C-LaBL (TMS funded)

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Center for Language, Brain & Learning (C-LaBL)

Project leader: Marit Westergaard
Host institute: Department of Language and Culture, Faculty of Humanities, Social Sciences and Education
Grant from TMS UiT-initiative: 34 MNOK
Period: 2024 – 2029
Link to project page at TMS

The Center for Language, Brain and Learning (C-LaBL) will provide a step-change in our understanding of how
multiple languages interact in the mind/brain, develop innovative longitudinal methodologies to study multilingualism,
and train the next generation of scholars and research leaders in this increasingly important field. By
fostering collaborative research across linguistic theories, neuroscience, and language acquisition/processing, we
will focus on the effects of multilingualism – for the languages involved, for the brains that house them, and for
the learning and teaching of multiple languages. C-LaBL is divided into three domains of study (Language, Brain,
and Learning) that will be linked by a cross-cutting research theme focusing on Linguistic Distance. Thus, the core
work of C-LaBL will investigate the interaction of multiple grammars in the multilingual mind/brain, with a main
focus on the significance of linguistic distance (similarities/differences between languages) for development,
crosslinguistic influence, neurocognitive adaptations in the brain as a result of multilingual experience, as well as
instructed additional language learning. Work at the center will be theoretically motivated and use a variety of
research methods, including offline behavioral experiments, eye-tracking, electroencephalography (EEG), and
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI). The research will be of practical relevance to current societal challenges
related to education and health. The C-LaBL Mentorship Program will provide a comprehensive training scheme
to a number of postdoctoral fellows, ensuring that future leaders in the field of multilingualism have a solid
background that crosscuts all three domains. With a novel and cross-fertilizing approach to multilingualism, a
highly qualified leadership team, a talented group of scholars across a spectrum of seniority, and a strong
international network, C-LaBL will become a world-leading research community in our field.