Laufende Forschungsprojekte

ACT and connect for INtegration: language learning & cultural awareness

The ACTIN project is a European project that aims to support and reinforce the integration and inclusion of migrant children and adolescents in education and by extension in the society, by bringing together expertise from different European countries and different bodies involved in migration and education and by developing, implementing, and evaluating a series of innovative, effective, and evidence-based activities for all stakeholders to be conducted in formal and informal education settings. Its objectives are to develop, implement, and evaluate language and language & content learning activities (pedagogical translanguaging, flashcards, contextual cues, focus on form, Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) within schools (reception and mainstream classes) and informal educational activities (culture sensitivity workshops, solidarity/education cafés, buddy scheme and extracurricular informal activities) within and outside schools. These activities will be evaluated using effective, evidence-based and scientific methods (questionnaires, interviews with focus groups, pre- and postintervention measures). Moreover, the project aim to train and provide mentoring to as many as possible stakeholders, by developing, implementing and evaluating training seminars to familiarise relevant stakeholders, e.g. educators, cultural assistants, NGOs and local and regional authorities, with effective approaches to address language learning and cultural sensitivity, and with various techniques for informal activities and with continuous mentoring. The project will create an online open access resource with teaching and learning materials (videos, podcasts, protocols, etc.) across different languages and will make it accessible to everyone. An additional objective of ACTIN is to build strong community bonds between immigrants and locals, and strong relations between the partners & organisations working on migration and integration within and across different European countries, by implementing activities run by NGOs and regional organisations, freely accessed by young migrants and their families as well as by local families and their children.

The ACTIN consortium consists of an international and multidisciplinary team from seven European countries (France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Norway, Poland, Switzerland), consolidating connections between Universities (University of Strasbourg, University of Konstanz, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Innland Norway University of Applied Sciences, Jagiellonian University Krakow, University of Geneva) and NGOs involved in migration and education (Roscommon Integrated Development Co. Ltd, Fundacja im. Mikołaja Reja, SolidarityNow).

Theo Marinis, Mariya Kharaman

2024 - 2027

Cross-linguistic influence in multilingual children and adults: evidence from the real-time processing of Romanian wh-questions

This research project is a continuation of the ProHeritageSpeakers project and investigates the development of the first (heritage) language in speakers with a migration background, as well as the impact that the dominant (societal) language has on heritage language outcomes, as these have been shown to be highly heterogenous. 

It thus aims to break new ground in our understanding of how the societal language interacts with and shapes the real-time comprehension and production of the heritage language in child and adult multilingual speakers. In doing so, the project focuses on Romanian as heritage language and compares the acquisition and processing of complex syntactic structures across various multilingual groups in Germany, the UK, and Romania. To capture the range of variability characteristic of multilingual development, as well as address effects of language dominance, the target groups will include (i) Romanian heritage speakers living in Germany and in the UK, (ii) German heritage speakers living in Romania, as well as (iii) Romanian monolinguals.

The choice of language combinations (Romanian-German, Romanian-English) is motivated by grammatical properties that these languages have or not in common. The investigation will combine behavioural (picture-selection, production) and psycholinguistic (eye-tracking) methods and will compare not only between multilinguals and monolinguals, but also across various groups of multilinguals. This systematic comparison allows to determine whether the presence (or absence) of similar linguistic properties in the majority language facilitates (or delays) the acquisition of the same properties in the heritage language. Therefore, if any differences emerge in the way the multilingual groups comprehend or produce the heritage language, then these differences can be attributed to cross-linguistic influence from the majority language.

Anamaria Bentea

2022 - 2027

This project is funded by the Zukunftskolleg within the Excellence Strategy at the University of Konstanz. 

Dyslexia and Bilingualism: The effects of dyslexia on second language reading development

The Dyslexia and Bilingualism: The effects of dyslexia on second language reading development project focuses on the interaction between the acquisition of a second language and dyslexia. We aim at investigating how second language learners develop and adapt reading strategies to the orthographic properties of the second language, and how late bilingualism interact with dyslexia.


  • Ilaria Venagli, PhD, Universität Konstanz (PI)
  • Prof. Dr. Tanja Kupisch, Universität Konstanz (supervisor)
  • Prof. Dr. Theo Marinis, Universität Konstanz (supervisor)
  • Prof. Dr. Chiara Melloni, Universität Konstanz (supervisor

1.10.2021 – 30.09.2024 

The project is funded by the LFGF scholarship.

Processing and Production in Heritage Speakers: The Role of Russian in Germany across Generations


B. Brehmer

2021 - 2024


Students' Perceptions of Inequality and Fairness

The project Students' Perceptions of Inequality and Fairness (PerFair) aims to describe and explain how perceptions of inequality and fairness develop among children and adolescents, and to analyze their consequences for educational as well as political attitudes and behavior. To do so, we bring together expertise from political science, sociology, linguistics, education science, and psychology. We pay particular attention to the interplay of different explanatory factors: individual characteristics like adolescents’ socio-economic backgrounds and their cognitive and language skills; the social influence of parents, teachers and peers; and the role of the institutional and regional context, e.g. characteristics of the school and neighborhood.

Claudia Diehl, Axinja Hachfeld, Theo Marinis

2019 - 2024

Excellence cluster

Abgeschlossene Forschungsprojekte

Erasmus Mundus Design Measures in Multilingualism and Cultural Diversity

The aim of the Erasmus Mundus Design Measures in Multilingualism and Cultural Diversity project was to design a new multidisciplinary highly integrated transnational Erasmus Mundus Joint Masters programme in Multilingualism and Cultural Diversity (MultiDiverse) by bringing together expertise from three EU universities and four disciplines in a complementary way. The University of Konstanz together with the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, and the Jagiellonian University brought together expertise in linguistics, education, psychology, and sociology to the study of multilingualism and cultural diversity and created a new MA programme. The programme is planned to have its first edition in October 2025.

Theo Marinis

2022 - 2023

EU Erasmus+

Gender agreement in native and L2 French processing: Effects of structure and linear distance

Through a series of behavioral experiments, this project investigates (i) how native (first language/L1) and nonnative (second language/L2) speakers apply grammatical constraints like subject/object-verb agreement during real-time sentence comprehension and (ii) which factors may distinguish L2 from L1 processing. The focus is on how grammatical (linguistic structure) and non-grammatical (linear distance) factors interact in the comprehension and production of different agreement relations (subject-past participle and object-past participle) in two populations: German intermediate-to-advanced L2 speakers of French and L1 French speakers. We address the following research questions: 

Do L2 speakers show native-like sensitivity to agreement violations in spontaneous speech while processing gender on the past participle in French? 

Is sensitivity to gender agreement violations more strongly modulated by linguistic structure than linear distance in both L1/L2 speakers?

The results of the project will contribute to a better understanding of the factors that shape second language comprehension and production and whether possible L1–L2 differences stem from the fact that L2 speakers underuse grammatical information during real-time comprehension. This is relevant to the question of what information second language learners pay attention to when learning the target language and can contribute to improving teaching pedagogies in the classroom and enhancing the learning process of foreign languages.

Anamaria Bentea


This project has been funded by an Independent Research Grant from the Zukunftskolleg.

Processing and Production in Heritage Speakers: The Role of Disambiguating Cues

Heritage speakers (HS) are people who learn a language at home as children. This language is different from the main language spoken in the community in which they live. So far, little is known about how HS process the heritage language in real time. The EU-funded ProHeritageSpeakers project (Processing and Production in Heritage Speakers: The Role of Disambiguating Cues), focussing on Romanian HSs, investigates whether HSs use morphosyntactic cues when understanding heritage language input in real time. It also investigates how the presence of similar grammatical information in the dominant second language modulates comprehension and production in the heritage language. The project has the following aims:

1: To find out whether child/adult HSs process HL input in real time similarly to monolingual L1 speakers;

2: To investigate whether child/adult HSs show the same sensitivity to grammatical cues as age-matched monolingual participants and whether they can use these cues to successfully retrieve encoded information from memory during sentence processing;

3: To compare the ability of HS and monolinguals to use morphosyntactic cues for comprehension with their ability to use them in production;

4: To determine the extent to which the presence or absence of similar morphosyntactic cues in the dominant L2 may lead to differences in HL processing and/or production.

Anamaria Bentea, Theo Marinis, Tanja Kupisch

2021 - 2023

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No 101026216.

Teacher Education About Multilingualism

The TEAM project aims to educate pre-service and in-service teachers about various aspects of bilingualism that is often missing from their training. The project partners are all institutions with branches of Bilingualism Matters.

Konstanzer Wissenschaftler*innen: Theo Marinis, Ramona Baumgartner, Bernhard Brehmer, Elisabeth Süß, Angelika Golegos und Kaja Gregorc

2020 - 2023




Moodle course

German-Greek toolkit for Theory of Mind and Language in Autism

The project MiLA (German-Greek toolkit for Theory of Mind and Language in Autism) is a collaborative project between the University of Konstanz, the University of Cologne, the University of Patras and the University of Thessaly.

The project aims at strengthening academic relations between Universities, developing research protocols on the language abilities and Theory of Mind (ToM) of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), conducting collaborative research, providing training to young researchers and knowledge transfer activities to academic and non-academic audiences.

2020 - 2022

Theo Marinis, Anna Czypionka, Angelika Golegos


Ethnic Policies – Remedy for Between-Group Inequalities?

The project Ethnic Policies – Remedy for Between-Group Inequalities? investigates specific ethnic policies towards the Sámi in Norway and Sweden, addressing recognition and self-governance, land and reindeer issues, language and education. Our main interest is in the consequences of such policies on structural and perceived inequalities and their effects on socio-economic inequalities, language proficiency, and feelings of discrimination among the Sámi. Do we still find indications of structural and perceived inequalities and discrimination after a long phase of assimilation policies? What are the effects of different policies in Norway and Sweden in recent times?

T. Kupisch, A. Lloyd-Smith

2019 - 2022

Excellence cluster

Non-Canonical Questions in Early and Late Bilingual Language Acquisition

Im Projekt wird untersucht, wie ein- und zweisprachig aufgewachsene Kinder und Erwachsene rhetorische Fragen im Deutschen und Italienischen stellen. Der Fokus der Studie zum Spracherwerb liegt auf der Entwicklung der Sprachmelodie und des Satzbaus, insbesondere der Erwerb von Fragen. 

Tanja Kupisch, Theo Marinis, Maria Francesca Ferin, Miriam Geiss

2019 - 2023

DFG F2111

The Multilingual Mind

The Multilingual Mind (MultiMind) ist ein internationales, multidisziplinäres und multisektoriales Forschungs- und Nachwuchsnetzwerk. Sein Ziel ist es, Mehrsprachigkeitsforschung durch multiperspektivische Verknüpfung entscheidend weiterzuentwickeln.

  1. Fokus: Sprachenlernen, Kognition und Kreativität
  2. Fokus: Sprachverarbeitung und das mehrsprachige Gehirn
  3. Fokus: Mehrsprachigkeit und Gesellschaft
  4. Fokus: Sprachentwicklungsprobleme bei mehrsprachigen Kindern
  5. Fokus: Mehrsprachigkeit im Kontext von Migration und Flucht

Konstanzer Wissenschaftler*innen und mit Konstanz assoziierte: Theo Marinis (PI), Tanja Kupisch, Tanja Rinker, Muna Schönhuber, Kaja Gregorc, Sergio Miguel Pereira Soares

2018 - 2022

Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska Curie grant agreement No 765556

Mehrprachigkeit in der Schule

Im Fokus von Mehrsprachigkeit in der Schule liegen Aspekte der für den schulischen Erfolg wichtigen Bildungssprache. In den Fächern Deutsch, Biologie und Politik/Gemeinschaftskunde wird die Lehrersprache in unterschiedlichen Klassenstufen videografisch erhoben, analysiert und Empfehlungen für sprachsensiblen Unterricht abgeleitet.

Ramona Baumgartner, Erkam Ekinci, Frank Fuchshuber, Janet Grijzenhout, Svenja Kornher, Tanja Rinker

2016 - 2021

Ministerium für Wissenschaft, Forschung und Kunst, Baden Württemberg


ProLanguage untersucht die zentrale Rolle von Sprache im Leben von Flüchtenden.

Theo Marinis (PI), Co-Investigators, University of Reading, Doug Saddy, Shirley Ann Reynolds, Federico Faloppa, Anthony Capstick

Co-Investigators, American University of Beirut: Tamer Amin, Lina Choueiri
Co-Investigators, University of Patras: Anna Roussou, Kyprianos Pantelis
Co- Investigators, University of Palermo: Dame Maria D’Agostino, Giuseppe Paternostro
Co-Investigators, European University Institut: Dr Gabriele Proglio

Non-academic partners: Mothertongue, Translators without borders, The Mikhulu Trust, Al Fanar Foundation, Bilingualism Matters Reading, Saint Andrew’s Refugee Services (StARS)

2016 - 2020


Multilingualism and Multiliteracy

Das Projekt MultiLila untersucht sprach- und ausbildungspolitische, sozioökonomische und regionale Faktoren des Bildungserfolgs in Indien anhand von sprachlichen Aspekten, Lesefähigkeit und mathematischem Verständnis.

Welchen Unterschied macht es, wenn Schul- und Familiensprache  identisch oder aber divergent  sind? Welche Rolle spielt dabei die Ausbildung der Lehrpersonen und ihr Sprachrepertoire? Das Forschungsdesign berücksichtigt auch Besonderheiten ländlicher wie städtischer Lebenswelten, im urbanen Kontext wird dabei die Situation von Kindern in sozioökonomisch günstigen bzw. herausfordernden Lebenslagen unter der Armutsgrenze untersucht.

Principal Investigator: Ianthi Tsimpli (University of Cambridge)

Co-Investigators: Suvarna Alladi (National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences, Karnataka), Theo Marinis (Universität Konstanz), Lina Mukhopadhyay (The English & Foreign Languages University, Hyderabad), Minati Panda (Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi), Denes Szucs (University of Cambridge), Jeanine Treffers-Daller (University of Reading)

2014 - 2019

ESRC Research Grant No.: ES/N010345/1


Das multinationale und multidisziplinäre Projekt AthEME (Advancing the European Experience of Multilingualism) erforscht kognitive, linguistische und soziologische Aspekte von Mehrsprachigkeit insbesondere im Gesundheits- und Bildungsbereich.

Konstanzer Wissenschaftler_innen und mit Konstanz assoziierte: Josef Bayer, Claudia Diehl, Constantin Freitag (Universität zu Köln), Janet Grijzenhout (Universiteit Leiden), Anne Gresser, Monika Lindauer, Theo Marinis, Tanja Rinker

2014 - 2019


Mehrsprachigkeit in Kita und Schule

Ziel des gemeinsam mit dem Schulamt Konstanz durchgeführten Transferplattformprojekts „Mehrsprachigkeit in Kita und Schule“ war die Erhebung des Wortschatzes und der Leseleistungen von mehrsprachigen, insbesondere italienisch-deutschen Kindern in Konstanz und Umgebung. Ergänzt wurde dies um Befragungen des pädagogischen Personals. Beides floss in den mehrteiligen Fortbildungszyklus für Kitas und Grundschulen ein.

Ramona Baumgartner, Frank Fuchshuber, Janet Grijzenhout, Tanja Rinker