Prof Cécile De Cat

Prof Cécile De Cat


My undergraduate degree was a Licence en Philologie Romane at the Belgian UCL (Louvain-la-Neuve).  After coming to the UK as a French assistant in a Durham school (thanks to a European exchange programme), I got an MA in Linguistics from the University of Durham, and then worked as a research assistant on a language acquisition project at the University of York.  I moved on to do a PhD in language acquisition (funded by the ESRC) at the University of York.  After an ESRC-funded post-doc also at  the University of York, I was appointed to the University of Leeds as a lecturer.  I have been Professor of Linguistics since 2015.  I am currently also Professor II at the Arctic University of Norway (UiT) in Tromsø and I lead the Speech and Language action project group at the Centre for Applied Education Research 


  • Speech & Language lead (Centre for Applied Education Research)

Research interests

Please see Cecile's personal website for research interests, projects and publications.  

My research focuses on the following themes:

  • Individual differences in language development (due to environmental and cognitive factors) and language maintenance (in heritage bilinguals)
  • Cross-linguistic influences in advanced L2 speakers
  • Information structure (e.g. topic, focus, root properties) and discourse competence
  • Experimental syntax
  • I have a keen interest in data science, including data visualisation using R. Related research topics include:
    • quantifying bilingual experience and
    • evaluating critical thresholds objectively.
<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>

Professional memberships

  • Editorial board member for the Journal of Child Language
  • Editorial board member for the Studies in Bilingualism (SiBil) series (Benjamins)
  • Action Project lead for Speech and Language at the Centre for Applied Education Research
  • Member of the LAGB
  • Member of the IASCL

Student education

I normally teach modules in language acquisition and formal linguistics, and supervise UG and MA dissertations. From 2024-25 I will start offering a module on Data Science for Linguists. 

Research groups and institutes

  • Language acquisition
  • Language pedagogy
  • Language processing
  • Linguistics and Phonetics
  • Formal Linguistics
  • Multilingualism
  • Language at Leeds

Current postgraduate researchers

<h4>Postgraduate research opportunities</h4> <p>We welcome enquiries from motivated and qualified applicants from all around the world who are interested in PhD study. Our <a href="">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>