Department of Education

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‘Plurilingual teaching and its effects on foreign language development

Professor Holger Hopp, Dr Jenny Jakisch and Sarah Sturm (Technische Universität Braunschweig)

Research indicates that plurilingual teaching, i.e. integrating the learners’ (home) language repertoire into the teaching of a foreign language (FL), can improve FL achievement (Busse et al., 2019; Leonet et al., 2019). Against this background, we will present findings of a project in which a plurilingual approach to teaching English as a foreign language (EFL) was implemented in four primary schools (year 4) in Lower Saxony, Germany, for 6 months. In each school, the English lessons of one group (intervention group) were extended by integrating the participants’ home languages whereas in the other group (comparison group) regular “monolingual” EFL lessons were conducted.

In our talk, we will present the research design as well as the teaching methods and materials that were used in the intervention group. We will also discuss how the young learners experienced the plurilingual lessons. Furthermore, we will show which effects the different teaching approaches had on the participants’ English achievement (vocabulary and grammar) and metalinguistic awareness by presenting data from longitudinal pre- and post-tests.

The data indicate that both monolingual and plurilingual participants gain FL competence during the 6-month intervention. However, the intervention group did not show differential learning gains compared to the comparison group. When testing for specific grammatical phenomena that were subject to instruction in the plurilingual lessons (e.g. questions), we found that the intervention group outperformed the control group. We conclude that addressing specific learners‘ plurilingual resources may support them in learning a foreign language. In our talk, we discuss the results and the potentials of plurilingual foreign language teaching.

References: Busse, V., Cenoz, J., Dalmann, N., & Rogge, F. (2019). Addressing Linguistic Diversity in the Language Classroom in a Resource‐Oriented Way: An Intervention Study With Primary School Children. Language Learning, 31(1), 1–38.

Leonet, O., Cenoz, J., & Gorter, D. (2019). Developing morphological awareness across languages: translanguaging pedagogies in third language acquisition. Language Awareness, 79(2), 1–19.


Holger Hopp: Holger Hopp is a professor of English Linguistics at the Technische Universität Braunschweig (Germany). In his research, he investigates child and adult L2/3 acquisition and processing as well as heritage language acquisition and attrition. He uses several psycholinguistic methods to determine the directionality, scope and degree of cross-linguistic influence in bi- and multilingual speakers of different ages.

Jenny Jakisch: Jenny Jakisch is lecturer and researcher at the department of English and American Studies, Technische Universität Braunschweig. Her PhD dealt with the role of English language teaching (ELT) for fostering multilingualism. Her current research interests include teacher education, classroom management and inclusive ELT.

Sarah Sturm: Sarah Sturm is a research assistant and PhD student at the department of English and American Studies, Technische Universität Braunschweig. Her research interests include multilingualism, teaching English as a foreign language (with a focus on young learners) and learning strategies. In her PhD project, she is investigating the use of language learning strategies by young multilingual foreign language learners.




‘Settling Into Semantic Space: An Ambiguity-Focused Account of Word-Meaning

Professor Jenni Rodd (UCL)

Most words are ambiguous: individual wordforms (e.g., “run”) can map onto multiple different interpretations depending on their sentence context (e.g., “the athlete/politician/river runs”). Models of word-meaning access must therefore explain how listeners and readers are able to rapidly settle on a single, contextually appropriate meaning for each word that they encounter. I will present a new account of word-meaning access that places semantic disambiguation at its core.

The model has three key characteristics. (i) Lexical-semantic knowledge is viewed as a high-dimensional space; familiar word meanings correspond to stable states within this lexical-semantic space. (ii) Multiple linguistic and paralinguistic cues can influence the settling process by which the system resolves on one of these familiar meanings. (iii) Learning mechanisms play a vital role in facilitating rapid word-meaning access by shaping and maintaining high quality lexical-semantic knowledge.

Bio: Professor Jenni Rodd conducts research into how we understand the meanings of the words that we hear or read, and how we combine together the information from individual words to construct representations of the meanings of sentences. She has a particular interest in how we use our recent and long-term experience with language to improve the efficiency of these processes. She is the director of The Word Lab and a Professor of Cognitive Psychology in the Department of Experimental Psychology, UCL.



‘Multilingualism in underprivileged contexts: literacy and cognition

Professor Ianthi M. Tsimpli (University of Cambridge)

Much research in multilingualism and its effects on cognition and language ability has focused on individuals in western societies. Socioeconomic status, language of education and language prestige have been identified as some of the factors that appear to influence bi/multilingual individuals’ linguistic and cognitive profile although most research on the role of bilingualism on cognition has not capitalized on such factors. I will focus on multilingualism in India, one of the most linguistically diverse countries in the world (UNESCO, 2009). Linguistic variation across Indian speakers is vast and includes variation in the number of home languages used, societal/community languages, official medium of instruction in schools and actual language practices in the classroom.

As language is the primary vehicle of education and learning, variation in any of the above measures of multilingualism can affect the language experience of the school child and have knock-on effects on the development of school skills (basic and higher literacy and numeracy), or cognition. Focusing on the data from 1200 children from urban primary schools in Delhi and Hyderabad and from rural areas in Patna, all from deprived or severely deprived socioeconomic backgrounds, I will try to disentangle how language experience and linguistic diversity in the child’s immediate environment (school, family, community) affect school skills and cognitive abilities.

Participants attend government primary schools in slum vs. non-slum urban areas of Delhi and Hyderabad, or town vs. rural areas in Patna, as part of a four-year, large-scale research project (MultiLila). They were assessed on mathematical reasoning, word, sentence and text reading, as well as non-verbal IQ, inhibition and complex working memory skills. Children attend English-medium or regional language medium schools (Hindi or Telugu), meaning that their assessment, textbooks and language used in the classroom is the official medium of instruction.

Although the language of textbooks and assessment match the official medium of instruction, language practices in the classroom include language mixing with English-only input ranging from zero to 40%, in English-medium schools. Taking into account the child’s home language(s) and the extent to which they are used in the classroom I will present the participants’ performance on linguistic, reasoning and cognitive skills. Results indicate a significant effect of multilingualism and linguistic diversity in the cognitive and school skills of children from underprivileged socioeconomic background.


Professor Ianthi Maria Tsimpli works on language development in the first and second language in children and adults, as well as on language impairment, attrition, bilingualism, language processing and the interaction between language, cognitive abilities and print exposure. She recently held the positions of Professor of Multilingualism and Cognition at the School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences, University of Reading and the positions of Professor of Psycholinguistics and Director of the Language Development Lab at the Department of Theoretical and Applied Linguistics at Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece.

Professor Tsimpli held a ‘Guest of the Rector’ Fellowship at the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities and the Social Sciences for six months in 2012, a Visiting Professorship for six months at the University of Cyprus in 2007, and a Visiting Scholar position at the Collaborative Research Centre on Multilingualism at the University of Hamburg in 2005. She is Associate Editor of Lingua and member of the Editorial Board of the journals Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, Second Language Research, Linguistic Approaches to Bilingualism, Language Acquisition: A Journal of Developmental Linguistics, Journal of Applied Linguistics, Biolinguistics (e-journal), Journal of Greek Linguistics and of the Book Series “Language Acquisition and Language Disorders”.



‘A teaching intervention may not reduce the effects of L2 orthographic forms on L2 pronunciation and phonological awareness’

Dr Bene Bassetti (University of Birmingham)

The orthographic forms (spellings) of second language words can affect how L2 learners and L2 users pronounce L2 sounds, even after years of immersion in an L2 environment. It is however not known whether a training intervention can reduce such orthographic effects on L2 phonology. This paper will report the results of a study (Bassetti, Cerni & Masterson, under review) that investigated whether a teaching intervention can reduce the effects of L2 orthographic forms on L2 pronunciation and awareness.

Previous studies found that Italian learners of L2 English produce and categorise the same English consonant as two different sounds: a short consonant if it is spelled with one letter, and as a geminate (a long consonant) if it is spelled with double letters. This is because in written double consonant letters represent geminates, and Italian native speakers therefore recode English double consonant letters. Bassetti and colleagues used a randomised controlled trial design, and allocated 100 Italian high-school students to a phonological intervention or a control group.

The teaching intervention group explored the correspondences between double letters and sound length in English, using reflection, explicit teaching and practice. The control group practiced the same English spoken and written words without mentions of orthography. All participants performed a delayed word repetition task and phonological awareness task twice, pre- and post-intervention. The teaching intervention had no effects. It appears that once orthographic effects on L2 phonology are established, they are difficult to eliminate, whether with extensive naturalistic exposure or with a teaching intervention.

Reference: Bassetti, B., Cerni, T., & Masterson, J. (under review) Efficacy of a teaching intervention to reduce the effects of orthographic forms on second language phonology: A randomized controlled trial

Bio: Dr Bassetti is an applied linguist, who is researching bilingualism and second language learning. In particular, Dr Bassetti is investigating the learning and use of second language writing systems (scripts/orthographies), and bilingual cognition (language and thought in bilinguals and language learners). Dr Bassetti leads Language and Condition at Birmingham (LACAB).

Nathan Thomas is an Applied Linguistics Tutor on the MSc Applied Linguistics for Language Teaching (ALLT) course.

He also teaches on the MA TESOL (Pre-Service) course at the UCL Institute of Education, where he is completing his doctoral research under the dual supervision of Jim McKinley (UCL) and Heath Rose (Oxford).

His research focuses mainly on theoretical developments in the field of language learning strategies and on international students’ strategic learning in higher education. He is also involved in other projects pertaining to English medium instruction and English language teaching. His work has been published in leading academic journals such as Applied Linguistics, Applied Linguistics Review, ELT Journal, Journal of Second Language Writing, Language Teaching, System, and TESOL Quarterly. He has also presented at more than 50 conferences in 14 countries all over the world.

Before his assuming his current roles, Nathan worked for ten years in China and Thailand, most recently as Director of English as a Foreign Language for a private educational consulting company in Beijing. He completed an MSc Teaching English Language in University Settings (which is now the MSc ALLT at Oxford), MEd International Teaching, MA Applied Linguistics (ELT), BA English, and various teaching certificates, all while working full time.

For further information, please click here.



Bowen, N. & Thomas, N. (2020). Manipulating texture and cohesion in academic writing: A keystroke logging study. Journal of Second Language Writing, 50, 100773.

Pun, J. & Thomas, N. (2020). English medium instruction: Teachers challenges and coping strategies. ELT Journal, 74(3), 247-257.

Thomas, N. & Osment, C. (2020). Building on Dewaele’s (2018) L1 versus LX dichotomy: The Language-Usage-Identity State model. Applied Linguistics, 41(6), 1005-1010.

Zhang, L.J., Thomas, N., & Qin, T.L. (2019). Language learning strategy research in System: Looking back and looking forward. System, 84, 87-92.

Thomas, N., Rose, H., & Pojanapunya, P. (2019). Conceptual issues in strategy research: Examining the roles of teachers and students in formal education settings. Applied Linguistics Review (Advanced Access), 1-18.

Thomas, N. & Brereton, P. (2019). Pedagogical Implications: Practitioners respond to Michael Swan’s ‘Applied Linguistics: A consumer’s view.’ Language Teaching, 52(2), 275–278.

Thomas, N. & Rose, H. (2019). Do language learning strategies need to be self-directed? Disentangling strategies from self-regulated learning. TESOL Quarterly, 53(1), 248-257.

Logos for the Bell Foundation, UNBOUND and the Department of Education

Published today and written by Professor Steve Strand and Dr Ariel Lindorff, Department of Education, the report titled ‘English as an Additional language, Proficiency in English and rate of progression: Pupil, school and LA variation’ can be accessed here:

Over the past year most children have experienced some degree of learning loss, and that loss is significant for pupils who speak English as an Additional Language (EAL) who may have also experienced language learning loss during this period. Therefore, as pupils return to school in England, it is essential that schools and policy-makers apply the key insights on EAL learner attainment from a five-year research programme in order to provide appropriate catch-up support and resources to enable EAL learners to mitigate the language and learning lost during school closures.

The research programme investigated the relationships between English as an Additional Language, Proficiency in English and the educational achievement of EAL learners at school. The fourth and final report¹ by the University of Oxford, funded by The Bell Foundation and Unbound Philanthropy, has been published today. This research series has identified that it takes learners more than six years to progress from the lowest to the highest levels of English language proficiency, it has also shown that it is only at the highest levels of proficiency that learners are able to fully access the curriculum and therefore achieve their academic potential. This evidence demonstrates that as part of the Government’s catch-up plans, it is important to include and focus catch-up support and resources on learners who use EAL as it may take them longer to regain both the language and learning lost during school closures.

As there are almost 1.6 million learners recorded as using ‘EAL’ in England which constitutes just under one-in-five (19.5%) of all pupils aged 5-16, it is likely that many teachers will be working in, or have experience of, teaching multilingual classes. ‘EAL’ is used to refer to any pupil who has been “exposed to a language at home that is known or believed to be other than English. It is not a measure of English language proficiency or a good proxy for recent immigration.” (Department for Education (DfE), 2020).

However, learners using EAL are a diverse and heterogeneous group with country of birth, time of arrival in the school system, first language spoken, previous education and background all contributing to that diversity and their likely educational achievement². For example, an EAL learner could be a second or third generation ethnic minority student who speaks English fluently but has a second language as part of their cultural heritage, alongside a new arrival to the English school system who is new to English.

As the report highlights, the term “EAL is too blunt a tool to understand pupils’ language learning needs”, it does not provide any information on a student’s likelihood to succeed academically or what targeted support they will need. This is what the research series set out to discover so that schools have the information they need in order to target their support in the right place and in the right way.

The four reports in the research programme provide robust evidence on why Proficiency in English is the single most important factor in determining a pupil’s likelihood to fulfil their academic potential and why assessment of Proficiency in English, as well as how that informs the support a learner will need, is so important:

  • Proficiency in English is central to understanding achievement and levels of need among pupils who use EAL. It can explain 22% of the variation in EAL pupils’ achievement, compared with the typical 3-4% that could be statistically explained using gender, free school meal status and ethnicity³.
  • Where Proficiency in English is measured⁴, for example in the devolved nations, it can be seen that EAL pupils who are starting to acquire proficiency score below the national average, those who are at mid-point proficiency are very close to the national average and those with the highest levels of proficiency typically score higher than First Language English (FLE) speakers³. This shows that at high levels of proficiency there are positive associations between speaking more than one language and achievement. What is typically a barrier to achievement is low proficiency in the language of instruction at school. Pupils need to be supported so that they can acquire the proficiency that they need to access the curriculum and successfully demonstrate learning.
  • For two-thirds of pupils who are new to English at the start of Reception it takes more than six years to progress to the highest levels of proficiency⁵. EAL pupils who entered school in later year groups are found to make the same rate of progress in the same amount of time as those joining in Reception¹. This means that pupils entering the English school system as new to English, at whatever age, may need at least six years of support before they achieve the highest levels of Proficiency in English.
  • The judgement of Proficiency in English, and the time to progress across levels, is strongly influenced by the individual making the assessment¹, rather than necessarily reflecting a difference in the pupils themselves. Accurate, consistent assessment is necessary in order to ensure that pupils are given appropriate support to progress in Proficiency in English and gain access to the curriculum.
  • Although schools in England are not required to assess and record Proficiency in English, it is interesting to note that in Wales, where proficiency is measured, it was found that pupils assessed as having the highest level of proficiency in Year 6 were much more likely than others to be assessed as monolingual English/Welsh¹ in Year 7. This suggests that there may be some association of the term “EAL” with “needing language support” rather than “exposure to another language at home” (DfE). This indicates a need for training in how to conduct Proficiency in English assessment and provides further evidence for the need to record Proficiency in English in addition to an EAL flag, as the two are independent dimensions.
  • There is no evidence that being in a school with a high proportion of pupils acquiring Proficiency in English has any negative association with achievement for other pupils in the school, either overall or specifically for pupils with First Language English.

“As schools re-open to all pupils in England, the findings of this research programme are particularly timely, as they help schools to understand why it is essential, as well as how, to support EAL learners to mitigate the language and learning loss they may have experienced during school closures. As the research shows, the term ‘EAL’ is not a sufficient measure of the need for language development support. Schools need to be able to accurately establish a learner’s current level of Proficiency in English, then determine the type of support required to meet an EAL learner’s language and learning needs and set tailored support strategies which will enable learners to regain and/or improve their English language skills. As the research has demonstrated, it is only when learners achieve the highest levels of proficiency that they are able to fulfil their academic potential. This is why it is vital that the Department for Education does not overlook this group of learners in its plans for catch-up programmes, because EAL learners have not only lost learning, they have also lost language learning during school closures and as a result, may take longer to return to their previous attainment levels. The Bell Foundation is asking the Department for Education to introduce a requirement for schools to assess their learners’ Proficiency in English levels for their internal monitoring purposes and we encourage schools to robustly assess Proficiency in English as it is integral to student achievement.” Diana Sutton, The Bell Foundation

Professor Steve Strand, Department of Education, University of Oxford, lead research author goes further, “Our research programme provides evidence on what influences an EAL learner’s likelihood to succeed academically, something that is both important and relevant following a year of disrupted education caused by the pandemic. The empirical evidence shows that ‘English as an Additional Language’ is a poor indicator of pupils’ likely level of educational achievement, instead, it is their Proficiency in English that is central to understanding achievement and levels of need. It also shows that being bilingual can have positive associations with achievement as pupils at the highest levels of English proficiency typically have higher educational achievement than their monolingual peers. The converse of this, is that those at the lowest levels of proficiency will underperform, which, as the evidence shows, will have a detrimental impact on their life chances. This fact is often overlooked due to misleading average exam and assessment scores. As a result of these findings it is clear that there is a need for a universally understood and applied definition of what constitutes the different levels of proficiency. As our evidence shows, on-going, consistent and independently moderated and reliable use of teacher-assessed Proficiency in English would benefit all learners who use EAL as it informs the specific support a learner will need to fulfil their academic potential.”

To conclude, drawing on the commissioned research, as evidenced above, The Bell Foundation has identified three practical strategies that teachers can use to support learners who use English as an Additional Language to succeed. This is particularly important after prolonged school closures, or absence from school, as it will help to mitigate any language and learning loss experienced during those periods:

  1. Use initial and on-going assessment of both language proficiency and cognitive skills to establish the level of need among individual learners. Use evidence-informed tools and resources, for example The Bell Foundation’s award-winning EAL Assessment Framework and digital Tracker, to undertake robust and consistent assessment, moderation and recording of Proficiency in English levels.
  2. Set tailored targets and support strategies for teaching and learning to support learners to progress to higher levels of proficiency. Through achieving academic linguistic proficiency⁶ learners will be able to fully participate in school and access the curriculum and, as a result, to fulfil their academic potential.
  3. Where possible, engage with training and CPD on how to assess Proficiency in English to ensure consistency of measurement and how to support learners at each level of proficiency.

¹ The report analysed nine-years of anonymised Proficiency in English data from the Welsh Pupil Level Annual School Census (which the research team established to be equally relevant in England). Strand, S. & Lindorff, A. (2021) ‘English as an Additional Language, Proficiency in English and rate of progression: Pupil, school and LA variation’, University of Oxford, The Bell Foundation and Unbound Philanthropy

² Hutchinson, J. (2018) ‘Educational Outcomes of Children with English as an Additional Language’, Education Policy Institute, The Bell Foundation and Unbound Philanthropy,

³ Strand, S. & Hessel, A. (2018) ‘English as an Additional Language, Proficiency in English and pupils’ educational achievement: An analysis of Local Authority data’, University of Oxford, The Bell Foundation and Unbound Philanthropy,

⁴ The Department for Education in England introduced a five-point Proficiency in English scale, from A ‘New to English’ to E ‘Fluent’, to assess the English language proficiency of learners using EAL in the 2017 School Census. This meant that schools began to be aware of the importance of proficiency. Although the requirement was removed in 2018, the Department did issue an advisory note in 2019 (Department for Education (June 2019) ‘Attainment of pupils with English as an additional language’) which acknowledged the diversity of this cohort of learners. The Department for Education’s five-point Proficiency in English Scale (now withdrawn) ranged from ‘A’ New to English, through ‘B’ Early Acquisition, ‘C’ Developing Competence, ‘D’ Competent, to ‘E’ Fluent

⁵ Strand, S. & Lindorff, A. (2020) ‘English as an Additional Language: Proficiency in English, educational achievement and rate of progression in English language learning’, University of Oxford, The Bell Foundation and Unbound Philanthropy

⁶ Academic linguistic proficiency refers to mastery of abstract and formal communication relating to specific subject areas which contributes to educational success. This includes listening, speaking, reading, and writing about subject area content material, as well as skills such as comparing, classifying, synthesizing, evaluating, and inferring. (Cummins, 1981, 2000)

‘International evidence for primary and secondary schools suggests an extended period of remote learning is likely to result in poorer educational outcomes, particularly for early-years children, students from low socioeconomic backgrounds, those with English as a second language, those with special learning needs, and students who are generally less engaged with school, though data is limited and varied.’ Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Behaviours (SPI-B) and the Department for Education: Benefits of remaining in education: Evidence and considerations, November 2020:

How to cite this report:

Strand, S. & Lindorff, A. (2021) ‘English as an Additional Language, Proficiency in English and rate of progression: Pupil, school and LA variation’, University of Oxford, The Bell Foundation and Unbound Philanthropy



Passcode:  238741

Recent research often publicized in the media shows that bilingualism can enhance some aspects of mental functioning. In most cases these differences favour bilinguals: for example, metalinguistic skills and language learning abilities, understanding of other people’s perspectives, and mental flexibility in dealing with complex situations have all been found to be positively affected by bilingualism in both children and adults. However, these benefits are not always found. One reason is that bilingualism is a continuous dimension affected by a variety of linguistic, social and individual factors, rather than a dichotomous one. Another reason is that the effects are always defined with respect to monolingual standards; however, research has shown that the first language always changes – in selective but predictable ways – upon exposure to a second language (Sorace 2011, 2016). These findings reveal that language in the brain is highly adaptive and imply that bilinguals are not (and should not be expected to be) monolingual-like in either of their languages. Understanding the new emerging picture requires an interdisciplinary effort that redefines the standard of comparison in bilingualism research. This in turn has implications for the public understanding of bilingualism.

About the speaker

Antonella Sorace is Professor of Developmental Linguistics at the University of Edinburgh. She is a Fellow of the British Academy, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and a Fellow of the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce. A short biography for her can be found here.

Join the webinar on the day, with this link.

This talk is a work-in-progress report that discusses some recent research on tests of productive vocabulary. It is relatively easy to test second language learners’ receptive vocabulary, but testing their productive vocabulary is much more of a problem. The talk will describe a minimalist approach that (somehow) manages to extract a lot of information about the words learners know from a tiny number of words that they actually use.

Bio: Paul was awarded a DPhil at York University in 1980. He was a founder member of the Department of Applied Linguistics at Birkbeck College London, where he worked until 1990, and Professor in the Department of English at Swansea University until his retirement in 2009. Paul was awarded an Honorary Fellowship by the Chartered Institute of Linguists in 2010, and elected to the Academy of Social Sciences in 2012. He is an Honorary Professor in the Centre for Language and Communication Research at the University of Cardiff and an Honorary Research Fellow in the Department of Education at the University of Oxford. Paul’s current research is mainly concerned with developing computational models of how people acquire words and how they lose their lexical skills as they grow older. He is particularly interested in the emergent properties of lexical models with minimal assumptions. He runs a number of small projects that apply bibliometric methods to the corpus of research in applied linguistics. These projects are mainly concerned with evaluating the main historical trends in applied linguistics research, and with identifying new research fronts at an early stage.

Join the event on the day with this link.

Protracted periods of lockdown and school closures during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic have affected the amount of time that children spend at home with their families and away from their peers. For some families in which English is not the first or the only language this situation has the potential to change multilingual patterns of interaction in significant ways. In this talk I will report some preliminary findings from an ongoing longitudinal study of language use in multilingual families in the UK and Ireland ( The first phase of the project (April-July 2020) included a survey with more than 750 respondents followed in August 2020 by a set of 18 interviews with parents and children of different ages. In November 2020 we invited 250 parents who had expressed an interest to be involved in the second phase to complete a shorter survey asking whether any changes in the use of English and their other language(s) had been maintained over time. The third and final phase of the project in April 2021 will include a final survey and a second round of interviews with the same families who were interviewed in summer 2020. In a set of initial analyses of the quantitative and of the qualitative data I will reflect on the implications for family language policy and for the role of input in children’s maintenance and development of their multilingual repertoire.

Bio: Ludovica has obtained a diploma in conference interpreting from the SSIT (Milan), a degree in English and French languages and literatures from the IULM (Milan), an MA in language acquisition from the University of Essex, and a PhD in linguistics from the University of Edinburgh in 2000. In 1999 she joined the University of Manchester. Since then, she has worked on language development in both monolingual and bilingual children and more recently on bilingual adults, with a specific interest in linguistic phenomena that cut across language structure and language use; issues of referential and syntactic choice have featured prominently in my work. Her recent research projects include a focus on analogical reasoning in syntactic choice; the relationship between language experience, executive function skills and referential choice; and the bilingual co-activation of morpho-syntactic structures during online sentence comprehension. In 2016, I joined the University of Reading as Professor of Bi-Multilingualism, and she is the Director of the Centre for Literacy and Multilingualism.