Paula Fikkert

Paula Fikkert

Professor of Linguistics
Principal investigator at CLS, Radboud University and the
Donders Institute at Radboud University


Paula Fikkert is Professor Linguistics, specialized in child language acquisition at the Radboud University in Nijmegen since 2007. She completed her undergraduate at the University of Groningen, graduated at the Leiden University (1994, cum laude, AVT dissertation prize), and previously held several postdoc positions at the University of Konstanz (Germany), and Radboud University. She has been guest professor at various universities, among which the University of Tromsø (Norway) and the University of Oxford (UK).

She was research director of the Centre for Language Studies (CLS) at Radboud from 2011 to 2015 and is currently a member of the Social Sciences and Humanities Board of the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO).

She co-authored articles and books with researchers from Oxford, Cambridge, Toronto, Ottawa, Lisbon, São Paolo, Riken Brain Science Institute, and CNRS (Paris), Austin (Texas), MPI for Cognitive and Brain Sciences (Leipzig), PennState, Macquarie University (Sydney). She has given keynotes, invited talks and summer school courses in Europe, the USA, Canada and Brazil. She serves on a number of editorial boards, including Language Acquisition, The Linguistic Review, Nederlandse Taalkunde, and the Journal of Portuguese Linguistics.

The research by Fikkert and her team concerns the acquisition of phonological representations in the lexicon and the role of these representations in perception and production. Phonological representations mediate between the acoustic signal and meaning in speech perception and between meaning and the articulatory output in speech production. Thus, phonological representations in the brain lay the foundation for successful communication. Yet, the nature of phonological representations that are built up during language acquisition is far from clear. This program aims at unravelling this by using behavioral and neurocognitive methods in the Baby Research Center.

In addition to scientific research, Fikkert and her team are also involved in public outreach through language festivals ( and collaborating with societal partners like Kentalis, with a project investigating language development in children with developmental language disorders ( and Child Tuition, developing language learning games for children for children learning Dutch or English as a second language (

Website of Research Group:


Hahn, L.,  T. Benders, T. M. Snijders, P. Fikkert (2018). Infants’ sensitivity to rhyme in songs. Infant Behavior and Development 52: 130-139.

Fort, M., Lammertink, I., Peperkamp, S., Guevara-Rukoz, A., Fikkert, P., & Tsuji, S. (2018). SymBouki: a meta-analysis on the emergence of sound symbolism in early language acquisition. Accepted in Developmental Science. First published: 15 March 2018.

Stoehr, A, T. Benders, J. van Hell, P. Fikkert (2018). Heritage language exposure is associated with voice onset time of Dutch-German simultaneous bilingual preschoolers. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition. Open Access. Impact factor: 3.01

Ramachers, S., S. Brouwer, P. Fikkert (2017). How Native Prosody affects Pitch Processing during Word Learning in Limburgian and Dutch Toddlers and Adults. Frontiers in Psychology (Language Sciences). Open Access. htpps:// Impact factor 2.323.

Tsuji, S., Fikkert, P., Minagawa, Y., Dupoux, E., Filippin, L., Versteegh, M., Hagoort, P., & Cristia, A. (2017). The more, the better? Behavioral and neural correlates of frequent and infrequent vowel exposure. Developmental Psychobiology 59(5):603-612. doi: 10.1002/dev.21534. Impact factor: 2.392

Ramachers, S., S. Brouwer, C. Gussenhoven, & P. Fikkert (2017). No perceptual reorganization for Limburgian tones? A cross-linguistic investigation with 6-to-12-month-old infants. Journal of Child Language. Online publication. Impact factor: 1.642

Stoehr, A., Benders, T., van Hell, J. G., & Fikkert, P. (2017). Second language attainment and first language attrition: The case of VOT in immersed Dutch-German late bilinguals. Second Language Research: 1–36. DOI: Impact factor: 1.405

Tsuji, S., Fikkert, P., Yamane, N., & Mazuka, R. (2017). ‘Language-general biases and language-specific experience contribute to phonological detail in toddlers’ word representations’. Developmental Psychology, 52(3): 379-390. Impact Factor: 3.21.

Buckler, H. & Fikkert, P. (2016). Using distributional statistics to acquire morphophonological alternations: Evidence from production and perceptionFrontiers in Psychology 7:540. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2016.00540. Impact factor: 2.323

Buckler, H. & P. Fikkert (2016). ‘Dutch and German 3-year-olds’ representations of voicing alternations’. Language and Speech 59(2), 236-265. DOI: 10.1177/0023830915587038. Impact Factor: 1.04.

Van der Feest, S. V. H.  & P. Fikkert (2015). ‘Building phonological lexical representations’. Phonology 32: 207-239. doi:10.1017/S0952675715000135. Impact Factor: 1.69.

Bergmann, C., Bosch, L.T., Fikkert, P., Boves, L. (2015). ‘Modelling the noise-robustness of infant’s word representations: The impact of previous experience’. PLoS ONE 07/2015; 10(7):e0132245. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0132245. Impact Factor: 3.23

Lammertink, I., Casillas, M., Benders, T., Post, B., Fikkert, P. (2015). ‘Dutch and English toddlers’ use of linguistic cues in predicting upcoming turn transitions’. Frontiers in Psychology 04/2015; 6. DOI:10.3389/fpsyg.2015.00495. Impact Factor: 2.80.

Tsuji, S., Mazuka, R., Cristia, A., & Fikkert, P. (2015). ‘Even at 4 months, a labial is a good enough coronal, but not vice versa’. Cognition 134: 252–256. doi:10.1016/j.cognition.2014.10.009. Impact Factor: 3.63.

Altvater-Mackensen, N. & P. Fikkert (2015). ‘A cross-linguistic perspective on the acquisition of Manner of Articulation features’. Language Acquisition 22(1): 2–39. DOI: 10.1080/10489223.2014.892945. Impact Factor: 1.10.

Anderssen, M., Y. Rodina, R. Mykhaylyk & P. Fikkert (2014). ‘The acquisition  of the Dative Alternation in Norwegian’. Language Acquisition 21: 72–102. 1.10 Impact Factor

Altvater-Mackensen, N., S. van der Feest & P. Fikkert (2014). ‘Asymmetries in early word recognition: the case of stops and fricatives’. Language Learning and Development 10(2): 149–178.DOI: 10.1080/15475441.2013.808954.

Paulus, M. & P. Fikkert (2014). ‘Conflicting social cues: 14- and 24-month-old infants’ reliance on gaze and pointing cues in word learning’. Journal of Cognition and Development 15(1): 43–59.

Simon, E., M. J. Sjerps & P. Fikkert (2014), ‘Phonological representations in children’s native and non-native Lexicon’. Accepted in: Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 17(1): 3–21. DOI: 1.71 Impact Factor

Bergmann, C., L. ten Bosch, P. Fikkert & L. Boves (2013). ‘Segmentation, recognition, generalisation: Investigating assumptions in the headturn preference procedure’. Frontiers in Language Sciences. 2.80 Impact Factor

Fikkert, Paula & Nicole Altvater-Mackensen (2013). ‘Variation in Language Acquisition: insights into variation across children based on longitudinal Dutch data on phonological acquisition’. Studia Linguistica 67(1): 148–164.

Anderssen, M., P. Fikkert, R. Mykhaylyk & Y. Rodina (2012). ‘The Dative Alternation in Norwegian Child Language’. Nordlyd 39.1, special issue on ‘The Grammar of Objects’, eds. Kristine Bentzen and Antonio Fábregas, pp. 24–43. Tromsø.

Bergmann, C., M. Paulus & P. Fikkert (2012). ‘Preschoolers’ Comprehension of Pronouns and Reflexives: The Impact of the Task’. Journal of Child Language 39 (4): 777–803). DOI:

Zamuner, T. S., A. Kerkhoff & P. Fikkert (2012). ‘Phonotactics and morpho-phonology in early child language: Evidence from Dutch’. Applied Psycholinguistics 33 (3): 481–499. DOI:

Paula Fikkert