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Babylab Utrecht

Babylab Nieuws

Bilingual babies wanted for new study

The Babylab is looking for young participants for a new study investigating the effect of bilingualism on the identification of Dutch vowels. In Dutch, it is important for speakers to know the difference between the two vowel sounds ie and i. If you change the sound, you can change the meaning of the word. For example, riet ‘reed’ changes to rit ‘ride.’ A previous study has found that for babies learning Dutch, bilingual children know this difference earlier than children who only learn one language!

Our new study investigates whether or not a bilingual baby’s second language affects learning this difference. There are currently two ideas about this. One suggests a baby learning two very different languages (such as Dutch and Spanish, Italian, or French) may learn this difference earlier. The other suggests babies who learn two similar languages (such as Dutch and German or English) may actually be quicker in learning this difference. The goal of this study is to help decide which possibility is correct.

Who can sign up?

For this particular study, we are looking for babies who:

  • Are bilingual 
  • Have one Dutch parent who speaks Dutch to them
  • Learn Spanish, Italian, French, English or German as their second language
  • Will be 8-9 months old at the time of testing (between March and May 2017)
  • Live within close proximity to Utrecht, as travel costs cannot be reimbursed otherwise


What can you expect?

The experiment will involve one short listening task that will last no more than 5-10 minutes. The baby will sit on the caretaker’s lap, and hear some words played on a speaker while looking at a TV screen. Afterwards, a few questions will be asked about the languages the baby hears in day-to-day life. The entire appointment, including explanation beforehand and answering questions, will last no longer than 30 minutes in total.

As a token of appreciation for your participation, you will receive a small gift for the baby and reimbursement of travel costs (if coming from within Utrecht).

Signing up

Interested? You can sign up for this study through the Babylab’s registration form (in Dutch). By signing up, your contact information will be added to our general database, which means you can be contacted for future studies as well. By going to our self service page (in Dutch), you can easily change your contact details or unsubscribe from our experiments if you don’t want to participate anymore.

Once the experiment has started running, you will be contacted to set up a testing date and time.

More information?

If you wish to receive more information first, please send an e-mail to babylabutrecht@uu.nl. We will try to answer your questions as good as possible.