Merel is chief editor of the MPI TalkLing blog. She started her PhD at the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics in 2017. She is fascinated by the -in her opinion- pinnacle of human civilization: the invention of writing. This skill, only 5500 years old, allows humans to interact with people over vast distances across the globe and even distances in time. How does the acquisition of the reading skill changed us as a species; changed how we think; changed how we use language?
During her BA and MA Merel focused on how language skills, in particular the reading skill, develops in children and how this development can go awry. In her PhD she examines whether written and spoken words are processed differently. How do people store written and spoken words in their head? Is it easier to recognize a written or a spoken word? Do people learn spoken words more easily than written words? Also, how does your language ability and reading skill influence this? Do people who read a lot learn written words more easily than people who read less or have a reading impairment? Generally speaking, does your ability to read influence other language skills like speaking, speech comprehension and reading comprehension?
In her spare time, Merel also likes to sing and play the piano, go for a walk, petting cats and read (of course!)
Dr. Zeynep Azar was a PhD student at the Radboud University. She defended her thesis entitled ‘Effect of Language contact on speech and gesture: The case of Turkish-Dutch bilinguals’ on September 28 2020.
Dr. Limor Raviv was a PhD student at the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics. She defended her thesis entitled ‘Language and society: How social pressures shape grammatical structure’ on May 7 2020.
Dr. Ella Lattenkamp was a PhD student at the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics and the Ludwig-Maximilians University Munich. She defended her thesis entitled ‘Vocal Learning in the Pale Spear-Nosed Bat, Phyllostomus discolor’ on April 23 2020.