Meet the Cluster Community: Theodoros Marinis

1. Why are you studying inequality?

I am interested in inequality from the perspective of language and child language development. Approximately 7% of children have developmental language disorders and a delayed language development. This inborne inequality often has negative consequences for their success in school, and can lead to further inequalities and affect them throughout their lives. Another group of children whose language abilities can lead to inequalities are children with a migration background who do not speak well the language spoken in school.

2. What are you working on?

I design experiments to investigate how well children understand and produce language, and how the social background of the family, their linguistic input, and the children's cognitive abilities affect their language development. Last year we developed an experiment in my group together with colleagues at the University of Cologne and the University of Patras within a DAAD project to investigate the relationship between language and perspective taking. Now we are in the process of collecting data from primary school children. If you have children between the ages of 6 and 10 who would like to participate, please feel free to contact us!

3. How did you end up here?

Language can be a factor in children's perceptions of inequality and also in their political participation. In the Students' Perceptions of Inequality and Fairness (PerFair) project, we measure among others the children's language skills in order to examine the relationship between their language abilities, perceptions of inequality, and political participation.

As a member of the Cluster, I've also found that the language abilities of the participants in studies and the linguistic complexity of surveys can affect the results of many projects - awareness of this is rarely present in projects without the involvement of linguists. That's why it's great that the Cluster is exploring inequalities across disciplines.

4. Recent highlight?

Organizing the final conference of my Marie Curie project "The Multilingual Mind" and seeing the great results of the 15 PhD students.

5. Dream project?

A longitudinal study that will determine the relative contribution of genetic and environmental factors in language acquisition.

Prof. Dr. Theodoros Marinis is a Professor at the Department of Linguistics at the University of Konstanz and PI in the cluster project "Students' Perceptions of Inequality and Fairness (PerFair)". His research interests include language acquisition and processing as well as the nature of language processing in typical and atypical language development.