Simone E. Pfenninger

Simone E. Pfenninger, Prof. Dr.

Full Professor for English Linguistics

Phone: +41 44 63 43550

Room number: PLH 204



I am Professor of English Linguistics in the English Department of the University of Zurich, Switzerland. Before coming to Zurich, in August 2022, I worked as Associate Professor of Second Language Acquisition and Psycholinguistics for the University of Salzburg, Austria. 

I edit the Second Language Acquisition book series published by Multilingual Matters, and serve as President of the International Association of Multilingualism IAM ( and as Vice President of the European Second Language Association EuroSLA (

My principal research areas are multilingualism, psycholinguistics and individual learner differences in SLA, especially in regard to quantitative approaches and statistical methods and techniques for language application in education. My research sheds light on the effectiveness of early vs. late foreign language instruction, the difference between cognitive decline (as a function of aging) vs. the cumulative experience of learning, bilingual education in school contexts (with a focus on time and timing and intra-learner variability), language learners with specific learning differences (e.g. dyslexics), as well the question of how good older adults are at additional language learning - and how language learning benefits them.​

In our newly minted SLA lab at the University of Zurich, we are interested in the impact of occupational and educational life-course transitions on patterns in English language use and learning, e.g. the transition from early English-as-a-Foreign-Language (EFL) learning in primary school to EFL in secondary school; from EFL in secondary school to studying English at university; from pre-service to in-service EFL teaching; from L1 and L2 use in the labor force to retirement; from language learning difficulties to intervention.


For more information, see my personal website: