Language acquisition

A research area within the School of Languages, Cultures and Societies

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Language acquisition research

Our research

We study first language acquisition, bilingual acquisition (in children and adults) and second language acquisition (in children and adults). Our research focuses on:

  • Development of inferencing abilities
  • Developmental pragmatics
  • Interplay between language acquisition and cognitive development (e.g. the cognitive underpinnings of linguistic categories; the executive function correlates of bilingualism)
  • Acquisition of pronouns (clitic pronouns, resumptive pronouns) and coreference (especially anaphora)
  • Acquisition of referring expressions
  • Acquisition of adjectives
  • Bilingual and L2 speech development
  • Protracted L1 effects in very advanced second language learners
  • Individual variation in first and second language acquisition and in impaired populations
  • Socio-economic determinants of language acquisition
  • Quantifying language experience in bilingual children
  • Implicit acquisition vs. explicit learning of a second language

Our research on children’s acquisition of adjectives provides empirical evidence about how the language that children hear affects their own language abilities. In turn, this will provide evidence-based advice about how to design language-boosting interventions for young children across socioeconomic groups.

We are active members of the Language at Leeds research hub, and in particular of the following research satellites: Language Development and Cognition.

Our research facilities include the Human Communications Lab, and the Leeds Child Development Unit.

Researchers in conversation.

Discover our subject specialists who lead our research - from postgraduate research students to internationally-renowned academic staff.

Academics and partners undertaking research projects.

Our research is often collaborative and has an international impact. Explore the outcomes of our past and present research projects associated with language acquisition.