Lourdes Barquín Sanmartín

Thesis title: The acquisition of tense and modality in Spanish as a second and third language in native English speakers. Contrastive analysis of grammatical transfers.


Lourdes holds an undergraduate degree in Translation and Interpretation Studies (English, French and Spanish) and a minor in simultaneous interpretation. She also spent her second year at the University of Sheffield as part of her Eramus Exchange Programme. During her last year of university, she worked as a Spanish and English teacher and collaborated with the editorial Saure as a proofreader. After she graduated in 2016, she was granted an award by the Spanish Ministry of Education to work as a Spanish assistant in Paris and, once the academic year finished in France, she moved to the UK.

She settled in Liverpool, where she obtained her Postgraduate Certificate in Secondary Education specialising in Modern Foreign Languages, spending three years teaching in a British school. During this time, she combined her full-time job in school with her MA inTeaching Spanish as a Foreign Language. In 2020, she was accepted to start her PhD studies at the University of Edinburgh, where she is currently researching language acquisition and Spanish linguistics under the supervision of Dr Carlos Soler Montes and Dr Michael Ramsammy. She has also received the British Spanish Society scholarship in collaboration with BBVA.

Lourdes' main research interests are grammatical transfers from the L1 and L2 into the L3. Due to her background in secondary education, she focuses specifically on students with L1 English, L2 French and L3 Spanish as this is the predominant language combination among British students, with French being taught first in primary school and Spanish in secondary school. Her hypothesis is that the similarities between French and Spanish can facilitate the learning of Spanish as a third languages and, therefore, improve students' overall interest and motivation for the learning of foreign languages.


  • PhD in Spanish Linguistics and Language Acquisition, The University of Edinburgh (2020-today).
    • Project title: The acquisition of aspect and modality in Spanish as a second and third language in native English learners.  
    • Supervisors: Dr Carlos Soler Montes (School of Languages) and Dr Michael Ramsammy (School of Linguistics)
  • MA in Applied Linguistics in Teaching Spanish as a Foreign Language, Universidad Europea del Atlántico (2018-2020)

    • Final dissertation title: La influencia en la motivación de los alumnos de primer curso de secundaria (11-12 años) del centro Saint John Plessington Catholic College (Reino Unido) ante una exposición continua de la L2 en un curso de ELE nivel A1: Una propuesta didáctica basada en el enfoque por tareas.
  • Postgraduate Certificate in Education (French and Spanish), The University of Chester (2018)

    • School Direct Programme
      • First and third placement as a Spanish teacher: Saint John Catholic School
      • Second placement as a French teacher: Saint Mary's Catholic School
    • Qualified Teacher Status (QTS)
    • Newly Qualified Teacher (NQT). Induction programme.
    • Recently Qualified Teacher (RQT)
  • BA (Hons) in Translation and Interpretation, The University of the Basque Country (2016)

    • Translation Studies at The University of Sheffield. Erasmus Exchange Programme (2013-2014)
    • Specialisation on simultaneous interpretation
    • Final dissertation title: "Estudio analítico de la evaluación diagnóstica en la enseñanza de la Traducción" (published on addi.ehu.es)
  • Qualified examiner of the official Spanish DELE certificates by Instituto Cervantes (all levels).

Responsibilities & affiliations

  • Volunteer at Bilingualism Matters Research Centre (Edinburgh)
  • Tutor in Translation at the University of Birmingham (DL MA Translation Studies)
  • Spanish Teacher at King's College 
    • Spanish Language Level 2
    • Postgraduate Spanish Language Course

Undergraduate teaching

  • Spanish 4. Oral for Spanish 
  • Spanish Year Abroad online language learning course (Year 3)
  • Foundation Spanish Language 2

Postgraduate teaching

  • Tutor in Translation at the University of Birmingham (DL MA Translation Studies).
  • Spanish Teacher at King's College

Research summary

My research focuses on how English native speakers learn Spanish as a third language and how their knowledge of French as a previously acquired language can help the learning of Spanish. This is particularly interesting when the second (L2) and the third languages (L3) are typologically similar, such as French L2 and Spanish L3. Having found that French is the most commonly taught L2 in the UK followed by Spanish L3, I am interested to know whether students that have a previous knowledge of French can make less mistakes and more progress in Spanish compared to those monolinguals who only study Spanish. This research project is centered around the acquisition of the subjunctive mood and the past tense in Spanish, particularly the difference between 'imperfecto' and 'indefinido', as these are two of the most challenging grammatical areas for native English speakers.

Current research interests

Second and third language acquisition; language transfers; positive language transfers from typologically similar languages; translanguaging; intercomprehension; plurilingual approach; language learning and teaching in multilingual contexts.

Affiliated research centres

Project activity

  • Research assistant in "The Edinburgh Spanish Learner Corpus. Data-driven language learning and teaching" project (May-June 2021)
  • Conference organisation assistant in "Encuentro ELEUK 2021 Conference: Research and Practice in Spanish Language Teaching" (June 2021)
  • Research assistant in the "Multilingual Storytelling" project by Bilingualism Matters Research Centre (January-today)

Past project grants

- British Spanish Society – BBVA Scholarship Award 2021
- Language Teacher Training Scholarship. British Council (2017)
- Spanish Language Assistant Programme, Académie de Versailles. Ministerio de Educación de España (2016)
- Erasmus Exchange Programme, University of Sheffield. Ministerio de Educación de España (2013)

Papers delivered

Bilingualism Matters Research Symposium 2021. Celebrated on 25th - 26th  October 2021.

  • Poster presentation: The Acquisition of modality and aspect in Spanish among native English speakers learning French L2 and Spanish L3

SGSAH Interconnected Scotland 2021, Research Showcase

  • Presentation: Learning French and Spanish under the Scottish 1+2 policy

Encuentro ELEUK 2021 by ELEUK Association for the Teaching of Spanish in Higher and Adult Education. Celebrated on 9th, 10th and 11th June 2021.

  • Presentation title: El aprendizaje del modo subjuntivo y el pasado en español L2 y L3
  • Paper publication in Encuentro ELEUK 2021
  • Assistant conference organiser 

ForLingua: la calidad y perfil del profesor de lengua by Universidad de Alcalá (Alcalingua). Celebrated on 13th - 15th May 2021.

  • Presentation title: La adquisición del subjuntivo y del pasado en español como tercera lengua. Análisis contrastivo de las transferencias lingüísticas en nativos de inglés que son aprendices de francés como segunda lengua y español como tercera lengua
  • Paper publication in ForLingua Revista Digital Noviembre 2021