For a number of years, the language acquisition research group at UiT The Arctic University of Norway has worked on monolingual language acquisition, focusing on linguistic phenomena where there is variation in the input, e.g. word order variation expressing fine distinctions in syntax and information structure. In recent years, there has been an increased focus on variation in a bilingual/multilingual perspective, i.e. bilingual acquisition (2L1), second and third language acquisition (L2 and L3), as well as heritage languages (e.g. Norwegian in the USA or Russian in Norway). Recent and current research projects in the LAVA group study language combinations such as Norwegian-English, Norwegian-Russian, Norwegian-North Sami, Russian-German, Ukrainian-English, Latvian-Russian, Spanish-English-Portuguese, as well as English as an L3 (in combination with Norwegian and a Slavic language). There is also increasing interest in investigations of two closely related varieties, e.g. Brazilian-European Portuguese, Norwegian-Swedish, Spanish-Catalan, or two Norwegian dialects.
The work of the LAVA group has a theoretical foundation and the focus is on the mental grammars of various populations of speakers. The object of study is syntactic microvariation and the importance of factors such as complexity, frequency or economy in the acquisition process and in heritage language situations. The research methodology includes both corpora of spontaneous production as well as different types of experimental work (production experiments, eyetracking).
The LAVA research group is funded by the Faculty of Humanities, Social Sciences and Education 2015-2018. In 2016 we established the joint UiT/NTNU research group AcqVA (Acquisition, Variation & Attrition) with our close colleagues at NTNU Norwegian University of Science and Technology.