Bilingualism Research Group

Principal Investigator:

Stefka H. Marinova-Todd , ED.D. , Associate Professor

  • Bilingual language and cognitive development
  • Language and literacy development in ESL-learners
  • Second language acquisition

Description of our main research activities

This is an interdisciplinary research lab devoted to studying the various psycholinguistic, socio-linguistic and educational aspects of bilingualism and second language acquisition. Currently, three main research projects are underway at the lab:

1) The language and cognitive abilities of bilingual children with autism

The main goal of this line of research is to establish whether children with autism can function successfully in two or more languages. Our findings so far have revealed no differences between monolingual and bilingual children with autism in terms of language abilities.  Therefore, children with autism should not be discouraged from being bilingual.

For a media interview on this topic with Dr. Marinova-Todd, please click here.

Students currently working on this project:

  1. Tracy Lam (M.Sc. candidate)
  2. Stefanie Macaro (M.Sc. candidate)
  3. Shelby Siroski (M.Sc. candidate, NSERC graduate scholarship recipient)

2) Language and Literacy development in French Immersion programs

  • Ensuring reading success for all students in early French immersion. Chen, B. (PI), Marinova-Todd, S.H. (Co-Invesitgator), Deacon, H. (Co-Investigator), funded by a SSHRC Insight Grant.

This is a large-scale four-year longitudinal project with children in early French immersion in Toronto and Vancouver, two major Canadian cities with diverse populations. The project has three objectives. The first objective is to understand cross-language transfer between English and French. The second objective is to compare literacy development in English and French between multilingual children and English L1 children across multiple time points between Grade 1 and Grade 4. The third objective is to identify screening measures that accurately identify at-risk reading status for both English L1 and multilingual children.

Students currently working on this project:

  1. Xuan Zhang (Ph.D. candidate)
  2. Megan Harold (M.Sc. candidate)
  • Language achievement in early and late French Immersion programs, funded by a UBC VPRI research grant.

The main goal of this project is to compare language and literacy achievement in English and French of students who have attended early vs. late French immersion programs in Vancouver.

Students currently working on this project:

  1. Anahita Rustom (M.Sc. candidate, Audiology and Speech Sciences, UBC)
  2. Katrina Kwan (M.Sc. candidate, SSHRC graduate scholarship recipient)

3) Age Effects in Second Language Acquisition

  • Age Effects in Child English Second Language Acquisition. Paradis, J. (PI), Marinova-Todd, S.H. (Co-Invesitgator), Järviki , J. (Co-Investigator), funded by a SSHRC Insight Grant.

This research project examines the English abilities of ELL children and addresses various factors, including age of first exposure to English, and how they influence long-term L2 attainment in these children.

Recent graduates from the Bilingualism Research Group

  • Daniel Berube (Ph.D., Assistant Professor in Education at University of St. Boniface, Winnipeg, MB)
  • Kris Campbell (M.Sc., SLP Victoria, BC)
  • Jamie Hack (M. Sc., SLP Sunny Hill Health Centre, Vancouver)
  • Erin Hall (Ph.D. candidate, University of Toronto)
  • Maciel Pereda (M. Sc., SLP in the Yukon)
  • Jill Petersen (M.Sc., SLP, London, UK)
  • Carrie Siu (M.Sc., Audiologist, Burnaby School District, Burnaby)
  • Susan Yang (M.Sc., SLP Vancouver)
  • Jing Zhao (M.Sc., SLP Richmond Health Unit, Richmond)


  • Dr. Monique Bournot-Trites (Department of Language and Literacy Education, UBC)
  • Dr. Becky Chen (Ontario Institute for Study of Education, University of Toronto)
  • Dr. Hélène Deacon (Department of Psychology, Dalhousie University)
  • Dr. Juhani Järviki (Department of Linguistics, University of Alberta)
  • Dr. Mandy Kay-Raining Bird (School of Human Communication Disorders, Dalhousie University)
  • Dr. Pat Mirenda (Department of Educational and Counselling Psychology and Special Education, UBC)
  • Dr. Johanne Paradis (Department of Linguistics, University of Alberta)
  • Dr. Yuuko Uchikoshi (School of Education, UC-Davis)

Location & Contact Information

Bilingualism Research Lab
Friedman Building, Room 428
The University of British Columbia
Vancouver, BC, V6T 1Z3