For close to a century, experiments using artificial languages (hereafter ALs) have been a staple of psycholinguistic research (Esper, 1925). Contemporary AL research has spanned numerous levels of linguistic inquiry, from phonetic learning through syntax (see Culbertson & Schuler, 2019). This approach has also been successfully applied across development, from infants and children (see Saffran & Kirkham, 2018) through older adults (e.g., Schwab, Schuler, Stillman, Newport, Howard & Howard, 2016), even spanning cross-species comparisons (e.g., Wilson, Slater, Kikuchi, Milne, Marslen-Wilson, Smith & Petkov, 2013). Given the proliferation of AL methods for investigating issues related to first language acquisition, it is not surprising that research on bilingualism has also embraced this approach. This special themed section comprises four concise review articles describing how AL research has informed questions related to bilingualism and second language learning. The articles also discuss the strengths and limitations of this approach, as well as pointing to future directions for the field.