The Comparative Psycholinguistics of Multilingualism

Our goal is to understand how children and adults learn language and how our brain/mind represents and processes language.

We address the following research question: Which factors modulate the acquisition, representation and processing of knowledge of language in bi- and multilinguals?

We aim to elucidate how multiple languages interact in the multilingual mind to understand how people navigate different languages and linguistic repertoires in different contexts. Moreover, we study language use in real time in order to understand interactions between language learning and processing. We do research in the following areas:


In our department, we use different types of methods, combining qualitative and quantitative analyses. In our eye-tracking lab, we have a state-of-the art remote and portable eye-tracker. In eye-tracking, participants read sentences or look at pictures while listening to language. A camera records their eye-movements up to 500 times a second in order to measure how they understand language. We also have several reaction-time computers, on which we run experiments about real-time language comprehension and production (e.g. lexical decision, priming, self-paced reading, etc.). We also use questionnaires, on-line surveys and speech and language recordings to analyse language acquisition and processing. Our experimental work links up with corpus work, and we have a rich collection of language (learning) corpora on English and German.

Student Involvement

We place a great emphasis on students' participation in research. Our teaching is research-driven, and students get involved in research in the department, and they design their own research projects for their finals' theses.

English Linguistics in the TU context

As an Institute of Technology, the TU Braunschweig places its emphasis on technology and related disciplines such as engineering and natural sciences. The Faculty of Humanities and Educational Sciences integrates into the overall TU profile. In English Linguistics, our experimental research uses state-of-the-art technology and is based on quantitative and qualitative methods of empirical research. We use technical methods of data collection and statistical data analysis. We encourage and value exchange and dialogue across disciplines, as is also evident in our participation in the interdisciplinary Master's programme "Kultur der technisch-wissenschaftlichen Welt" (Culture of the Technological and Scientific World).

International Cooperations

The department and our team have collaborations with many partners in the US, the UK, the Netherlands and other countries. We are a member of the international PIRE network (, in which many international partners collaborate. We regularly host visiting (graduate) students from Pennsylvania State University (USA) and other places, and we can send our students to our international partner institutions.