Werkgroep Over Taal (WOT)

What is WOT?

WOT is a multilingual discussion and study platform for all linguists at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel and beyond. Here you can find an overview of some of our previous speakers and topics. 

If you wish to join one of our upcoming lectures or workshops, or you are interested in giving a talk on your topic, you are requested to contact the supervisors: Iris.Van.De.Voorde@vub.beEva.Marie.Koch@vub.be

Upcoming discussions

On Tuesday 4 June 2019, Graziela Dekeyser (KU Leuven) will give a presentation about her research entitled: "Lost in Translation? Emotional Confusion among Ethnolinguistic Minority Children: A Family Approach"


An increasing number of ethnolinguistic minority children in European cities grow up multilingual, learning a heritage language (HL) at home that differs from the institutional language of society at large (IL). This dual language acquisition can lead to differing language practices and preferences within the household (Alba et al. 2002). Such dissonances could result into divergent emotion languages between generations (Chen, Kennedy, and Zhou 2012) and possibly, higher levels of emotional confusion (i.e. difficulties in distinguishing emotions) among children since language and emotional intelligence are related. One example is the finding that the depth of emotion vocabulary that children possess is linked to their ability to recognize and distinguish  their own emotions and those of others (Beck et al. 2012). 

Here, we explore how dissonance in language use between parents and children, independent of children’s and parents’ language abilities, attitudes and language management tools (e.g. brokering), affects emotional confusion among ethnolinguistic minority children living in Antwerp, Belgium (N = 528). Antwerp provides an excellent site for the study since a large share of the population speaks a non-native language at home (in 2016: 44% of the primary school children).

Preliminary analyses suggest that dissonance in language use with mothers increases children’s emotional confusion, while dissonance in language use with fathers decreases it. Also, brokering is positively associated with emotional confusion, as is father’s IL proficiency and the importance that parents place on learning the HL. Conversely, the better the child is in the IL and the more value parents attach to the learning of the IL, the less emotional confusion children report. Our results suggest parents’ use and support of the IL impacts children’s emotional well-being. It’s important to understand the causes of emotional confusion better because it is associated with higher risks on problem behavior and decreased mental well-being. 


Alba, Richard, John Logan, Amy Lutz, and Brian Stults. 2002. "Only English by the Third Generation?  Loss and Preservation of the Mother Tongue Among the Grandchildren of Contemporary Immigrants."  Demography 39 (3): 467-84. doi: https://doi.org/10.1353/dem.2002.0023.

Beck, Luna, Irina R Kumschick, Michael Eid, and Gisela Klann-Delius. 2012. "Relationship between language competence and emotional competence in middle childhood."  Emotion 12 (3): 503-14. doi: 10.1037/a0026320.

Chen, Stephen H, Morgan Kennedy, and Qing Zhou. 2012. "Parents' Expression and Discussion of Emotion in the Multilingual Family: Does Language Matter?"  Perspect Psychol Sci 7 (4): 365-83. doi: 10.1177/1745691612447307.


Please contact Iris.Van.De.Voorde@vub.be and Eva.Marie.Koch@vub.be for more information.

Previous WOT discussions


Miss Ily Hollebeke & Miss Rachida Aghallaj


KU Leuven

Promoting early multilingualism in childhood and childcare: Family language policy and parents’ perspectives on communication with professionals


Mr. Francisco Miguel Valada

Vrije Universiteit Brussel

The effects of instruction on the acquisition of phonological distinctions in a second language: the case of Portuguese


Mr. Nathan Vandeweerd

Miss Rachel Rubin 

VUB/ UCLouvain Lexicogrammatical complexity in Learner Language
30/11/2018 Mr. Víctor Pérez Béjar  Universidad de Sevilla Suspended clauses in Spanish
30/11/2018 Mr. Serge Bibauw  KU Leuven Dialogue-based CALL: a multilevel meta-analysis
16/11/2018 Mr. Peng Bi   Syntactic Complexity Development for Chinese EFL Learners: Insights from an Annotated Learner Corpus
04/09/2018 Miss Jinling Li  University of Tilburg

Chineseness as a Moving Target: Changing infrastructures of the Chinese Diaspora in the Netherlands




Miss Kathy MinHye Kim Michigan State University

Sleep-dependent consolidation of second language grammar knowledge: The pre-sleep awareness status matters

22/06/2018 Miss Clara Ureña Tormo Universidad de Alcalá Teaching Spanish idioms from a Cognitive Linguistics perspective


Dr. Nanna Hilton

University of Groningen (The Netherlands)

Stimmen: A Citizen Science Approach to LVC


Miss Isa Hendrikx

Université Catholique de Louvain

Intensifying constructions in French-speaking L2 learners of Dutch or English: Longitudinal results


Miss Vanessa De Wilde 

Universiteit Gent

Uncovering covert knowledge of English in children


Miss Iris Van de Voorde

Vrije Universiteit Brussel

Introduction to PhD project “Pluricentricity in language history. Building blocks for an integrated history of Dutch (1550-1850)”


Miss Geòrgia Pujadas Jorba

University of Barcelona

Focus and non-focus L2 learning through subtitles and captions


Mr. Toivo Glatz

University of Groningen (The Netherlands)

Game-based literacy training in Dutch


Dr. Memet Aktürk-Drake

Vrije Universiteit Brussel

When divergent state ideologies converge on mother-tongue instruction in immigrant languages: The case of Turkish in Western Europe


Dr. Hanneke Loerts

University of Groningen (The Netherlands)

The awful Dutch gender system: ERPs reveal difficulties in gender processing in native and bilingual Dutch speakers


Prof. Dr. Niels Schiller 

Leiden University (The Netherlands)

Morphological Processing in Language Production


Joint lecture: Miss Carmen Pascual & Miss Marina González Sanz 

Universitat de València (CP) & Universidad de Sevilla (MGS)

The Impact of CLIL in a Multilingual Context: the Valencian Region (CP) & Influence of gender and role on interruptions in the Political Talk Show (MGS)


Miss Eva Koch

Vrije Universiteit Brussel

Incidental second language morphosyntactic learning in conversation: The acquisition of stem allomorphy in German strong verbs by adult native speakers of Dutch


Prof. Bertha Gregoria Salvador Jiménez

Universidad Central "Marta Abreu" de Las Villas, Cuba

Presentation on the phonological system of Spanish and some procedures for its acquisition