Shalom Zuckerman is an assistant professor in the department of linguistics and a researcher within the Utrecht institute of linguistics (UiL OTS). Shalom completed his BA (psychology and philosophy) and MA (cognitive psychology) in Tel-Aviv university, and his PhD over first language acquisition, in the university of Groningen. His main research interests are first language acquisition - with a special focus on the development of grammar and vocabulary, psycholinguistics, and multilingualism.


Innovative methodology for language research

Apart from trying to answer some of the 'big questions' of language (how do children learn language? how is language represented in the mind and the brain?), Shalom is also interested in improving the methodology through which language is investigated. He tries to come up with new and innovative methods to study these questions.


The Coloring Book method        


Together with his colleague Manuela Pinto, Shalom have created the Coloring Book  method for assessing language comprehension. This is a new and innovative method for testing children's (and in some cases also adults') progress in learning new words and grammatical constructions, through a playful digital coloring game.


Based on this method, Boom Publishers Amsterdam and Utrecht university have launched KleurenSchat, a new vocabulary observation-tool for children between 4 and 8 years old.


The word-search puzzle method                               


The word-search puzzle is a new method for investigating word recognition and the structure of the mental lexicon. Why is it the case that we tend to detect certain words quicker in a word-search puzzle, while other words are often missed? Which factors are contributing to the detection of words in the puzzle? Can we use this method, as an addition to the existing methods (such as lexical decision task and eye-tracking), to learn more about how words are organized in our mind? Shalom is exploring this method with both monolingual and bilingual speakers.




Shalom is also the main organizer of the annual EMLAR conference, where PhD and advanced MA students from all over Europe are gathering to learn about experimental methods in language acquisition research, and follow hands-on tutorials with various methodologies.