About me

UNI_Pfenninger_1.JPG

I am Professor of English Linguistics in the English Department of the University of Zurich, Switzerland. Before coming to Zurich, in August 2022, I was Associate Professor of Second Language Acquisition and Psycholinguistics at the University of Salzburg, Austria. I received my PhD in English historical linguistics in 2009 (supervised by Prof. A. Fischer, University of Zurich, and Prof. O. Fischer, University of Amsterdam) and obtained my habilitation in 2016 (also from the University of Zurich) in the area of SLA.

I edit the Second Language Acquisition book series published by Multilingual Matters, founded and co-edited by David Singleton (Trinity College, Dublin). I currently also serve as Vice President of the International Association of Multilingualism IAM (https://iam.wildapricot.org/) and as Vice President of the European Second Language Association EuroSLA (http://www.eurosla.org/).

 

 

My principal research areas are multilingualism, psycholinguistics and individual learner differences in SLA, especially in regard to quantitative approaches and statistical methods and techniques for language application in education. My research sheds light on the effectiveness of early vs. late foreign language instruction, the difference between cognitive decline (as a function of ageing) vs. the cumulative experience of learning, bilingual education in school contexts (with a focus on time and timing and intra-learner variability), language learners with specific learning differences (e.g. dyslexics), as well the question of how good older adults are at additional language learning - and how language learning benefits them (with a particular emphasis on the cognition-affect interface).

In our newly minted SLA lab at the University of Zurich, we are interested in the impact of occupational and educational life-course transitions on patterns in English language use and learning, e.g. the transition from early English-as-a-Foreign-Language (EFL) l learning in primary school to EFL in secondary school; from EFL in secondary school to studying English at university; from pre-service to in-service EFL teaching; from L1 and L2 use in the labor force to retirement; from language learning difficulties to intervention.

Awards

 

 

 

  • Nomination for the "Excellence in Teaching Award" 2017, University of Salzburg

  • Nomination for the “Credit Suisse Award for Best Teaching 2013”, University of Zurich