More than one language in the brain: acquisition and coexistence

Organized by:

Lidia Costamagna (Università per Stranieri di Perugia)

Elisa Di Domenico (Università per Stranieri di Perugia)

Simona Matteini (CISCL Università di Siena)

Invited Speakers

Adriana Belletti (Università di Siena / Université de Genève)

Cornelia Hamann (Carl von Ossiezky Universität Oldenburg)


Aula VI, Palazzo Gallenga, Piazza Fortebraccio 4, Perugia, Italy

Guida Perugia English - Guida Perugia italiano

Important dates

New deadline for the submission of abstracts: December 10, 2014

Notification of acceptance: No later than January 15, 2015


Following requests from colleagues the submissione deadline is extended to December 10, 2014

The workshop will host oral presentations and one poster session. Talks will be 30 minutes + 10 minutes for discussion



Work in generative grammar has highlighted that human beings are endowed with a peculiar faculty to acquire a language, grounded in a basic principle (Chomsky 2013). Multilingualism is however a characteristic feature of humans (Paradis et al. 2010 a.o), and when more than one language is at stake in the same individual, the following has been observed:

  • While one always reaches a complete attainment in one language, this does not always happen for languages beyond the first (incomplete ultimate attainment)
  • Features of a language may enter the grammar of another, steadily or optionally (transfer)

Research Questions

This workshop addresses the following questions:

  • Can incomplete ultimate attainment be explained solely in terms of the age factor or L2 input?
  • What's the role of principles of data analysis and efficient computation (Chomsky's 2005 'third factor') in determining incomplete ultimate attainment and transfer?
  • What differentiates incomplete ultimate attainment in a language beyond the first with respect to incomplete attainment in non-typical language acquisition?
  • Which mechanisms govern the transfer of features from a language to another? To what extent does transfer depend on the status of a language with respect to another or on the specific property transferred? Can a directionality be detected in either case?
  • How are incomplete ultimate attainment and transfer to be characterized with respect to different linguistic sub-modules and interfaces?


Chomsky, N. (2005) Three factors in language design, Linguistic Inquiry, 36/1: 1-22.

Chomsky, N. (2013) Problems of projection, Lingua 130: 33 - 49

Paradis, J. (2010), The interface between bilingual development and specific language impairment, Applied Psycholinguistics, 31: 227- 252.


Elisa Di Domenico, Simona Matteini -