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Research Areas

Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages

 

Language Acquisition & Language Processing Research Area

This research area concerns language acquisition at all moments across the lifespan and in all possible and imaginable contexts (typical and a-typical). Researchers specialize in child monolingual and bilingual, and adult language learning. They study children longitudinally in their natural environment over the first 3-4 years of their lives or study them cross-sectionally across more age groups, and involving larger groups of learners. They may also study grammatical aspects of the language, semantic aspects, or indeed look at the level beyond the sentence, and understand how learners organize information across clauses and in discourse. And in all of the research the English language plays an important role (as source or as target language). Some of the researchers take a linguistic perspective, whereas others take a psychological perspective, and as the department is oriented in both theoretical and applied directions, it also is involved in a number of projects that strive to innovate language teaching and assessment through cross-fertilization of linguistic research and teaching and assessment techniques beyond the walls of this University. Finally, the department also has researchers who look at non-typically developing children, i.e., those that can be characterized by normal intelligence but show specific problems with the use and production of language. This, in turn, can inform the medical profession, and psycholinguists interested in understanding how and where language is stored in the brain. 

Members of the Research Area are active within the Cambridge Processing and Acquisition of Language Lab (CamLAB).