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Sarah - My secondment at the University of Konstanz

By Sarah von Grebmer zu Wolfsthurn

In April 2019 I came to the University of Konstanz for my first secondment. For me, it was a really obvious choice because for my experiment. I am investigating the interference between German and Spanish in the bilingual brain – so Konstanz was the perfect place for this. More specifically, I am looking at how the speakers of these two languages process grammatical gender, and how much the native language (in this case German) influences gender processing mechanisms in Spanish. As a bilingual speaker myself, I often find that I make mistakes that are clearly because my first language is trying to compete with the other language (and wins), leading to some pretty situation where I often do not even notice that I have just used the German article for an Italian noun (my second language).

In Konstanz, I collected data for my study. This meant long hours in the neurolinguistics lab, but I also get to know my participants really well during the three hours of experiment, and I love hearing about how they learnt Spanish, and the places they have traveled to!

The second great aspect of my secondment were the people I worked with- I was sharing an office with other PhD students which were all interested in Multilingualism, just like me. There are lots of possibilities to attend talks, lab meetings and lectures around this topic, so I am loving every second of it. My data collection was finished by June and I am sad about leaving this place - it is probably the only university I will ever be at that has a view on the Lake Konstanz and has its own beach!

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