Maki Kubota

Thesis title: Language change in bilingual returnee children: Mutual effects of bilingual experience and cognition

PhD Linguistics and English Language

Year of study: 3

  • Linguistics and English Language
  • School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences

Contact details



Dugald Stewart Building

3 Charles Street, Edinburgh
Post code


I am currently in my final year of PhD (planning to submit in November 2018). I speak Japanese, English, and German. I have lived in many countries; including Japan, USA, Canada, Sweden, Germany and UK. I enjoy teaching languages to others and have qualifications in teaching English and Japanese as a second language. 

Research summary

My research interest includes: child bilinguailism, language attrition, relationship between cognition and langauge, and language learning motivation and attitude. 

Current research interests

My PhD research examines (1) what aspects of the language are affected by change in language environment (2) how do cognition and language interact within the developmental process of children. I looked at language change in bilingual 'returnee' children; namely, children who were immersed in a second language dominant environment and returned to their first language environment. Tracking the development of such a specific population allows us to disentangle the effects of age from bilingual experience. By testing these children longitudinally, using a wide range of linguistic and cognitive tasks, we found that (1) not all aspects of the language are sensitive to language change and certain structures that impose cognitive load may be especially vulnerable to effects of language change (2) cognition influences language change; that is, better 'developers' of cognition are better 'retainers' of the language. The findings contribute to the field of bilingualism and cognition by illuminating the fact that cognitive development, in addition to language experience, may affect (and even offset) the effect of language change within the developmental process of bilingual children

Past research interests

I am also interested in topics within the field of Applied Linguistics such as: learner motivation, attitude, Willingness to Communicate--which explore the affective factors that are involved in language learning. In addition I plan to expand my work, focusing on the 'process' of language learning such as learning strategies and learner autonomy.

Current project grants

I am funded by the Japan Student Services Organization to undertake my three-years PhD degree at the University of Edinburgh.