24 January 2023
Prof. Dr. Jeanine Treffers-Daller Appointed Editor-in-Chief of Languages

Prof. Treffers-Daller

We are pleased to announce that Prof. Dr. Jeanine Treffers-Daller has been appointed Editor-in-Chief of Languages (ISSN: 2226-471X).

Prof. Dr. Jeanine Treffers-Daller is the professor of multilingualism at the University of Reading, UK. She is interested in a wide range of areas in the field of multilingualism and second language acquisition. Most recently, she has worked on the relationship between cognitive control and different types of code-switching behavior. She is also interested in measuring language dominance in bilinguals/heritage speakers and has published an edited volume on this topic with Cambridge.

Furthermore, Prof. Dr. Treffers-Daller has published on motion event construal, formulaic language, vocabulary learning and teaching, lexical richness, and automated assessment of vocabulary in bilinguals and second language learners. She has also worked on language, literacy, and mathematics development among learners with English as an additional language (EAL) in the UK and among multilingual children in India.

The following is a Q&A with Prof. Dr. Jeanine Treffers-Daller, who shared her vision for the journal with us, as well as her views of the research area and Open Access publishing:

1. What is your vision for the journal?

I would like to see Languages as a platform for interdisciplinary research, where researchers make an effort to look beyond the boundaries of their own narrow field, toward more integrated perspectives on issues around language. Innovation is more likely to come from researchers who are new to a field and bring a fresh perspective to old problems. A good example is the contribution made to the field of linguistic relativity by researchers working in the field of bilingualism.

I am fully aware that it is challenging to do interdisciplinary research because researchers from other fields do not share our basic assumptions and work with different theories and methods. It is my dream that STEM researchers and linguists work together to tackle the problems of 2023. One very popular field of research in bilingualism and second language acquisition is motion event construal (how animate beings or objects move through space). Would it not be very inspiring to hear from researchers working on visual perception on how they analyze movement through space and try to set up joint work? We have a lot to learn from each other. Such joint work could then be published in both Languages and another Open Access journal published by MDPI.

2. What appealed to you about the journal that made you want to become its Editor-in-Chief?

In 2022, I edited a Special Issue of Languages on code-switching together with two colleagues. This was a great experience, not only the intellectual journey of putting the Special Issue together and attracting key researchers to join us, but also the practical issues of liaising with the Languages team. I found the MDPI team very helpful, professional, friendly at all times, and willing to go the extra mile to help us put the Special Issue together. I am fascinated by the idea of leading the journal for two years and seeing if I can help develop its profile among the research community even further. Particularly the fact that the turnaround for publications is very short in comparison with some other journals appealed to me. This means that new ideas get to the research community very quickly and the readers can start developing their own projects based on recent publications. I also like the fact that Languages supported a prize for the best poster at Eurosla (the annual conference of the European Second Language Acquisition Conference). Particularly when the prize goes to junior colleagues, this can give them a real boost.

3. What does the future of this field of language research look like?

In any field of research, the collaboration between colleagues is key. While in the past, single-authored monographs were the holy grail, nowadays we are aware that the best ideas come from research teams that work together and inspire each other. For junior researchers, it is also often a good idea to publish work with their supervisors, because the chances of being read are simply higher if a well-known name is on the paper. It is good that we have to specify what the contribution of each author to the paper has been, as we need such transparency. Apart from the issue of collaboration between colleagues, I think it will be crucially important to keep up with technological innovation, both in collecting data and in analyzing these with up-to-date software. We will also need to look into the impact of ChatGPT (software that can write essays) on the manuscripts we receive for Languages. I assume the Editorial Board will focus strongly on the role of technology in publishing in the coming years.

4. What do you think of the development of Open Access literature in the publishing field?

It is very important for papers to be available freely through the website so that researchers in low-income countries can also benefit from accessing the papers. I have been to India, China, and Malaysia on research projects. For many researchers in those countries, accessing up-to-date research is very difficult. Also, Ph.D. applicants from low-income countries often base their project proposals on literature that is out of date, simply because they cannot access more recent literature. For them, Open Access articles are incredibly important. Ph.D. applicants from overseas have a much better chance to inform themselves before applying for a position in Europe or America because of the availability of Open Access articles in journals such as Languages.

5. Can you share your career development story briefly? For example, what cases have influenced you the most?

I studied French and general linguistics at the University of Amsterdam and was lucky enough to have Prof. Dr. Pieter Muysken as my supervisor. The quality of his work as a researcher and the amazing ways in which he supported his Ph.D. students (and those of others) have greatly inspired me. After graduating, I was very fortunate to be able to work at Bogazici University, one of the great universities in Turkey. Learning Turkish and living in a very different culture opened my eyes and broadened my horizons in ways that no other experience could have done. When we moved to the UK, I also started to do research into applied linguistics (vocabulary studies, listening and reading comprehension, etc.) because many of my Ph.D. students wanted to do applied linguistics research. Although I started my career as a sociolinguist, working together with psycholinguists triggered my interest in doing more experimental work. Prof. Dr. Francois Grosjean from Neuchatel and Prof. Dr. Shana Poplack from Ottawa have also greatly inspired me and supported me in my career. I owe a lot to colleagues across the world. Working together with other researchers, particularly colleagues from other countries and other fields is so rewarding. I am sure other researchers feel the same.


We warmly welcome Prof. Dr. Jeanine Treffers-Daller as our new Editor-in-Chief and look forward to her valuable input for the continued success of Languages. We would also like to express our sincere gratitude to the previous Editors-in-Chief, Prof. Dr. Raquel Fernández Fuertes and Prof. Dr. Juana M. Liceras, for their invaluable contributions to the journal.

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