Theme 1: Language specific features (language typology) and language acquisitionThis interest less to most research involving cross-linguistic set ups (L1 and L2 source and target languages); true for all projects involved.
Theme 2: Linguistic versus cognitive determinantsInterest leads to direct comparisons between child L1 and adult L2 learners; 2L1 learners; L2 learners at different ages.Members of the cluster collaborate with theoretical and applied linguists in the department and with cognitive scientists working in other language-related departments in Cambridge (e.g. Experimental Psychology and the Cambridge Brain Science Unit).
Theme 3: DifferenceDifference between obligatory/categorical/grammatical features versus optional features/non-categorical/pragmatic-discourse features and the effect on language acquisition and in particular the phenomenon of variations.
Theme 4: Cognitive learning mechanismsCognitive learning mechanisms, such as implicit and explicit learning, and statistical learning and their neural instantiation. The learnability of different facets of language by such mechanisms, and the role of prior language-specific and universal linguistic knowledge.