Javascript must be enabled for the correct page display

prof. dr. M.S. (Monika) Schmid

prof. dr. M.S. Schmid
+31 50 363 2063


Main focus of research:

First language attrition and bilingual development in migrants across the lifespan


Main goals:

●Developing a theoretically and methodologically coherent framework for research on L1 attrition (VENI-project)

International networking (organizing conferences (2002, 2005), establishing a network within NWO's programme for the Internationalisation of the Humanities (2008))

Making L1 attrition studies visible in the context of research on bilingual development (organising panels/symposia at conferences such as ISB (2007 & 2009), EuroSLA (2007), AILA (2008))

●Providing support for young scientists engaged in L1 attrition research (establishing the Graduate Network on L1 attrition with a regular newsletter and 5 meetings since 2003) 


I see one of the chief tasks and responsibilities at this stage of my career to provide support to young scientists and train the next generation of researchers. I am currently supervising 3 PhD students (2 funded within NWO's Open Competition (since 2007) and one funded by the RUG as part of my Rosalind Franklin Fellowship (since 2008)).


VICI-project  The age effect in bilingual development: grammatical gender in second language acquisition and first language attrition (2010 - 2015)

Summary (for the full project description click here):

For the 125-year anniversary edition of Science a 'survey of scientific ignorance' was compiled, consisting of 125 questions as a research agenda for the next 25 years. Among these is the question why children are better at language learning than adults: while all normally developing children reach fully native speaker proficiency, foreign language learners hardly ever do. 

Researchers disagree as to whether this age effect is due to language-specific neurobiological and maturational processes or to more general factors linked to cognitive development and the competition of two language systems in the bilingual mind. As both scenarios predict non-native like behavior of second language (L2) learners, it has to date been impossible to conclusively establish which of them actually obtains. 

I propose that new insights can be provided by including first language (L1) attriters in the comparison: migrants who are using their L2 dominantly, and whose L1 is consequently deteriorating. These speakers acquired their L1 without maturational constraints, but they experience the same impact of bilingualism and competition between languages as L2 learners do. They therefore provide a source of data that is non-native for reasons which are known. 

If attaining native speaker proficiency is maturationally constrained, processing strategies should remain native-like in an L1 which has become non-dominant. If the persistent problems of L2 learners are due to issues such as lack of exposure and competition between languages, attriters should become more similar to foreign-language learners than to natives. 

This project will compare processing and production of grammatical gender in Dutch and German as L2 (Polish and Turkish learners) and as L1 (attriters in an English-speaking setting), and investigate the differential impact of age of acquisition/attrition among these groups. Grammatical processing will be assessed by means of neuroimaging techniques (ERPs) and eyetracking, production data will be based on free speech.





International activities

Collaboration and networking:

●Organization of a series of international conferences and graduate workshops on L1 attrition (2 conferences and 5 workshops since 2002)

●Establishing a network of researchers within the field of L1 attrition

Co-supervision (with Prof. Carmen Pérez Vidal) of a joint PhD between Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona. The candidate has been spending a total of 8 months in Groningen since the beginning of 2008.




●Initiation and coordination of an NWO-funded research network "Interdisciplinary perspectives on multilingual development" ( Internationalisation of the Humanities, since 2008)








Fieldwork and research exchanges:





Fieldwork and visiting scholar, University of British Columbia, Vancouver (2004, 2 months), funded by NWO (VENI)




Research collaboration with Dr. Kristy Beers Fägersten (University of Stockholm/Högskolan Dalarna) on hesitation markers in L1 attrition, funded by KNAW-DJA (2007, 1 month in Stockholm, manuscript of resulting article submitted)





Research collaboration with Dr. Adina Levine (Bar Ilan University, Israel) (since 2006, Dr. Levine has visited The Netherlands 3 times in order to collaborate with me on her research project)







Panels and round tables at international conferences:





●Initiating, organising and chairing a panel on L1 attrition at ISB6 (Hamburg, 2007) with Dr. Larisa Leisiö (Univ. Tampere, Finland)





●Organising and chairing the Language Learning Round Table on L1 attrition at EuroSLA 2007 (Newcastle) (by invitation)





Panel on L1 attrition at the AILA World Congress (Essen, 2008) with Esther de Leeuw, MA (Queen Margaret College, Edinburgh)





Panel on L1 attrition at ISB7 (Utrecht, 2009) with Conny Opitz, MA (Trinity College, Dublin)




Panel on Grammatical gender and bilingual development at ISB7 (Utrecht, 2009)







Other academic activities





●Editorship of 2 collected volumes on L1 attrition (2004 and 2007)




Keynote lecture at EuroSLA 2008 (Aix-en-Provence)




Keynote lecture at International Symposium on Theoretical and Applied Linguistics (ISTAL) 2009 (Thessaloniki)




Editorship of a Special Issue of Bilingualism: Language and Cognition (2010)




Editorship of a Special Issue of Second Language Research (2010) with Elise Dusseldorp (Leiden University)




International Journal of Bilingualism : member of the Editorial Board (since 2007)




EuroSLA 2009 : member of the scientific committee




reviewer for International Review of Applied Linguistics , Second Language Research, Language Learning and Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development, John Benjamins Publishing Co., Cambridge University Press and Routledge. I have acted as reviewer of grant proposals for the NSF the British Council and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.








Last modified:November 06, 2012 01:48