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ESRC (2013-16)

Infant Bilingual Lexicon
Infant Bilingual Lexicon

Infant Bilingualism

Bilingualism is a gift for life, but the road to it is not always simple. It is important to remember that a bilingual is not the sum of two monolinguals. Compared to monolinguals, bilingual toddlers are generally slower in developing the two languages they are exposed to.  But how much slower is normal? And at what point should we be concerned and consider a referral? This is exactly the question we have been asking for the last few years, and we obtained an important grant last year from the UK Economics & Social Research Council (ESRC) to tackle this issue together with 5 other universities in the UK (Plymouth, Bangor, Birmingham, Kent and Liverpool). The idea is to get a snapshot of the vocabulary development of a typical 2-year-old bilingual child, and to look at various factors which we know to have some impact on language development (e.g., amount of exposure to each language, number of siblings, etc.). Once we have collected enough data (around 250 bilingual children), we will be able to produce norms that will help identify the children in need of a language intervention. If you have a child approaching the age of 2 years whom you raised bilingually, please contact us!

We are currently recruiting within Oxfordshire for the following studies:

A. Eye-tracking Studies

The eye-tracking studies will take place at the Oxford Babylab on South Parks Road in Oxford. The visit will include the eye-tracking study (~10-15 minutes) and play time. Your child will sit on your lap, look at pictures on a TV screen and hear words in one or two languages. Your child's eye-movements will be recorded by a special camera underneath the TV. 

Study 1

  • 27-months old bilingual and trilingual babies who are learning English, and at least one of Cantonese/Dutch/French/Italian/Mandarin/Polish/Portuguese/Spanish/German.

 Study 2

  • 27-months old bilingual and trilingual babies who are learning English, and any other language(s).

 To participate, please get in touch at 01865271384 or


B. Online Survey Study

  • 24-months old bilingual and trilingual babies who are learning English, and any other language(s). This study will involve filling in four short surveys regarding your child's vocabulary development in two or more languages.

 To participate, please sign up on the UK Bilingual Toddler Website:

 For more information, please contact us: or 01865 271 384.