Research participants wanted: Dutch-English bilingual families living in Edinburgh

Researchers studying child language development in Edinburgh are looking for families raising their children in Dutch and English to participate in their new study.

Study background

We are a group of researchers at the University of Edinburgh and Radboud University in the Netherlands. We are conducting a joint research project on bilingual children growing up with English and Dutch. This project aims to understand how patterns of exposure influence language development in children with two languages in their environment.

Children growing up with two languages are usually stronger in one language than the other. This is called language dominance. This is perfectly normal and often a consequence of the circumstances under which the child has contact with the languages in question.

In this project, we’re interested in finding out how to measure language dominance, to what extent patterns of language dominance are indeed related to the circumstances under which children acquire their two languages, and, more generally, how much contact a child needs with two languages in order to learn them both successfully.

Participant requirements

We are looking for children who are aged between 2 years and 4 years 11 months old, hear Dutch from one or both parents/caregivers, and have normal hearing and no known language impairment.

What’s involved?

  • Two sessions at home or at the University of Edinburgh Developmental lab (7 George Square). One session will take place in English with an English-speaking researcher and one session will take place in Dutch with a Dutch-speaking researcher.
  • Children will participate in a number of language ‘games’ with a research assistant (approximately 30 mins).
  • We will also video-record a 30-minute interaction between the child and parent playing together.
  • The Dutch-speaking parent will have a brief chat with the research assistant about the child’s language background, exposure and use (between 20 and 30 minutes; this could be arranged on a separate occasion, if preferred).
  • All results will be kept anonymous and treated confidentially. Video recordings will only be accessible to project members.
  • The study has received ethical approval from the University of Edinburgh ethics committee.

How to participate?

For further information or to sign up, please email Dr Barbora Skarabela or call the researchers on 0131 6504020.

Thank you and we look forward to hearing from you soon!