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.

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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.

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