Dr Bene Bassetti

School of Education
Senior Lecturer

Contact details

School of Education
University of Birmingham
Edgbaston, Birmingham
B15 2TT, United Kingdom

Bassetti is interested in bilingualism/multilingualism and second language learning, and has investigated the learning and use of a second language writing system, and the effects of second language learning and bilingualim on thought.

Feedback and office hours

Please email b.bassetti@bham.ac.uk for an appointment


  • PhD, University of Essex
  • MA, Birkbeck, University of London
  • Laurea (=BA Hons), La Sapienza University of Rome, Italy


After an ESRC-funded PhD at the University of Essex and short-term contracts at various UK universities, Bassetti was a part-time Lecturer at Birkbeck, University of London, a Lecturer at the University  of York, and an Associate Professor at the University of Warwick, before joining the University of Birmingham in September 2018.


Language and thought in L2 learners and bilinguals

This line of research investigates whether knowing more than one language may affect the way people think, as predicted by the linguistic relativity hypothesis.

Bassetti’s research in this area focusses on the effects of grammatical gender on perceptions of the masculinity or feminity of objects and animals. Other topics included the effects of language on calendar processing.

Research area overview: Bassetti, B. & Cook, V. J. (2011) Language and cognition: The second language user. In V. J. Cook & B. Bassetti (Eds.) Language and bilingual cognition (pp. 143-190). Oxford, UK: Psychology Press.

Specific topic overview: Bassetti, B. & Nicoladis, E. (2016). Research on grammatical gender and thought in early and emergent bilinguals. In B., Bassetti & E., Nicoladis (Eds.) Grammatical gender and thought in early and emergent bilinguals. Special issue. International Journal of Bilingualism 20, 3-16. DOI: 10.1177/1367006915576824

Representative publication: Bassetti, B. (2014) Is grammatical gender considered arbitrary or semantically motivated? Evidence from monolinguals, second language learners and early bilinguals. British Journal of Psychology 105(2), 273-294. DOI: 10.1111/bjop.12037   PMID: 24754813


Second language writing systems

This line of research investigates the effects of knowing more than one writing system (also called orthography or script), including effects on reading and writing processes, metalinguistic awareness and speech production.

Within this area, Bassetti has investigated the effects of interword spacing on reading and word awareness in learners of Chinese as a Second Language (ChineseL2), and the effects of pinyin (romanised Chinese) on speech production and phonological awareness in ChineseL2 learners. A recent three-year funded project investigated the effects of English orthographic forms (word spellings) on phonology in ItalianL1 speakers of EnglishL2..

Research area overview: Cook, V. J. & Bassetti, B. (2005). An introduction to researching Second Language Writing Systems. In V. J. Cook & B. Bassetti (Eds.), Second language writing systems (pp. 1-67). Clevedon, UK: Multilingual Matters.

Specific topic overview: Bassetti, B. (2008) Orthographic input and second language phonology. In T. Piske & M. Young-Scholten (Eds.), Input matters in SLA (pp. 191-206). Clevedon, UK: Multilingual Matters. DOI: 10.1017/S0142716414000393

Representative publication: Bassetti, B. (2017) Orthography affects second language speech: Double letters and geminate production in English. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 43(11), 1835-1842.  PMID: 28504532  DOI: 10.1037/xlm0000417

Other activities

  • British Psychological Society, Chartered Psychologist (CPsychol) and Associate Fellow (AFBPsS)
  • Chartered Institute of Linguists, Chartered Linguist (CL), and Fellow (FCIL)
  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA)