We investigate how language is represented and processed – in particular, which traits of language representation and processing are universal and which vary depending on the particular specifications of each language.

1. Language processing.  We investigate how language is represented and processed in the bilingual mind. We examine Basque-Spanish and Spanish-Basque bilingual populations of different age of acquisition of the second language and of different proficiency levels. In our studies we use various experimental techniques: behavioral (i.e. reaction times) and electrophysiological measures such as Event-Related Potentials (ERPs) or eye-tracking.

2. Linguistic variation and Corpus studies. In order to study Basque / Spanish neurobilingualism, an investigation of the structure of Basque is required. Basque language is typologically different from its Indoeuropean neighbours, which are better known and studied. That is why another of the main objectives is to describe and analyze Basque in its synchronic dimension, especially focusing on its contemporaneous dialectal variations. To carry out both experimental and descriptive works a detailed linguistic analysis is required, especially corpus studies of lexical, morphological and syntactic frequencies as well as  their environment and the ways of variation.

3. Language and reading development. This research line is concerned with language and literacy development in monolingual and bilingual communities.  One part of this line is devoted to changes in the cognitive processes involved in language and reading during the first years of development using computerized tasks that portray specific processes with real time measures. Another part is devoted to the understanding of environmental factors that influence such development, such as linguistic context or family environment.


Micaela Portilla Research Center


Centro de Investigación Micaela Portilla Ikergunea
Justo Vélez de Elorriaga , 1, 01006

Phone: +34 945014294 |+34 945014354 | Fax: +34 945013200 | E-mail:


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