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Marit Westergaard

I work in a vibrant linguistics community at UiT The Arctic University of Norway, where I am Director of the Center for Language, Brain & Learning (C-LaBL), which is funded by the Trond Mohn Foundation (2024-2029), as well as the AcqVA Aurora Centre (Acquisition, Variation & Attrition): The Dynamic Nature of Languages in the Mind, funded by UiT (2020-2024). Research in AcqVA/C-LaBL focuses on language acquisition and multilingualism.

I also hold an adjunct professorship at NTNU Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim. I am involved in several research projects and networks, e.g. ADIM Across-Domain Investigations in Multilingualism (funded by EEA Norway grants). My research interests include first, second/third and bilingual language acquisition, heritage languages and language attrition, as well as comparative syntax, both modern and diachronic. The focus of my research in these areas is on the syntax of word order as well as nominal structure, especially grammatical gender, definiteness, and word order in possessive constructions (see presentations and publications). I have also developed two theoretical models of language acquisition, the Micro-cue Model on L1 acquisition (e.g. Westergaard 2009, 2014) and the Linguistic Proximity Model of Ln acquisition (e.g. Westergaard et al 2017, Westergaard 2021). 

Here is a link to a talk on micovariation in multilingual acquisition, presented as part of the Invited Lecture Series in Bilingualism and Multilingualism, Institute for Advanced Studies, Adam Mickiewicz University, March 3, 2022.

C-LaBL  runs two labs, the AcqVA Lab and the PoLaR Lab. Most of our work is based on linguistic experiments with multilingual children and adults – e.g. production and comprehension experiments, eyetracking and EEG/ERP.

In cooperation with the international network Bilingualism Matters, we run the advice and information service Flere språk til flere for bilingual families and the general public, based on current research in the field.

Link to my ORCID profile here and my profile on ResearchGate here.

Here are some recent publications:

Mitrofanova, Natalia, Evelina Leivada & Marit Westergaard. 2023. Crosslinguistic influence in L3 acquisition: Evidence from artificial language learning. Linguistic Approaches to Bilingualism. Available herePostprint version here.

Jensen, Isabel N. & Marit Westergaard. 2022. Syntax matters: Exploring the effect of linguistic similarity in third language acquisition. Language Learning. Print version published 2023, Vol. 73(2): 374-402. OPEN ACCESS here.

Klassen, Rachel, Nadine Kolb, Holger Hopp & Marit Westergaard. 2022. The interaction between syntactic and lexical gender congruency in L1 Spanish-L2 German speakers. Applied Psycholinguistics. OPEN ACCESS here.

Kupisch, Tanja, Natalia Mitrofanova & Marit Westergaard. 2022. Sensitivity to cues for gender assignment in German: An experimental study of mono- and bilingual children. Experiments with real and nonce words. Glossa: a journal of general linguistics. OPEN ACCESS here.

Westergaard, Marit. 2021. L3 acquisition and crosslinguistic influence as co-activation. Response to commentaries on the keynote “Microvariation in multilingual situations: The importance of property-by-property acquisition.” Second Language Research. OPEN ACCESS here.

Mitrofanova, Natalia, Yulia Rodina, Olga Urek & Marit Westergaard. 2021. Sensitivity to microvariation in bilingual acquisition: morphophonological gender cues in Russian heritage language. Applied Psycholinguistics. OPEN ACCESS here.

Westergaard, Marit. 2021. Microvariation in Multilingual Situations: The Importance of Property-by-Property Acquisition. Keynote article in Second Language Research. Available here. Postprint available here.

Marie Curie Actions logo. CAS Oslo logo. eea grants logo. European Commission logo. Tromsø Forskningsstiftelse logo. The Research Council of Norway logo.

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