10 February 2021

Award for "Predicting proficiency in bilingual children"

 I'm deeply honoured that this paper has been awarded the Albert Valdman award 2020 for outstanding publication in Studies in Second Language Acquisition.

De Cat, Cécile (2020). Predicting language proficiency in bilingual children. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 42(2): 279-325.  (doi:10.1017/S0272263119000597)

05 February 2021

Delphi consensus survey on how to document bilingual experience

 The Delphi consensus survey we carried out as part of the Q-BEx project is now available as a preprint: 

De Cat, C., Kašćelan, D., Prevost, P., Serratrice, L., Tuller, L., & Unsworth, S. (2021, February 5). Delphi consensus survey on how to document bilingual experience. Available from osf.io/ebh3c


  • We review 48 questionnaires quantifying bilingualism in children 
  • We report the frequency of documenting 32 constructs and 194 components across tools 
  • We reveal low comparability in several estimates (e.g., exposure and use)
  • We argue for greater transparency and comparability of bilingualism measures

01 February 2021

Brief survey on open science practices in linguistics

Between the 2nd and the 20th of February 2021, we're carrying out a brief (anonymous) survey of open science practices in linguistics.  The results will be posted here by the end of February.

To participate: https://forms.gle/vgL9zPkTNEMGxSy47

Please share the link widely. 

16 November 2020

Quantifying bilingual experience: the state of the art

As part of the Q-BEx project we have produced a review of the state-of-the-art in bilingual experience questionnaires.  It is now available as a preprint:

Kašćelan, D., Prevost, P., Serratrice, L., Tuller, L., Unsworth, S., & De Cat, C. (2020). A Review of questionnaires quantifying bilingual experience in children: Do we document the same constructs? Available from the OSF: 10.31219/osf.io/w4kef  

Highlights from the paper:

  • We review 48 questionnaires quantifying bilingualism in children
  • 32 constructs and 194 components across tools are identified. We report how frequently they are documented across questionnaires.
  • The review reveals low comparability in several estimates (e.g., exposure and use).
  • We argue for greater transparency and comparability of bilingualism measures

03 November 2020

Socio-economic status as a proxy for input quality in bilingual children?

This study investigates the effect of socio-economic status (SES) as a proxy for input quality, in predicting language proficiency. Different operationalizations of SES are compared, including simple measures (parental education and parental occupation) and complex measures combining two dimensions (among parental education, parental occupation, and deprivation risk). All significantly predict overall English proficiency scores in a diverse group of 5- to 7-year-olds acquiring English and another language. The most informative SES measure in that respect is shown to be a complex measure combining parental education and parental occupation. That measure is used in a second set of analyses showing that different aspects of language are affected differently by variations in SES and in language exposure.

Accepted for publication in the journal of Applied Psycholinguistics. 

Preprint available: https://osf.io/5y2wt  also available under First View at http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S014271642000079X 

30 September 2020

MultiLingual Minds and Factors Affecting MultiLingual Outcomes

This project will systematically investigate individual language experience factors and their role in shaping variation in linguistic development and outcomes in multilingualism. Individual language experiences differ considerably in multilinguals, leading to performance and ultimate attainment variation in almost all domains of grammar across all modalities of testing (e.g. de Houwer 2007; Luk & Bialystok 2013; Sorace 2004). Multilingual outcomes are also shaped by social and contextual factors (e.g. Anderson, Mak, Chahi & Bialystok 2017; Bialystok & Luk 2013; Marian, Blumenfeld & Kaushanskaya 2007; Serratrice & De Cat 2019).  We will characterize and quantify multilingualism as a cumulation and continuum of individual experiences and investigate how much correlations between linguistic outcomes and individual language experiences differ for each language of the multilingual speaker, across age groups, domains of grammar, and modalities of testing.  By employing a semi-longitudinal methodological design with participants from age 4 to 50+, we will investigate the development and fluidity of multilingual systems, language maintenance, reduction or loss/attrition of language knowledge as well as the correlation between individual language experiences over time and individual linguistic outcomes. By looking at different language populations (simultaneous and sequential multilinguals), we will be able to tease apart the role of changes in language experience in causing delay, reduction, or loss of linguistic knowledge (e.g. Ammerlaan 1996; Köpke, Schmid, Keijzer & Dostert 2007; Paradis 2007; Schmid 2002; Schmid & Dusseldorp 2010). 

The collaboration includes PIs Fatih Bayram and Yulia Rodina, and PDRA Aleks Tomic. It is one of the four strands of the AcqVA Aurora project at the UiT, the Arctic University of Norway. 

Assessing core language skills in pre-adolescents in the Born-in-Bradford cohort

Between October 2020 and September 2021, we will be piloting a battery of tests to evaluate the language abilities of Year 7 pupils in Bradford schools.  This project is carried out in collaboration with Lydia Gunning (PDRA) and Katerina Klepousniotou (Co-I).  It is funded by the Centre for Applied Education Research, via the Opportunity Area (Priority 4).