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Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages and Linguistics


Professor Henriëtte Hendriks

Photo of Henriëtte Hendriks
Professor in Language Acquisition and Cognition
Theoretical and Applied Linguistics
Faculty of Modern & Medieval Languages & Linguistics
Contact details: 
Telephone number: 
+44 ((0)1223 767383

Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages
English Faculty Building
9 West Road
University of Cambridge
Sidgwick Avenue



Dr Henriette Hendriks is Professor of Language Acquisition and Cognition. Her main research area is cognitive linguistics, and she researches the relationship between language and cognition through work in child first and adult second language acquisition.

Dr Hendriks studied Sinology at Leiden University, and then started her career at the Max-Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics where she worked as a coordinator on three different projects, two DFG projects on child first language acquisition (PI Dr Maya Hickmann), and an ESF funded project on adult second language acquisition (The Structure of Learner Varieties, PI Prof Wolfgang Klein).

In 1998 she moved to the University of Cambridge, where she has been lecturing and researching first and second language acquisition, discourse analysis*, and linguistic relativity. During her time in Cambridge, she was PI on the EF-Cambridge Research Unit grant, Co-I on a large number of other grants (European and UK based). Currently she is PI and Deputy Director of the Centre for Lifelong Learning and Individualised Cognition (CLIC).

Major research questions deal with ways in which languages differ in their expression of concepts (person, time, space, causality), and how this impacts on first and second language acquisition. More recently, this has led to research question concerning the relationship between cognitive flexibility and language acquisition and multilingualism.

View full list of publications here.

Dr Hendriks welcomes inquiries from potential MPhil and PhD students with research interests relevant to her interests.

*Please note that Dr Hendriks does NOT work in the area of critical discourse analysis.


Teaching interests: 

First and Second Language acquisition


Cognitive Linguistics


Research interests: 

First and Second Language acquisition

Cognitive Linguistics

Multilingualism and Cognitive Flexibility

Reference to Person, Space and Time


Recent research projects: 

PI in Centre for Lifelong Learning and Individualized Cognition (CLIC)

Co-I in MEITS Project, Strand 5: Early Language Learning in a Taught Context

PI on Cambridge Language Sciences (CLS) Incubator Fund small project: Learning a language at your brain’s pace. In collaboration with Zoe Kourtzi, Vicky Leong and John Williams.

PI on the CLS Incubator project: Talk about mind and space: paternal and maternal contributions to school readiness. With Prof. Clare Hughes and Elian Fink.

Co-I International Project entitled: Semantic domains of deictic terms: Investigating the nature of fast meaning processes in language (DeicTeS). PI: Prof. Maja Brala Vukanovic.


Published works: 


Hendriks, H., Hickmann, M., & Pastorino-Campos, C. (2021) Running or crossing? Children’s expression of voluntary motion in English, German, and French. Journal of Child Language, pp. 1–24. doi:10.1017/S0305000921000271

Soroli, E., Hickmann, M. & Hendriks, H. (2019). Casting an eye on motion events: Eye tracking and its implications for linguistic typology. In: M. Aurnague & D. Stosić (Ed.), The semantics of dynamic space in French: Descriptive, experimental and formal studies on motion expression, pp. 249-288. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Tusun, A., & Hendriks, H. (2019). Voluntary motion events in Uyghur: a typological perspective. Lingua, 226, pp. 69-88.

Hickmann M, Hendriks H, Harr A-K, Bonnet P (2018). Caused motion across child languages: a comparison of English, German, and French. Journal of Child Language,45,6, 1247-1274.

Hendriks, H., & Hickmann, M. (2015). Finding One’s Path into Another Language: On the Expression of Boundary Crossing by English Learners of French. In: Modern Language Journal, 99, Supplement, pp. 14-31.

Hendriks, H., & Hickmann, M. (2011). Space in second language acquisition. In: Vivian Cook and Benedetta Bassetti (eds.) Language and Bilingual Cognition. Hove, UK: Psychology Press, pp. 315-339. ISBN: 978-1-84872-924-7.

Hendriks, H., Hickmann, M., & Demagny, A.C. (2008). How English native speakers learn to express caused motion in English and French. In: Acquisition et Interaction en Langue Étrangère, 27. Pp.15-41. ISSN: 1234-969X.