Gordana Hržica, PhD

Assistant Professor
Department of Speech and Language Pathology

Phone: +385 (0)1 245 7443
E-mail:
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Consultations: room 32
Scientific bibliography (IRB)

Assistant Professor
Department of Speech and Language Pathology

Phone: +385 (0)1 245 7443
E-mail:
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Consultations: room 32
Scientific bibliography (IRB)

Short bio

I am an assistant professor at the Department of Speech and Language Pathology at the Faculty of Education and Rehabilitation Sciences, University of Zagreb. My main scientific interests are language acquisition, natural language processing, bilingualism, and language assessment.

I have graduated from the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Zagreb (Department of Croatian Language and Literature, Department of Comparative Literature). Additionally, in July 2011, I have defended my PhD dissertation (title: “Aspect, Tense, and Actionality in Acquiring Croatian as a First Language”) at the Faculty’s Department of Linguistics.

My work has been presented in 9 book chapters, 30 scientific papers, and over 70 times at conferences in Croatia and abroad (list of publications). I have 11 citation records in Web of Science (h-index: 2), 31 in Scopus (h-index: 3), and 232 in Google Scholar (h-index: 6).

In addition to that, I am a co-author of two adapted language tests: the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test (PPVT-III-HR) and the Test for Reception of Grammar (TROG-HR), as well as one newly developed language-screening test. These tests are the first standardised language testing materials for Croatian.

I have spent a year as a Marie Skłodowska - Curie scholar at the Department of Developmental Psychology and Socialisation, University of Padua. Furthermore, I took part in a number of scientific and professional projects, including COST actions and EU-funded actions (6th framework, IPA). I had an active role in various activities in these projects, including writing project proposals (list of projects).

Courses

I am currently teaching five courses at the Department of Speech and Language Pathology at the Faculty of Education and Rehabilitation Sciences, University of Zagreb:

  • Basics of Croatian Language
  • Phonetics
  • Corpora in Child Language Acquisition
  • Croatian as a First and Second Language
  • Bilingualism

In previous years I have also participated in the following courses:

  • Psycholinguistics
  • Developmental Psycholinguistics
  • Bilingualism and Language Impairment

Some of these courses were held in English. I am an expert in e-learning, including online testing. I have co-mentored eight graduate theses: seven at the Department of Speech and Language Pathology (University of Zagreb), and one at the Department of Developmental Psychology and Socialisation (University of Padua). As a result of this, five papers have been published and six conference papers presented.

Education

1998 - graduated from the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Zagreb (Department of Croatian Language and Literature, Department of Comparative Literature)

2011 - graduated with a PhD degree from the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Zagreb (Department of Linguistics)
Title of PhD dissertation: "Verb Categories of Aspect, Time and Actionality in Acquiring Croatian Language” (extended abstract in English)

PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT

November 2014 - November 2015 – Marie Curie Piscopia fellowship at the Department of Developmental Psychology and Socialisation, University of Padua (project: Language Dominance of Bilingual Speakers Perceived as Balanced (LADOBI)), programme Piscopia Marie Curie Action (COFUND), Framework 7 (FP7), Padua, Italy.

October 2014 – one week at the Department of Developmental Psychology and Socialisation, University of Padua (Erasmus+ mobility programme), Padua, Italy.

May 2012 – one month at the Department of Clinical Linguistics, University of Reading (funded by the project COST Action IS00804 Language Impairment in Multilingual Society), Reading, United Kingdom.

July 2012 – Interdisciplinary Approaches to Exploring the Mental Lexicon (1st NetWords Summer School, 5 days, organised by project NETWORDS – European Network on Word Structure), Dubrovnik, Croatia.

October 2011 – June 2012 – E-Learning Academy (organised by CARNet – Croatian Academic and Research Network), Zagreb, Croatia.

February 2010 – Training School in Language Acquisition Methods (5 days, organised by project ISCH COST A33 Cross-Linguistically Robust Stages of Children's Linguistic Performance with Application to the Diagnosis of Specific Language Impairment), Berlin, Germany.

April 2009 – one month at ZAS – Centre for General Linguistics (funded by project ISCH COST A33 Cross-Linguistically Robust Stages of Children's Linguistic Performance with Application to the Diagnosis of Specific Language Impairment), Berlin, Germany.

December 2008 – one month at ZAS – Centre for General Linguistics (funded by project ISCH COST A33 Cross-Linguistically Robust Stages of Children's Linguistic Performance with Application to the Diagnosis of Specific Language Impairment), Berlin, Germany.

November 2008 – Workshop on Writing and Speaking about Science Effectively (three-day workshop organised by the University of Zagreb), Zagreb, Croatia.

October 2006 – one month at the Department of Linguistics, University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria.

December 2006 – Workshop Assessing Language Knowledge (one-day workshop organised by the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Zagreb), Zagreb, Croatia.

Scientific interests

All my research experience is in a relatively young, yet highly interdisciplinary and propulsive field of psycholinguistics, and in a Croatian research context. My scientific work is extensively interconnected with other members of the Laboratory for Psycholinguistic Research. By now I have authored or co-authored more than 30 scientific papers.
Important links:

Croatian Scientific Bibliography (full list of publications)

Google Citations (citations)

I have four main research interests:

  1. Acquisition of Croatian language
    I was involved in the speech sample transcription and morphological coding of CCCL – the Croatian Corpus of Child Language (Kovačević 2002, part of CHILDES – the Child Language Data Exchange System, the biggest database of child language). CCCL was a starting point for the first descriptions of language acquisition in Croatian. Currently I am coordinating language sampling and transcription of one child to be included in CCCL. I am one of the authors of the Croatian Child Language Frequency Dictionary (Hržica, Kuvač Kraljević, Štefanec, in press), a project that should continue with the Morphological Database of Croatian Child Language (in preparation). In my PhD I have used CCCL to provide the first detailed description of verb acquisition in Croatian. Seven journal papers have been published, two of them in international proceedings.
  2. Language acquisition in cross-linguistic research
    The literature about language acquisition is in a great sense driven by research on English language and often resulting with recognition of English-based results as generally applicable. A cross-linguistic approach takes into consideration typological features of languages as predictability factors for the course of language acquisition. I have contributed to this line of research with works in which a unified methodology and theoretical background were used to study many languages grouped by their typological features. Eight papers have been published, two of them in the journal First Language, which is highly respected in the field of language acquisition (Impact: 0,545 - SCImago), one in a Mouton de Gruyter book (5th place of WASS-SENSE), and one in a conference proceedings listed in Current Contents.
  3. Language processing in typical and atypical populations, including bilingual speakers
    My work included the development of paradigms for objective language assessment on both behavioural (e.g. sentence repetition task, verbal morphology task) and neurocognitive level (reading task with controlled syntactic complexity). Some of the research was conducted on language processing of children with SLI and dyslexia employing behavioural tasks, event-related potentials (ERP) technique, and eye-tracking technique. I was involved in designing language tasks for research on bilingual speakers of Croatian. Seven articles with strong linguistic or sociolinguistic theoretical background, dealing with specific aspects of language processing in atypical populations, have been published.
  4. Adult language
    A group of researchers at the Department of Speech and Language Pathology is currently working on the development of research materials for adult language studies. The sampling of adult spoken language in a narrowly defined social context contributes to the Croatian Adult Spoken Language Corpus (Kuvač Kraljević and Hržica, published in TalkBank, the world largest database of spoken language). The corpus includes situational sampling of adults with aphasia with the final goal to include it in AphasiaBank (part of TalkBank). The development of these corpora is one of the activities of the project Adult Language Processing (HRZZ-2412), funded by the Croatian Science Foundation. Another project, Computer-Assisted Writing for Persons with Language Difficulties (RC2.2.08-0050, European Regional Development Fund, European Commission), resulted with the Croatian Corpus of Non-Professional Written Language (Kuvač Kraljević, Hržica, and Kologranić Belić), that was used in the development of an application for language technology transfer. Two papers have been published and one is in preparation.

Projects

I have been and currently am involved in cross-linguistically oriented projects focused on developing assessment materials targeting comparable features of different languages. Networking projects COST A33 (No 8 - focused on language assessment in Specific Language Impairment - SLI) and COST IS0804 (No 4 - focused on disentangling SLI from language dominance effects in bilingual speakers) have shaped a great deal of my research activities in the early years of my scientific career.

INTERNATIONAL SCIENTIFIC PROJECTS

Ongoing:

Language Acquisition in Pre- and Protomorphology, project leader W. U. Dressler, Austrian Academy of Science.

Collaboration of Aphasia Trialists (CATs) (COST IS1208, project leader Marian O`Brady, University of Glasgow, 2013-2017).

Finished:

2014 – 2015 – Language Dominance of Bilingual Speakers Perceived as Balanced (LADOBI, Piscopia Marie Curie Action (COFUND), Framework 7 (FP7)), Department of Developmental Psychology and Socialisation, University of Padua, project leaders: Maja Roch and Gordana Hrzica.

2009 – 2013 – Language Impairment in a Multilingual Society (COST IS0804), project leader Sharon Armon-Lotem, Bar-Ilan University.

2009 – 2011 – Vagueness, Approximation, and Granularity (EUROCORES LogICCC project – Logical Modelling in Interaction, Communication, Cognition, and Computation), European Scientifc Foundation (ESF), project leaders: Manfred Krifka and Urlich Sauerland, Centre for General Linguistics.

2006 – 2010 – Cross-Linguistically Robust Stages of Children's Linguistic Performance with Application to the Diagnosis of Specific Language Impairment (COST A33), project leader Urlich Sauerland, Centre for General Linguistics.

2002 – 2003 – Language Acquisition in Contrastive Linguistics (Croatian-Austrian bilateral project), project leader W. U. Dressler, Austrian Academy of Science.

CROATIAN SCIENTIFIC PROJECTS

Ongoing:

2014 – 2017 – Adult Language Processing (HRZZ-2421, Croatian Science Foundation), project leader Jelena Kuvač Kraljević.

Finished:

2014 – 2016 – Computer-Assisted Writing for Persons with Language Disorders (RC2.2.08-0050, European Regional Development Fund, European Commission), project leader Jelena Kuvač Kraljević.

2013 – 2014 – Word Processing of Speakers with Language Disorders (University of Zagreb), project leader Marijan Palmović.

2012 – 2013 – Development of the Neurocognitive Language Diagnostic Procedures (University of Zagreb), project leader Marijan Palmović.

2006 – 2013 – Higher Cortical Functions and Language: Developmental and Acquired Disorders (MZOŠ 0130131484-1488), project leader Melita Kovačević.

2003 – 2006 – Language Acquisition in Cross-Linguistic Context: Psycho- and Neurolinguistic Approach (MZOŠ 0013002), project leader Melita Kovačević.

PROFESSIONAL PROJECTS

Finished:

2013 – 2015 – Prerequisites of Academic Equality: Early Recognition of Language Disorders (EU – Human Resources Development, IPA4.1.2.2.02.01.c02) project leader Jelena Kuvač Kraljević.

2006 – 2009 – Establishing Interdisciplinary Curricula and Centre for Postgraduate Studies and Research in Cognitive Science in Croatia (TempusCD_JEP-41043-2006), project leader Melita Kovačević.

2003 – 2005 – Language and Cognitive Neuroscience (Tempus CD_JEP 18089-2003), project leader Melita Kovačević.

2000 – 2003 – Communicative Competence in Language Pluralistic Environment (Tempus CD_JEP15085-2000), project leader Melita Kovačević.

Professional activities

The biggest part of my professional work revolves around language assessment. By now I have co-authored five professional papers, three language tests, and one narrative task.

  1. Development of language assessment materials
    I have co-authored Croatian adaptations of the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test and the Test of Reception of Grammar and Screening Test Potjeh). Being the first Croatian language assessment materials, they have significantly raised the objectivity of language assessment in clinical and research settings in Croatia. I am involved in an ongoing adaptation of the Reynell Developmental Language Scales. My work included the development of the Croatian version of MAIN (Multilingual Assessment Instrument for Narratives), a narrative task suitable for language assessment of multilingual speakers. Knowledge relevant for the development of testing material is research-based. Four professional papers have been published to describe the issues of test adaptation.
  2. Development of language corpora and data retrieval tools
    Language corpora are valuable data sources for researchers in various fields in general, but especially for practitioners such as speech and language pathologists, language teachers, translators, etc. The Croatian Adult Spoken Language Corpus (Kuvač Kraljević and Hržica) is published and the Croatian Corpus of Non-Professional Written Language (Kuvač Kraljević, Hržica, and Kologranić Belić) is in preparation. Advanced data retrieval tools (search engines based on lemmatisation and morphological coding) are being prepared for both of these corpora. The data used for the Child Language Frequency Dictionary (Hržica, Kuvač Kraljević, Štefanec, in press) will be freely available in the Morphological Database of Croatian Child Language (in preparation).
  3. Development of a language technology computer application
    OmniAspect.hr, a software development company, has developed a computer application that enables faster and more accurate writing for people with language difficulties. The application is based on the Croatian Corpus of Non-Professional Written Language and language technologies developed and trained at the corpus.
  4. Popularisation of Science
    I was involved in two activities aimed at popularisation of science. The first one was a workshop Language side of the Brain that was part of the Brain Awareness Week (organiser: Croatian Institute for Brain Research, 2013). The workshop was performed over 20 times in the course of one week (March 11-17, 2013). The second activity was a workshop Little Brain-Recording-Room that was part of the Researchers’ Night (organiser: University of Zagreb, December 27, 2013).
  5. Public Talks
    I have regularly held invited public talks in various societies and bodies. Up to now I have held eight of them, mostly in Croatia (6), but also at the School Meeting at the University of Padua, and at the Institute of Linguistics at the University of Vienna:
    December 17, 2015 – Croatian Philological Society, Department of Early Language Development: What Can Be Revealed from the Analysis of the Narrative Monolingual and Bilingual Samples.
    June 25, 2015 – School Meeting, University of Padua: Recipe for a Bilingual Child (And Why We Should Care).
    May 25, 2015 – Croatian Philological Society, Department of Phonetics: Balanced Bilingual Speakers and Other Unicorns: How to Assess Bilingual Language Knowledge.
    January 26, 2012 – Croatian Philological Society, Department of Early Language Development: Computer-Based Retrieval of Language Development Measures and Error Analysis.
    November 21, 2011 – Croatian Philological Society, Zagreb Linguistic Circle: Tense, Aspect, and Actionality in the Acquisition of Croatian Language.
    November 29, 2006 – Krapina-Zagorje County Professional Council of Class Teachers: Bilingualism in Croatia.
    October 23, 2006 – University of Vienna, Institute for Linguistics, Vienna, Austria: Research in Specific Language Impairment in Croatia.
    April 21, 2004 – Croatian Philological Society, Department of Early Language Development: Acquisition of Case, Number, and Gender in Croatian.
  6. Trainings
    I have held three two-day courses in e-learning for the employees of the Faculty of Education and Rehabilitation Sciences. I have also participated in two trainings organised for school teachers and one for preschool teachers:
    October and November 2015 – Evolution of E-Courses, Faculty of Education and Rehabilitation Sciences (16 hours).
    December 2014 – E-Learning: Course Development, Faculty of Education and Rehabilitation Sciences (16 hours).
    December 2013 – E-Learning: Introduction and Methods, Faculty of Education and Rehabilitation Sciences (16 hours).
    December 2014 – Second Training of Preschool Teachers, project IPA4.1.2.2.02.01.c02, Šibenik (8 hours – one of the speakers).
    November 2005 – Croatian as a Non-Native Language – Croatian for Roma Children, Beli Manastir (8 hours – one of the speakers).