflected and uninflected infinitive PIC with another infinitival complement only available in EP: the Inflected Infinitive structure; and, in the FCT, the preference rates of the inflected infinitive PIC with a non-standard structure (Accusative subject plus inflected infinitive) with similarities to the Exceptional Case Marking (ECM), a structure available in both languages.

The data from the three tasks show that Spanish learners struggle with PIC even in advanced levels of proficiency. Overall, we found statistically significant differences between the control group and all test groups (p<.05), indicating a lower acceptance rate of PIC by the latter. The AJT and the SCT show that Spanish learners prefer PIC with uninflected infinitives.

Furthermore, the FCT shows that all L2 groups tend to reject PIC with inflected infinitive in favour of the non-standard structure closer to ECM (a complement structure available both in the L1 and the L2). Additionally, in the corrections provided in the AJT, Spanish learners do not replace PIC by GC, but mainly by instances of ECM. We hypothesise that this difficulty in acquiring the PIC may result from a difficulty in reassembling the relevant features and from an L1 pre- emption effect (Iverson & Rothman, 2014): Spanish learners may unconsciously deem the properties of the ECM structure of their L1 as sufficient to account for the EP input.


Barbosa, P. & F. Cochofel (2005). A construção de infinitivo preposicionado em PE. In I. Duarte & I. Leiria (orgs.), Actas do XX Encontro Nacional da Associação Portuguesa de Linguística. Lisboa: APL/Edições Colibri, 387-400.

Casalicchio, J. (2019). Gerunds become prepositional infinitives in Romance Small Clauses: the effects of later Merge to the syntactic spine. Probus 31 (1), 75-117.

Duarte, I. (1992). Complementos Infinitivos Preposicionados e Outras Construções Temporalmente Defectivas em Português Europeu. In Actas do VIII ENAPL. Lisboa: Colibri.

Iverson, M. & Rothman, J. (2014). Object drop in L2 Spanish, (complex) feature reassembly and L1 pre-emption. In: Judy, T. & Perpiñán, S. (eds.) The Acquisition of Spanish anish in Understudied Language Pairings. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins.

Lardiere, D. (2008). Feature-Assembly in Second Language Acquisition. In J. Liceras, H. Zobl & H. Goodluck (eds.), The role of formal features in second language acquisition. New York: Lawrence Erlbaum.

Lardiere, D. (2009). Some thoughts on the contrastive analysis of features in second language acquisition. Second Language Research 25(2), 173-227.

Rafel, J. (1999). Complex Small Clauses. PhD Dissertation. UAB.

Raposo, E. P. (1989). Prepositional infinitival constructions in European Portuguese. In O. Jaegli & K.J. Safir (eds.), The Null Subject Parameter. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers.

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