Members

There are five ERBIS members: Annick De Houwer, Lena De Mol, Henrike Frye, Agnes Groba and Theresia Piszczan.

Annick De Houwer

Last update: March 30, 2011 adh

Annick De Houwer (PhD, Free University of Brussels in 1988) is Professor of Language Acquisition and Language Teaching at the University of Erfurt in Germany and is Director of the Language Center there. Prior to this she taught at the University of Antwerp, Belgium, where she led the research unit on Language, Media and Socialization. Dr. De Houwer currently is Director of the newly founded European Research Network for Bilingual Studies, ERBIS. She is Collaborative Investigator at the Eunice Shriver Kennedy National Institute of Child Health & Human Development in the USA, where she works together with Dr. Marc Bornstein at the Child and Family Research unit.

Dr. De Houwer has held several positions with the International Association for the Study of Child Language (IASCL) and the International Association of Applied Linguistics (AILA). She has been a Visiting Scholar at, amongst others, Carnegie Mellon University, The University of Virginia, and Harvard University . She has given guest lectures and conference presentations all over the globe. In June 2011, she was be a keynote speaker at the International Symposium on Bilingualism (ISB8) in Oslo.

Dr. De Houwer first started to study early bilingual acquisition in 1979 and has been investigating the subject from many different angles ever since. She wrote a doctoral dissertation on the subject (later published in a shorter form by Cambridge University Press) and published the first textbook on how children acquire two languages from birth in 2009 with Multilingual Matters). She also published a book for a wider audience with the same publisher. Dr. De Houwer has also published on several other subjects, such as the position of English in Europe, Dutch child language, teen language, and intralingual subtitling. She leads a multilingual life, raised her daughter with two languages from birth, and is the grandmother of a cute trilingual baby girl.

For Dr. De Houwer's full CV and list of publications, please click here.

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Lena De Mol

Last update: August 4, 2011 ldm

Lena De Mol is a doctoral student at the University of Erfurt with the Chair for Language Acquisition and Language Teaching. Supported by a stipend for doctoral studies (Landesgraduiertenstipendium Thüringen) and under the guidance of her advisor Professor Annick De Houwer, Lena De Mol's research focuses on early bilingualism, more specifically on the speech of children who acquire two or more languages from birth or a second or third language very early on, as well as on the input children receive while learning an early second language. She also teaches seminars for Bachelor students in Anglistics and Linguistics at the university. Aside from writing on her PhD and teaching, Lena works as a research assistant with the university. Among other activities, she tutors introductory courses into Linguistics and does bibliographical work for Professor De Houwer. Lena also designed the ERBIS website and is the current ERBIS webmaster.

Since February 2011, Lena De Mol has regularly spent time in Erfurt's bilingual kindergarten “Ringelblume”, where she works as an English language expert with children aged 4 to 6. This is possible thanks to the collaboration that exists between the Chair for Language Acquisition and Language Teaching at the University of Erfurt and AWO Thüringen (more specifically the Ringelblume Kindertagesstätte).

Previous to her studies in Erfurt, Lena De Mol studied English, Dutch and later Swedish at Ghent University, where she graduated with a Master's in Germanic linguistics & literature in 2007 and with a Postgraduate degree in Scandivian studies in 2008. She then spent two years in a graduate program in Linguistics at the University at Buffalo, the State University of New York (UB). The first of her two years abroad was funded by a fellowship through the Belgian-American Educational Foundation (B.A.E.F.), more specifically through the Francqui Foundation. Lena De Mol is particularly grateful to the B.A.E.F. for this opportunity, which ultimately led to her coming to Erfurt: it was at UB that Lena De Mol got to know Professor Wolfgang Wölck and through him her PhD advisor Professor De Houwer. Lena De Mol is also grateful to the University at Buffalo Linguistics Department for awarding her with a teaching assistantship in the Fall semester of 2009, which enabled her to stay in the graduate program and obtain a Master's degree in Linguistics from UB in the summer of 2010.

Soon, Lena De Mol will raise her first child bilingually.

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Henrike Frye

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Agnes Groba

Last update: August 06, 2011 ag

After graduating from the University of Potsdam with a Diploma in Speech Pathology in March 2009, Agnes Groba worked as a speech therapist with the University Hospital in Leipzig for a year. She was employed in the day-hospital for cognitive neurology, which collaborates with the Max-Planck Institute for Cognitive and Neurosciences in Leipzig.

Ms. Groba is currently a PhD student with the Chair for Language Acquisition and Language Teaching at the University of Erfurt. Her doctoral funding comes from the federal state of Thuringia (she holds a “Landesgraduiertenstipendium Thüringen”). Dr. De Houwer is Ms. Groba's advisor. Ms. Groba's doctoral project concerns bilingual language acquisition, more specifically, the way young bilingual children understand adjectives. The connection with the Max Planck Institute for Cognitive and Neurosciences continues, since as part of her doctoral work, a collaboration has been set up with PD Dr. Hellmut Obrig and Dr. Sonja Rossi at the MPI.

Aside from her doctoral studies, Agnes Groba works as a freelance speech therapist with a speech therapy practice in Leipzig. She is also a freelance instructor for the project “Language and Integration” (Frühe Chancen - Sprache und Integration).

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Theresia Piszczan

Last update: August 06, 2011 tp

After graduating from the Polytechnic German Telecom AG School in Leipzig (now known as the Polytechnic School for Telecommunication) and from the Dublin Institute of Technology, Theresia Piszczan obtained a Bachelor's degree in Linguistics and the Psychology of Learning, Teaching and Training from the University of Erfurt. Later, she graduated from the same university with a Master's degree in Linguistics.

All throughout her Bachelor and Master studies, Ms. Piszczan worked as a student research assistant with the Chair for General and Comparative Linguistics (Dr. Christian Lehmann) and the Chair for Contemporary German Language Studies (Dr. Angelika Feine). Since October 2009, Ms. Piszczan has been working as a research assistant with the Chair for Language Acquisition and Language Teaching at the University of Erfurt. She is a doctoral student with the chair, advises and supports future English teachers as they do their practical training in primary schools, and teaches seminars for Bachelor students of Anglistics and Linguistics.

Ms. Piszczan became interested in early bilingualism when she took an MA course on Multilingualism with Dr. Karlfried Knapp. She wrote her Master's thesis on “Communication between bilingually reared siblings” under the supervision of Dr. Knapp and Dr. De Houwer. Under Dr. De Houwer's supervision, Ms. Piszczan's doctoral project aims to investigate the role of phonological and graphemic factors in children's second language acquisition.

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