I was born and grew up in Remscheid, Germany. After “Abitur“ (GCE A-levels) I studied English and Russian and then worked in London as a language teacher for Industrial Language Training Consultants. During that time I began to ask myself: “What happens in people’s minds when they learn a language?“ This question has been with me ever since.
I applied to study psychology in order to find out. In 1972 I received a BSc in Social Psychology from the London School of Economics and Political Science, and subsequently, in 1976 a PhD, also from the London School of Economics. From 1978 to 1983 I was a junior lecturer at Institut für Psychologie, Technische Universität Berlin, where I obtained my habilitation (post-doctoral qualification) in 1983. From 1984 to 2006 I was professor of Developmental Psychology at Institut für Psychologie, Carl-von-Ossietzky Universität Oldenburg. From 2008 to 2013 I was Honorary Visiting Emerita Professor at the Division of Psychology and Language, University College London. Since 2014 I have been living in the Federal State of Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany. I carry on with my research and give lectures and seminars. After many years of research I can partially, but not completely answer the question of what happens in people’s minds when they learn a language.