Linguistics and English Language

Developmental linguistics

Theoretical and experimental research on linguistic development; Edinburgh Laboratory for Language Development; Bilingualism Matters

Our research investigates the different stages in first and second language acquisition and loss. We work across the whole lifespan, from newborn babies to language learning in old age. We study typical learners and atypical populations such as children with autism or Specific Language Impairment. 

We are especially keen to promote interdisciplinary research with people working on developmental topics in neighbouring disciplines. Research projects include collaborations with staff in Psychology, Education, and Medicine.


We have access to the full range of research facilities of the School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences, including the Edinburgh Laboratory for Language Development (ELfLanD)

Labs and facilities in Linguistics and English Language 

Edinburgh Laboratory for Language Development (ELfLanD)

Outcomes of our research on bilingualism are disseminated through the Bilingualism Matters centre

Bilingualism Matters


Staff working in this area include:

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Research interests
Professor Vicky Chondrogianni First and second language acquisition; child bilingualism; psycholinguistics; language impairment
Dr Jennifer Culbertson How languages are shaped by learning and use (in children and adults); typological universals; artificial language learning.
Professor Mits Ota Phonological and lexical development in L1 and L2; atypical phonetic/phonological development.

Dr Barbora Skarabela


Child language development; input (child-direct speech); systematicity; learnability; joint attention; discourse-pragmatics; morpho-syntax; referential expressions.
Professor Kenny Smith

Experimental models of cultural evolution; biological evolution of language learning biases/strategies; cross-situational learning

Professor Antonella Sorace Bilingual first language development; second language acquisition; syntax-pragmatics interface; argument structure; reciprocal effects of bilingualism and general cognition in early and late bilinguals.

Postgraduate study


We hold regular meetings to discuss our work. This term we will meet in room 3.10 of the Dugald Stewart Building. To receive email announcements for these meetings, contact Mits Ota.

Mits Ota

Developmental linguistics research seminars