Welcome to The Language Scientists!

We are Dr Kaitlyn Zavaleta and Dr Marie-Josee Bisson, your hosts on The Language Scientists podcast.

We are both Senior Lecturers at De Montfort University and we conduct research on language learning.   

Throughout the series we talk to experts in the field of language learning and beyond to impart informative, evidence based and practical advice. The topics range from incidental learning, eye-tracking, learning vocabulary though reading, creative assessments, using virtual reality in the classroom, training phonological abilities, randomised control trials, speech errors and conducting research online.    

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Meet The Language Scientists

Marie-Josée Bisson

Dr Bisson’s research interests are on first and second language acquisition, implicit and explicit learning, bilingualism, and psycholinguistics. As well as behavioural research methods, she conducts experiments using eye-tracking and EEG.

Some of her prior research has focused on facilitating foreign language learning through informal exposures (incidental learning). Dr Bisson is interested in the predictors of learning and she recently investigated the cognitive (e.g. working memory, auditory/phonological abilities, orthographic abilities, executive fundctions) and affective (e.g. motivation and confidence) predictors of both incidental and explicit foreign language word learning. Another current project examines the roles of visual statistical learning, orthographic abilities and cross-linguistic orthographic similarity on word learning. 

Another line of research has compared the use or concrete and abstract examples to facilitate the learning of novel mathematical concepts. She has conducted randomised controlled trial studies with children and adolescents using a method known as comparative judgement to measure conceptual understanding.

Kaitlyn Zavaleta

Dr. Zavaleta is a cognitive psychologist and psycholinguist. Her research expertise lies at the intersection of psychology and linguistics with a focus on bilingualism and second language acquisition (SLA). Specifically, she is interested in how an adult speaker learns and uses two or more languages. 

When an individual uses a language, they rely on complicated cognitive processes to serve the ability to understand what someone is saying in the target language (the process of comprehension) and to be able to respond in the target language (the process of production). Dr. Zavaleta’s research projects examine language learning aptitude and language use by measuring both of these processes in a variety of methods.

Latest episodes

S2 E5: Learning the words that matter

In this Episode, Dr Bisson talks to Professor Emma Marsden about a really important change [...]

S2 E4: Reviving language learning in the UK

In this episode, Dr Kaitlyn Zavaleta interviews Professor Neil Kenny, Professor of French at University [...]

S2 E3: “Hello” or “How do you do?” Is There A Rule?

In this episode, Dr Kaitlyn Zavaleta interviews Dr Jiayi Wang, about those “unwritten” rules of [...]

More episodes

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