Kristy Sigmeth

Bild Kristy Sigmeth

Akademischer Werdegang
SoSe 2018 Admission to the Graduate School Empirical and Applied Linguistics
07/2017 – 03/2018 PhD Student in English Philology, WWU Münster
10/2016 – present Certificate German as a Foreign Language/German as a Second Language, WWU Münster
10/2014 – 09/2016 Master of Arts: National and Transnational Studies, WWU Münster
09/2008 – 09/2012 Bachelor of Arts: German Major, Linguistics and Psychology Minors, University of Regina, Canada
09/2011 – 08/2012 Exchange year at the Otto-Friedrich-Universität Bamberg, Germany
05/2009 – 06/2009 ‘Canadian Summer School in Germany’ Language Immersion Program, Kassel, Germany
Universitäre/Wissenschaftliche Tätigkeiten
07/2017 – present Research assistant in DPWS Project “MULTI-PHON - Phonological cross-linguistic influence in young multilinguals”, Chair of English Linguistics, English Department, WWU Münster (gefördert von der DPWS)
12/2015 – 09/2016 Student Assistant, Chair of Variation Linguistics, English Department, WWU Münster
01/2010 – 04/2013 German Language Teaching Assistant, University of Regina, Canada


Cross-linguistic influence and cognitive control in young L3 learners

My project is a longitudinal study on the as yet little researched relationship between cognitive control, phonological perception, and cross-linguistic influence in children acquiring a third language (L3). Cross-linguistic influence (CLI), the “interplay” between languages acquired earlier or later (Kellerman & Sharwood-Smith, 1986), includes both negative and positive language transfer in all directions. While research on CLI in L3 acquisition has increased over the years, the specifics of phonological acquisition of an L3 is understudied. Furthermore, cognitive control, also subsumed under the term executive function (EF), refers to task monitoring, attentional switching, and inhibiting irrelevant or competing information (Miyake & Friedman, 2012). EF is also argued to be responsible for multilingual language control, and that a multilingual’s increased use of EF for language control boosts its efficacy and carries over to non-linguistic processing (Bialystok, 2017). Lev-Ari and Peperkamp (2012) propose that inhibition performance correlates with phonological processing; however, studies on the topic have yielded mixed results (e.g., Darcy, Mora, & Diadone, 2016). For the project, seventh grade pupils in Germany and Poland, with English as a second language and German or Polish as their respective first and third languages, perform language perception and production tasks in all of their languages, as well as two EF tasks (the Flanker task, an EF test of distractor inhibition, and the Corsi Block-Tapping Task, a test of visuo-spatial working memory). The objective of the PhD project is to expand the field with a longitudinal study investigating to what extent performance on EF tasks correlates with performance on phonological perception tasks, as well as the correlation between EF performance with type, extent, and/or direction of CLI (as determined from production data). Analysis will include the auditory method, the measure of reaction times and accuracies, and group-wise comparisons.