Prior to coming to the Department of Education Oxford, Liz held positions as an Associate Professor in the Division of Language Sciences at UCL and an Assistant Professor in Psychology at Warwick.
She was previously at Oxford as a Junior Research Fellow housed in the Department of Experimental Psychology and Linacre College. Her degrees are in Linguistics and Artificial Intelligence (University of Edinburgh; MA Hons) and Brain and Cognitive Sciences (University of Rochester, USA; MSc & PhD). Between her degrees, she worked briefly as Teacher of English to students of other languages.
Broadly speaking, Liz is interested in human language learning. Her research explores the extent to which this rests on input-driven, statistical learning processes, both in the context of learning a first native language, and in learning further languages in later childhood or adulthood. She is interested in learning that occurs both in naturalistic contexts and in input-limited contexts (such as the classroom), as well in the educational implications of statistical learning approaches for modern foreign language instruction. She also has an interest in the development of literacy and in language processing.
From a theoretical perspective, Liz has recently become interested in whether human language may be understood in terms of discriminative learning — a well-understood theory of learning developed in the study of animal learning. This work is funded by a grant from the Leverhulme Trust.
See also https://languagelearninglab-ox.com/
- Dong H, Clayards M, Brown H, Wonnacott E. 2019. The effects of high versus low talker variability and
individual aptitude on phonetic training of Mandarin lexical tones. PeerJ 7:e7191 https://doi.org/10.7717/peerj.7191
- Sinkeviciute, R., Brown, H., Brekelmans, G., & Wonnacott, E. (2019) The role of input variability and learner
age in second language vocabulary learning. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 1-26.
- Samara, A., Singh, D., & Wonnacott, E. (2018) Statistical learning and spelling: Evidence from an incidental
learning experiment with children. Cognition, 182, 25-30. DOI 10.1016
- Amridge, B., Barak, L., Wonnacott, E., Bannard, C., & Sala, G. (2018) Effects of Both Preemption and Entrenchment in the Retreat from Verb Overgeneralization Errors: Four Reanalyses, an Extended Replication, and a Meta-Analytic Synthesis. Collabra: Psychology, 4(1), 23.
- Giannakopoulou, A., Brown, H., Clayards, M., & Wonnacott, E. (2017) High or Low? Comparing high and low-variability phonetic training in adult and child second language learners. PeerJ 5:e3209; DOI 10.7717/peerj.3209
- Wonnacott, E., Brown, H., & Nation, K. (2017) Skewing the evidence: The effect of input structure on child
and adult learning of lexically-based patterns in an artificial language. Journal of Memory and Language, 95, 46-48. 10.1016/j.jml.2017.01.005 Rcode data
- Samara, A. Smith, K., Brown, H., & Wonnacott, E. (2017) Acquiring variation in an artificial language:
children and adults are sensitive to socially-conditioned linguistic variation. Cognitive Psychology, 94, 85-114
- Smith, K., Perfors, A., Fehér, O., Samara, A., Swoboda, K., & Wonnacott, E. (2017) Language learning,
language use and the evolution of linguistic variation. Phil. Trans. R. Soc. B, 372(1711), 20160051.
- Fehér, O., Wonnacott, E., & Smith, K. (2016) Structural priming in artificial languages and the regularisation
of unpredictable variation. Journal of Memory and Language. 91, 158–180.
- Wonnacott, E., Joseph, H. S. S. L., Adelman, J. S. and Nation, K. (2016) Is children’s reading “good
enough”? Links between online processing and comprehension as children read syntactically ambiguous sentences. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 69 (5). Pp. 855-879.
- Joseph, H. S., Wonnacott, E., Forbes, P., & Nation, K. (2014) Becoming a written word: Eye movements
reveal order of acquisition effects following incidental exposure to new words during silent reading. Cognition, 133(1), 238-248.
- Wonnacott, E. (2013) Statistical Mechanisms in Language Acquisition. In P. Binder & K. Smith (eds.). The
Language Phenomenon, Springer.
- Wonnacott, E., Boyd, J.K, Thomson. J.J., & Goldberg, A.E. (2012) Input effects on the acquisition of a
novel phrasal construction in 5 year olds. Journal of Memory and Language, 66, 458-478.
- Wonnacott, E. (2011) Balancing generalization and lexical conservatism: An artificial language study with
child learners. Journal of Memory and Language, 65, 1-14.
- Perfors, A. & Wonnacott, E. (2011) Bayesian modelling of sources of constraint in language acquisition. In:
Arnon, Inbal and Clarke, Eve V., (eds.) Experience, variation and generalization : learning a first language. Amsterdam ; Philadelphia: John Benjamins , pp. 277-294
- Smith, K., & Wonnacott, E. (2010) Eliminating unpredictable variation through iterated learning. Cognition,
- Perfors, A., Tenenbaum, J.B., & Wonnacott, E. (2010) Variability, negative evidence, and the acquisition of
verb argument constructions. Journal of Child Language, 37, 607-642.
- Wonnacott, E., Newport, E.L., & Tanenhaus, M.K. (2008) Acquiring and processing verb argument
structure: Distributional learning in a miniature language. Cognitive Psychology, 56, 165-209.
- Wonnacott, E., & Watson, G. (2008) Acoustic emphasis in four year olds. Cognition, 107, 1093-101.
Upon finishing her undergraduate degree in English Linguistics at King Abdulaziz University in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, and gaining the highest GPA award for three consecutive years, Hala started working as a Teaching Assistant at the same Institution.
She then received a scholarship from King Abdulaziz University to pursue her Masters education at the University of Leeds in the UK, which she was awarded with Distinction. She is currently completing a DPhil in Applied Linguistics at the University of Oxford, also funded by King Abdulaziz University.
Hala’s research interests lie in the area of second language reading, particularly in relation to the lower-level processes involved in reading, and predictors of reading comprehension ability.
- Alghamdi, H. (2014, March) An imbalanced form-meaning link: the case of Saudi EFL learners. Paper presented at the 20th international TESOL Arabia conference. Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
- Alghamdi, H. (2015, January) Arab ESL readers’ ‘vowel blindness’: a critical review. Paper presented at the 8th SSC conference. Imperial College London, London, United Kingdom.
- Alghamdi, H. (2015, September) The Psycholinguistic Grain Size Theory revisited: the role of context in Arabic reading. Paper presented at the 5th UK Orthography annual meeting. University of Bristol, Bristol, United Kingdom.
- Alghamdi, H. and Woore, R (2018, September) The contribution of second language decoding proficiency to second language reading comprehension. Paper presented at the British Association for Applied Linguistics 51st Annual conference. University of York St. John, York, United Kingdom.
- Alghamdi, H., Woore, R, and Alahmadi, B (2019, August). The Relative Importance of five predictors of L2 reading comprehension: evidence from Dominance analysis and Relative Weight Analysis. Paper presented at EUROSLA 29th Annual conference. University of Lund, Lund, Sweden.
- Alghamdi, H (2020, January) Can L2 decoding proficiency predict L2 reading comprehension performance? Paper accepted for presentation at ELT Saudi 2020 conference and expo. Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
Naosuke is a DPhil student whose research interests are Global Englishes and mutual intelligibility in English communication.
Naosuke finished an MSc in Applied Linguistics and Second Language Acquisition at the University of Oxford with distinction in 2019. His DPhil research focuses on the intelligibility of non-native English speakers. Specifically, he would like to seek what kind of English pronunciation features are critical for successful English communication between non-native English speakers.
Darshini Nadarajan is a doctoral student whose research is centrally concerned with unpacking the notion of what it means to be a ‘proficient’ English language teacher in Malaysia and consequently, the discourses, practices, and identities that manifest from aspiring to be ‘proficient’.
Drawing upon epistemologies of the South and situating her study within the dynamism of education as a performative practice, her research is informed by sociological, linguistics, and anthropological lenses that aim to decolonise and indigenise knowledge along with developing theorisations that are aligned with such worldviews. Animating her research is a persistent curiosity in exploring the power and politics of education. In particular, her research dwells on scholarship that interrogates and problematises the production of knowledge and power within the intersection of gender, race and class
Darshini’s research interests are influenced by her rich and diverse educational experiences from the East and the West. Prior to coming to Oxford, she was a teacher educator for the Ministry of Education Malaysia where she trained in-service English language teachers, designed and developed face-to-face and blended language courses, edited policy blueprints, as well as wrote speeches for Ministers. Darshini graduated from Macquarie University, Australia with a B.Ed TESOL and was subsequently awarded a Fulbright scholarship where she majored in Creative Writing and American Literature at Michigan State University. She then read her Masters in both TESOL from the University of Nottingham; and Educational Leadership and Management from the National Chung Cheng University, Taiwan.
Selected Conference Presentations
Darshini, N. (2019). Translingual Tensions in In-Service Teacher Education in Malaysia. Paper presented at the English Teaching & Learning International Conference, Taiwan, 27-28 July.
Darshini, N. (2018). Portraits of Cinderellas: A Hermeneutic Phenomenological Exploration of Identity and English Language Learning of Foreign Domestic Workers in Malaysia. Paper presented at the International Conference on TEFL and Applied Linguistics, Taiwan, 16-17 March.
Darshini, N. (2017). Hide! There’s a Zombie in School: Students’ Perceptions of Institutional Rules in an Urban Malaysian School. Paper presented at the Sociology of Education Conference, Taiwan, 5-6 May.
Darshini, N. (2016). What Do Parents Seek? Factors Influencing Malaysian Parents’ Decision to Enroll their Children in International Schools in Malaysia. Paper presented at the Hong Kong Comparative Education Conference, Hong Kong, 15-16 April.
Darshini, N. (2015). Fiction or Friction? Bringing the ‘Creative’ Back into Creative Writing. Paper presented at the RELC International Conference, Singapore, 13-15 March.
Darshini, N. (2015). From Michigan to Mekong: Lessons Learnt from a Technologically-Impaired Teacher. Paper presented at the CamTESOL International Conference, Cambodia, 28 February-1 March.
Darshini, N. (2014). Flipping Technology! How to Flip your Language Classroom with Minimal Hair Loss. Paper presented at the Fulbright Scholars’ Mid-Year Conference, United States of America, 11-15 December
Heather was awarded the 2019 FirstRand FNB Fund Scholarship for International Postgraduate study in Education
She completed her MA in Applied linguistics with distinction at the University of Johannesburg. After completing her MA research she began teaching in Johannesburg, during which she completed her PGCE part-time. Heather has come to Oxford after seven years of experience in foundation phase South African classrooms. Her research interests include improving the quality and fairness of assessments within the diverse linguistic environment of South African schools. She is also interested in improving the quality of teacher training within this complex multilingual context.
Shawna completed her undergraduate degree in Psycholinguistics at the University of Toronto in Canada, and later completed the MSc program in Applied Linguistics and Second language Acquisition at the University of Oxford.
She has a wide range of experiences in the field of Linguistics as a teaching and research assistant in areas such as theoretical linguistics, phonology, speech-language pathology, language acquisition, and creole studies. Being a native of Jamaica herself, Shawna has carried out extensive work on creole language acquisition. She worked with the University of the West Indies to draft the first Jamaican (Creole) as a Foreign Language course, and with the U.S Peace Corps to assess and revamp an existing language program for volunteers.
Shawna’s current research focuses on the development of writing skills among primary school learners in Jamaica who speak Jamaican Creole as a home language but are educated in English.
- Helms-Park, R., Tucker, S, & Dronjic, V. (2016). From proto-writing to multimedia literacy: scripts and orthographies through the ages. In Chen Bumgardner, V. Dronjic,, & R. Helms-Park (Eds.), Second Language Reading: Psycholinguistic and Cognitive Perspectives (pp. 1-31). New York, NY: Routledge Publishers.
- Eriks-Brophy, A., Green, S., & Tucker, S. (2013). Articulatory error patterns and phonological process use of preschool children with and without hearing loss. Volta Review.
Siyang has a passion for languages and is interested in how study abroad benefits the vocabulary gains of international students in the UK.
She obtained a BA from Sun Yat-sen University in China and masters from the University of Cambridge and the University of Sydney, specializing in language education. She has taught English in a higher vocational college for a few years in China and has accumulated rich work experiences in the education sector. She was the winner of the Richard Pemberton Prize for the best postgraduate presentation at BAAL Annual Conference 2019.
- Briggs Baffoe-Djan, J., & Zhou, S. (2020: in press). Close encounters of the third kind: quantity, type and quality of language contact during study abroad. In M. Howard (Ed.), Study Abroad and the Second Language Learner: Expectations, Experiences and Development. London: Bloomsbury.
- Zhou, S. (2017). A longitudinal study of the English learning motivation of higher vocational students in Sino-foreign programs – A case study of Guangdong Industry Polytechnic. Journal of Educational Development, 613: 81-85.
- Zhou, S. (2016). The implication of Dornyei’s motivation theory to the IELTS teaching for higher vocational college students. The Academic Journal of Guangdong Industry Polytechnic, 3: 49-52.
- Zhou, S. (2020). A longitudinal study of the phrasal verb development of study-abroad students for one academic year. Paper accepted at AAAL Annual Conference.
- Zhou, S. (2020). Informal language contact and phrasal verb acquisition of study abroad students in the UK. Paper accepted by AILA World Congress, Groningen, Netherlands.
- Zhou, S. (2019). The influence of informal language contact on the phrasal verb knowledge of international students. Paper presented at Second Language Research Forum, Lansing, US. 19-22 September.
- Zhou, S. (2019). “You just picked it up.” The influence of informal language contact on the phrasal verb knowledge of international students in the UK. Paper presented at BAAL Annual Conference. Manchester, UK. 28-31 August.