AcqVA Aurora is a UiT Aurora Centre (2020-2024), part of a competitive scheme to strengthen promising research groups. The funding (NOK 30 million) covers four postdoc positions, four Professor II positions, one lab manager and one permanent (associate/full) professorship, as well as general running costs.
AcqVA Aurora is also a branch of the research community AcqVA, a joint UiT/NTNU research initiative which was established in 2015 and which has resulted in numerous projects and publications.
The following is a brief description of the work in AcqVA Aurora (see more under Themes):
Humans are unique among animals in that we have language, a complex system enabling communication about any topic, be it past, present or future. In fact, humans are not limited to one language, but can acquire several under the right conditions. Nevertheless, bi- and multilingualism is not an either-or phenomenon, as multilingual minds may (and typically do) undergo numerous changes across the lifespan, as a result of linguistic and non-linguistic factors. This means that multilingual minds comprise dynamic linguistic systems, as co-existing languages affect each other in a multitude of ways, both in the acquisition process and beyond. The AcqVA Aurora Center conducts ecologically valid research, reflecting today’s globalized world, where learning multiple languages at various points in the lifetime has become increasingly common. Our research focuses on a range of multilingual speaker groups and thus feed into current challenges related to migration, education, and health, addressing important and yet unanswered questions for science and society.
AcqVA Aurora combines solid empirical work with advanced theoretical (and statistical) modeling in three domains:
A) Acquisition: how multilingual minds develop in children and adults,
B) Variation: how and why languages may differ considerably across individuals and groups in space and time, and
C) Attrition: how and why language erosion may occur over the course of the lifespan.
The three domains are studied within four cross-cutting themes, focusing on interrelated issues of multilingualism:
1) how linguistic and non-linguistic experiential factors shape linguistic and cognitive outcomes,
2) how multiple languages in the same mind influence each other,
3) how closely related varieties co-existing in the same mind are processed, and
4) how representing and juggling multiple languages manifest and result in adaptations at the neurological and domain-general cognitive levels.
The AcqVA Aurora Centre currently consists of more than 30 active researchers, including eight professors/associate professors, seven researchers/postdoctoral fellows with an additional five MSCA postdoctoral researchers, a lab team, four PhD students, and eight Professor II positions (20% adjunct professors).
PIs of AcqVA Aurora: Øystein Vangsnes, Yulia Rodina, Fatih Bayram, Marit Westergaard, Jason Rothman, Merete Anderssen, Terje Lohndal, Natalia Mitrofanova. (Photo: David Jensen)