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Research

FNR Award 2013

In our group we study questions such as:

  • How does a child’s environment influence his language and cognitive development?
  • How can a “specific learning disorder” be detected in a multilingual child?
  • What are the optimal conditions for becoming perfectly multilingual?
  • How do children learn to read in a second language and how can this be made easier?
  • Why do language-minority children struggle in the Luxembourgish educational system and what can we do to best support their learning?
  • What are the effects of multilingualism on brain development?

 

Below is a list of some of our ongoing projects. If you find a study that interests you please do not hesitate to contact us.

 
 
 
 
Preschool Oral Language Intervention for Language-Minority Children

Preschool Oral Language Intervention for Language-Minority Children

 
Study description: The aim is to develop and evaluate the effectiveness of a mother-tongue based preschool language intervention program on the language and literacy outcomes for language-minority children growing up in Luxembourg using a randomised controlled study design. The program will run for 30 weeks in preschool across Year 1 (C1.1) and Year 2 (C1.2) and will mainly focus on developing children’s vocabulary knowledge as well as their narrative, listening and phonological skills. Further information on this study
 
Contact: C. NikaedoP. Engel de Abreu 
Funding: FNR (CORE), 910K, 
Grant #C13/SC/5886294, POLILux 
Participants: 4- to 5-year-old Portuguese-speaking children living in Luxembourg
 
 
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The Effects of Multilingualism and Socioeconomic Status on Children’s Cognitive Development

The Effects of Multilingualism and Socioeconomic Status on Children’s Cognitive Development

 
Study description: Executive functions - the set of cognitive processes that underpin our ability to control our thoughts, actions and emotions - are crucial for educational progress and success in later life. The major aim of this project is to advance the understanding of the extrinsic factors that can have an impact on children’s executive function development. The study is multinational involving Universities from Brazil (USP, UNIFESP), Germany (Universität des Saarlandes) and Portugal (University of Minho). Further information on this study
 
Contact: P. Engel de Abreu,R. Martin 
Funding: FNR (CORE), 474K,
Grant #CO09/LM/07, DEVPOLux 
Participants: 6- to 8-year-old children from Brazil, Luxembourg, Portugal and Germany
 
 
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Early Literacy Instruction in a Multilingual Setting

Early Literacy Instruction in a Multilingual Setting

 
Study description: This project plans to foster the development of pre-literacy skills in young children in order to build a strong foundation for their subsequent reading development. We are developing a theoretically motivated language and pre-literacy program for children in Luxembourg. The program will systematically build up children’s phonological awareness, letter-sound knowledge and broader oral language skills. It will be in Luxembourgish and will be multisensory.
 
Contact: P. Engel de Abreu
Participants: 5- to 6-year-old children living in Luxembourg
 
 
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Language Development in Exceptional Circumstances: A Longitudinal Study of Children with SLI

Language Development in Exceptional Circumstances: A Longitudinal Study of Children with SLI

 
Study description: Specific language impairment (SLI) is a clinical condition that is diagnosed when a child fails to acquire language normally, despite apparently typical development in other areas. The diagnosis of SLI in multilingual speakers is difficult because there is often a confusion between language “disorders” and “disadvantages”. The aim of this research is to identify markers for the early identification of SLI in multilingual children. We are exploring the hypothesis that tests of executive functions might distinguish typical from impaired language development in the context of multilingualism.
 
Contact: P. Engel de Abreu
Participants: 5- to 6-year-old multilingual children with SLI
 
 
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The Development of Culture-Fair Assessment Tools for Testing Language and Cognition in Children

The Development of Culture-Fair Assessment Tools for Testing Language and Cognition in Children

 
Study description: There is a need for unbiased tools for assessing language and cognition in multilingual children. The aim of this project is to develop phonological processing, lexical processing, working memory and general cognitive ability tasks that are not influenced by the cultural and linguistic elements that come with diverse populations.
 
Contact: P. Engel de Abreu, R. Martin, C. Hornung 
Participants: 3- to 12-year-old children
 
 
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