Current Members

photo taken by Eric Kellerman

Aoju Chen, group leader.
My research interests lie in the general areas of the phonetics and phonology of prosody and language acquisition. Using both online and offline experimental methods, I primarily investigate the acquisition of prosody as a device to encode and decode information structure in a first language, the phonetics and phonology of L2 learners’ prosody, and the processing of prosodic information in language comprehension in L1 and L2. In the vidi project, I investigate how children acquiring the same L1s differ from each other in the acquisition of prosodic focus-marking and what cognitive and linguistic factors play a role in individual differences in this aspect of language development.


Anna Sara H. Romøren
, PhD researcher.
Anna Sara started working in the project in 2011, and will be handing in her dissertation in 2015. Her project is about the acquisition of prosodic focus-marking in Swedish and Dutch. Before she came to Utrecht, she did her MA at the University of Oslo, on lexical prosody in autism spectrum disorders. Her main research interest is language acquisition, but she is also interested in multilingualism, psycholinguistics and clinical linguistics, and believe there is a lot to learn about how language works from looking at populations where communication represents a challenge, for example in various kinds of developmental language disorders.


Anqi Yang, PhD researcher.
Anqi graduated from the University of York with an MA degree in Linguistics. Before going to the UK for postgraduate study, she was an English teacher in China. She is a persistent learner of new languages and she has passionate interest in the study of phonological acquisition.


Saskia Verstegen, student assistant.
After her BA in Linguistics and Pedagogical Sciences, Saskia is now a student in the research master program Linguistics at Utrecht University. Her main interests are psycholinguistics and discourse, and language acquisition is her favorite topic.

Laura Smorenburg, student assistant.
Laura is a bachelor student of English language and culture. She is interested in linguistics and the teaching of languages.

Associated Members

Zenghui Liu, PhD researcher.
Zenghui graduated from Yunnan University with an MA degree in Chinese Philology and Linguistics. She is interested in the linguistic development of bilingual children in the language contact setting. In particular, her research focuses on acquisition of prosody in sequential bilingual children.


Tom Lentz, Post-doc.
Tom has an MSc in Artificial Intelligence (University of Amsterdam) and a PhD in Psycholinguistics (Utrecht University). He wrote his PhD thesis on the effect of phonotactics on speech segmentation, with special focus on second language acquisition. He joined the project in 2015 and is currently analysing existing data, preparing publications and designing new experiments on the production and processing of focus by adults.


Paula Cox
, student assistant.

After having studied fine arts for several years, Paula finished a BA Dutch language and culture at Utrecht University; she is now following some extra courses to prepare for an MA in translation. She received her teacher’s degree in 2014 and has since been teaching several subjects at both Primary and Secondary school. She is designing teaching materials (both text and illustration) for language, music, mathematics and nature classes; and she is continuing private lessons in classical piano.

Joe Rodd, student assistant.
After his BA studies at the University of Leeds, Joe is a student on the research master program Linguistics at Utrecht University, and is interested in psycholinguistics, phonetics and phonology.

Xiaoli Dong, Research associate.
Xiaoli Dong defended her dissertation in 2012 at Utrecht University. Her research interests lie in L1/L2 phonological acquisition (phonotactics, prosody and stress) and language contact. She is also very interested in the role of orthography in language contact.

Former Members


Mengru Han, student assistant.
After finishing her MA in Utrecht, Mengru is now doing a PhD at Utrecht Institute of Linguistics OTS (UiL OTS).


Martine Veenendaal, student assistant.
Martine is now a teacher at a Montessori primary school.


Frank Bijlsma, student assistant.
Frank recently graduated from the Technical Artificial Intelligence master program at Utrecht University, and now works in industry.