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Multilingualism seminar

Diagnosing and addressing publication bias/The effect of input variability on vowel training

25 October 2018, 13:00 – 14:30

Room GR05, Faculty of English, University of Cambridge, 9 West Road, Cambridge, CB3 9DP

Diagnosing and addressing publication bias:  Does bilingualism cause general changes to cognition?

Tomas Folke

The replication crisis in the behavioural sciences has motivated many discussions about the robustness of published findings. In this talk I will present and justify a number of diagnostic criteria that can indicate whether most findings in a given research field are likely to be robust (I.e. likely to provide similar findings if a well-powered direct replication is attempted). These criteria will then be used to assess whether the current state of evidence supports that bilingualism cause general changes to the cognitive system. I will end by suggesting possible ways forward, including practical actions one can take to increase the likelihood that one’s research findings will be replicable. 


The effect of input variability on phonetic vowel training for Dutch children learning English

Gwen Brekelmans

High variability phonetic training (HVPT) with multiple speaker input (compared to low variability (LV) input with one speaker) has been used successfully to teach adults L2 speech contrasts. However, whether HV is beneficial over LV for children is not as clear. Results of a two-week phonetic training study will be presented in which two groups of Dutch learners of English, aged 7/8 and 11/12, were trained on four British English phoneme contrasts that are notoriously difficult for Dutch learners. Children received either HV or LV input in training. Effects of variability were investigated using a pre/post-test design in which children’s phoneme identification and discrimination abilities as well as their production were tested. 

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Speaker 1: Dr Tomas Folke, Research Fellow at the Centre for Business Research, Preceptor at Corpus Christi College, Judge Business School, University of Cambridge. Speaker 2: Gwen Brekelmans, Department of Language & Cognition, University College London,

13:00 - 14:30


Room GR05, Faculty of English, University of Cambridge, 9 West Road, Cambridge, CB3 9DP

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