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Bilingual Language Development Lab

The Bilingual Language Development (BiLD) Lab is a collaborative research group consisting of faculty, graduate students, and undergraduate students interested in linguistic, educational, and sociolinguistic aspects of bilingualism and second language acquisition, with a focus on mentorship and advocacy for multilingual individuals.

BiLD Lab logo

The BiLD Lab is specifically interested in the following areas of second and heritage language research:

  • Morphology
  • Syntax
  • Language choice
  • Code-switching
  • Identity formation
  • Role of bilingual, second, and heritage language schools

We partner with schools and educators in and around Chicago who are committed to the development of bilingualism for PK-12 students. Our partner schools work with us on research pertaining to second, world, and heritage language development. In one of our partner schools, Puerta Abierta Spanish Preschool, we have been observing how students learn a second language and maintain a heritage language during early childhood. We are working with school administrators and teachers to better understand the role of second and heritage education in not only developing their Spanish language proficiency, but also children’s identities as bilingual individuals and their attitudes toward bilingualism.


"The study conducted by DePaul University has affirmed and validated my belief about the multifaceted advantages to preschoolers from learning in a Spanish immersion environment."

María Cuéllar Weisgal
Founder and Director
Puerta Abierta Spanish Preschool


Sunny Park-Johnson, Ph.D.

Carolina Barrera-Tobón, Ph.D