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Janet van Hell

Janet van Hell

Co-Principal Investigator at Penn State

Co-Director, Center for Language Science

Professor of Psychology and Linguistics



Janet van Hell received her Ph.D. from the University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands, in 1998. She is currently professor of Psychology and Linguistics at Penn State, and professor of Language Development and Second language learning at Radboud University Nijmegen, the Netherlands. Her research focuses on second language learning and bilingualism as well as later language development in children with typical or atypical language development. She combines behavioral, neuropsychological (ERPs), and linguistic techniques to study language development and language processing. One of the questions Van Hell and her students seek to answer is how L2 learners at different levels of proficiency juggle the mental competition between words and syntactic structures available in each of their languages for both comprehension and production of words and sentences. In a second research line, she studies the (neuro)cognitive processes engaged in one of the hallmarks of bilingual processing: code-switching. A third line of research studies bimodal bilingualism, or speech-sign bilinguals. She studies how sign language (and variations in sign language proficiency) modulates written language production in deaf children and adults. She also studies cross-language interactions of signed and spoken languages in sign language interpreters in training. Her work is supported by grants from, amongst others, the National Science Foundation, the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research, and the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences. Janet is also Editor-in-Chief (2010-2013) of the Journal of Cognitive Psychology. 


Bilingualism and Language Development Lab (BiLD lab) 

Recent Publications: 

* denotes student author

    • Van Hell, J. G., & Tanner, D. (in press). Second language proficiency and cross-language lexical activation. Language Learning.
    • Kootstra*, G. J., Van Hell, J. G., & Dijkstra, T. (in press). Code-switching in sentences: The role of lexical repetition, cognates, and language proficiency. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition.
    • Van Hell, J. G., & Kroll, J. F. (in press). Using electrophysiological measures to track the mapping of words to concepts in the bilingual brain: a focus on translation. In J. Altarriba & L. Isurin (Eds.), Memory, Language, and Bilingualism: Theoretical and Applied Approaches. New York: Cambridge University Press.
    • Schwartz, A. I. & Van Hell, J. G. (in press). Bilingual visual word recognition in sentence context. In J. Adelman (Ed.), Visual Word Recognition (Ed. J. Adelman). Psychology Press.
    • Hoogeveen*, L., Van Hell, J. G., & Verhoeven, L. (in press). Accelerated gifted students in the Netherlands: Social and emotional characteristics and behavior. British Journal of Educational Psychology. DOI: 10.1111/j.2044-8279.2011.02047.x
    • Van Hell, J. G. & Poarch*, G. J. (in press). Lexical and conceptual representations in second language acquisition. In M. Gullberg & J. Williams (Eds.), The Encyclopedia of Applied Linguistics.
    • Poarch*, G. J. & Van Hell, J. G. (2012). Cross-language activation in children's speech production: Evidence from second language learners, bilinguals, and trilinguals. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 111 (3), 419-438. doi:10.1016/j.jecp.2011.09.008
    • Van Beijsterveldt*, L. M., & Van Hell, J. G. (2012). The development of deaf writers' tense marking in narrative and expository text: a bimodal bilingual perspective. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 15, 128-144. DOI:10.1017/S1366728910000465
    • Hermans, D., Ormel, E., Van den Besselaar*, R., & Van Hell, J. G. (2011). Lexical activation in bilinguals' speech production is dynamic: How language ambiguous words can affect cross-language activation. Language and Cognitive Processes, 26 (10), 1687-1709. DOI: 10.1080/01690965.2010.530411
    • Jackson, C. N., & Van Hell, J. G. (2011). The effects of L2 proficiency level on the processing of wh-questions among Dutch second language speakers of English.International Review of Applied Linguistics in Language Teaching, 49 (3), 195-219.
    • Brenders*, P., Van Hell, J. G., & Dijkstra, T. (2011). Word recognition in child second language learners: Evidence from cognates and false friends. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 109, 383-396. DOI:10.1016/j.jecp.2011.03.012
    • Kootstra*, G. J., Van Hell, J. G., & Dijkstra, T. (2010). Alignment in the production of code-switched sentences: The role of word order and dialogue partner. Journal of Memory and Language, 63, 210-236. doi:10.1016/j.jml.2010.03.006
    • Kroll, J. F., Van Hell, J. G., Tokowicz, N., & Green, D. W. (2010). The Revised Hierarchical model: A critical review and assessment. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 13 (3), 373-381. doi:10.1017/S136672891000009X
    • Van Beijsterveldt*, L. M. & Van Hell, J. G. (2010). Lexical noun phrases in texts written by deaf children and adults with different proficiency levels in sign language. International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, 13 (4), 439-468. DOI: 10.1080/13670050903477039
    • Van Hell, J. G., & Tokowicz, N. (2010). Event-related brain potentials and second language learning: Syntactic processing in late L2 learners at different L2 proficiency levels. Second Language Research, 26 (1), 43-74. DOI: 10.1177/0267658309337637
    • De Jong, T., van Gog, T., Jenks, K., Manlove, S., Van Hell, J.G., Jolles, J., van Merrienboer, J., van Leeuwen, T., Boschloo, A. (2009). Explorations in Learning and the Brain. On the Potential of Cognitive Neuroscience for Educational Science. Springer. ISBN: 978-0-387-89511-6
    • Hoogeveen*, L., Van Hell, J. G., & Verhoeven, L. (2009). Self-concept, social status and reputation of accelerated and non-accelerated students in the Netherlands. Gifted Child Quarterly, 53, 50-67. DOI: 10.1177/0016986208326556
    • Kootstra*, G. J., Van Hell, J. G., & Dijkstra, T. (2009). Two speakers, one dialogue: An interactive alignment perspective on codeswitching in bilingual speakers. In: L. Isurin, D. Winford, & K. de Bot (Eds.), Multidisciplinary approaches to code switching (pp. 129-159). Amsterdam / Philadelphia: John Benjamins.
    • Van Beijsterveldt*, L. M., & Van Hell, J. G. (2009). Evaluative expression in deaf children's written narratives. International Journal of Language and Communication Disorders, 44 (5), 675-692. DOI: 10.1080/13682820802301498
    • Van Beijsterveldt*, L. M., & Van Hell, J. G. (2009). Structural priming of adjective-noun structures in hearing and deaf children. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 104 (2), 179-196. doi:10.1016/j.jecp.2009.05.002
    • Van Hell, J. G., & Witteman*, M. J. (2009). The neurocognition of switching between languages: A review of electrophysiological studies. In: L. Isurin, D. Winford, & K. de Bot (Eds.), Multidisciplinary approaches to code switching (pp. 53-84). Amsterdam / Philadelphia: John Benjamins.
    • Van Hell, J. G. & De Groot, A. M. B. (2008). Sentence context affects lexical decision and word translation. Acta Psychologica, 128, 431-451. doi:10.1016/j.actpsy.2008.03.010
    • Van Hell, J. G., Verhoeven, L., & Van Beijsterveldt*, L. M. (2008). Pause time patterns in writing narrative and expository texts by children and adults. Discourse Processes, 45, 406-427. DOI: 10.1080/01638530802070080
    • Verhoeven, L. & Van Hell, J. G. (2008). From knowledge representation to writing text: A developmental perspective. Discourse Processes, 45, 387-405.
    • Van Hell, J. G., & van Weerdenburg, M. (2007). Taalontwikkeling and taalproblemen [Language development and language disorders]. In: K. Verschueren & H. Koomen,Handboek diagnostiek in de leerlingenbegeleiding [Handbook for diagnostics in school service] (pp. 89-104). Leuven, Belgium: Garant.
    • Bosman, A. M. T., Van Hell, J. G., & Verhoeven, L. (2006). Learning the spelling of strange words in Dutch benefits from regularized reading. Journal of Educational Psychology, 98, 879-890. DOI: 10.1037/0022-0663.98.4.879
    • De Groot, A. M. B., & Van Hell, J. G. (2005). The learning of foreign language vocabulary. In: J. F. Kroll & A. M. B. de Groot (Eds.), Handbook of bilingualism: Psycholinguistic approaches (pp. 9-29). Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    • Hoogeveen*, L., Van Hell, J. G., & Verhoeven, L. (2005). Teacher attitudes toward academic acceleration and accelerated students in the Netherlands. Journal for the Education of the Gifted, 29, 30-59.
    • Van Hell, J. G., Verhoeven, L., Tak*, M., & van Oosterhout*, M. (2005). To take a stance: A developmental study on the use of pronouns and passives in spoken and written texts in different genres. Journal of Pragmatics, 37, 239-273. doi:10.1016/j.pragma.2004.08.004