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Department of Education

Victoria Murphy

Director of the Department & Professor of Applied Linguistics

College Affiliation: St Anne's College

Victoria Murphy is Professor of Applied Linguistics and Director of the Department of Education, University of Oxford.

Victoria’s research focuses on understanding the inter-relationships between child L2/FL learning, vocabulary and literacy development.  Her work examines cross-linguistic relationships across linguistic systems in the emergent bilingual child and how foreign language learning in primary school can influence developing first language literacy.  Her work has been funded by ESRC, The Leverhulme Trust, The Nuffield Foundation and the Educational Endowment Foundation, among others, and she has published two books on the topic of young language learners, as well as numerous refereed journal articles and book chapters. Victoria was Chair of NALDIC (National Association for Language Development in the Curriculum) between 2018-2021 and has worked closely with teachers across the UK and internationally in support of Language in Education programmes.

  • B.A.H. Linguistics/Psychology – Queen’s University, Kingston On, Canada
  • M.A. Educational Psychology – McGill University, Canada
  • Ph.D. – Second Language Education – McGill University Canada
Current Funded Research Projects
  • Learning for Families through Technology with Rebecca Eynon and Sandra Mathers
  • Supporting the development of Indian primary school children’s reading comprehension skills: A scaffolding-based intervention”. CI with I. Tsimpli (PI) & L. Mukhapoadhyay. British Academy – Humanities and Social Sciences Tackling Global Challenges
  • “Improving the oral language skills of children with English as an Additional Language through a drama-based intervention” CI with Faidra Faitaki. CreATE Research Group
Other Doctoral Students

Sean McCarron

Doctoral Applications

Victoria welcomes doctoral applications from students interested in the following research areas:

  • Language and literacy development in EAL (ELL/ESL/ Language Minority) children
  • Child L2 and bilingualism
  • Foreign language learning in primary school
  • Lexical development and morphosyntax in L1 and L2 learners


  • Books

    • Murphy, V. (2014). Second Language Learning in the Early School Years Trends and Contexts. Oxford University Press.

  • Book chapters

    • Murphy, V., & Chalmers, H. (2022). The impact of language learning on wider academic outcomes. In K. McManus & M. Schmid (Eds.), How special are early birds?: Foreign language teaching and learning (pp. 165-188). Language Science Press.

    • MURPHY, V., & Smith, S. (2022). ttitudes, motivations, and enjoyment of reading in multiple languages. In A. Stavans & U. Jessner (Eds.), Cambridge Handbook of Childhood Multilingualism. Cambridge University Press.

    • MURPHY, V., & FAITAKI, F. (2022). Using theatre to improve English as an Additional Language learners’ communication skills. In B. Cortina-Pérez, A. Andúgar, A. Álvarez, S. Corral, N. Martínez, & A. Otto (Eds.), Addressing Future Challenges in Early Language Learning and Multilingual Education. http://dykinson/

    • MURPHY, V. (2022). Myths and misconceptions in bilingual language development. In H. CHALMERS & T. Bennett (Eds.), The researchED guide to English as an Additional Language: An evidence-informed guide for teachers. John Catt.

    • Chalmers, H., & Murphy, V. (2022). Multilingual Learners, linguistic pluralism and implications for education and research. In E. Macaro & R. Woore (Eds.), Debates in Second Language Education. Routledge.

    • Murphy, V. (2021). Social justice and questions of marginalization in research with linguistically diverse children. In Ethical and Methodological Issues in Researching Young Language Learners in School Contexts (pp. 87-105).

    • Faitaki, F., & Murphy, V. (2020). Oral language elicitation tasks in applied linguistics research. In ROUTLEDGE HANDBOOK OF RESEARCH METHODS IN APPLIED LINGUISTICS (pp. 360-369).

    • Murphy, V. (2019). Multilingualism in primary schools. In ROUTLEDGE HANDBOOK OF TEACHING ENGLISH TO YOUNG LEARNERS (pp. 110-124).

    • Murphy, V. (2018). Literacy development in linguistically diverse pupils. In Studies in Bilingualism (pp. 155-182).

    • Murphy, V. (2017). Literacy development in children with English as an additional language (EAL). In J. Enever & E. Lindgren (Eds.), Early language learning: Complexity and mixed methods. Multilingual Matters.

    • Zhao, T., & Murphy, V. (2017). Factors affecting the speed of word retrieval in children learning English as a foreign language. In M. García-Mayo (Ed.), Learning Foreign Languages in Primary School: Research Insights (pp. 1-21). Multilingual Matters.

    • Murphy, V., & Macaro, E. (2016). It isn’t child’s play: conducting research with children as participants. In J. McKinley & H. Rose (Eds.), Doing Research in Applied Linguistics: Realities, dilemmas, and solutions (pp. 103-113). Routledge.

    • Murphy, V., Evangelou, M., Goff, J., & Tracz, R. (2016). European perspectives on early childhood education and care in English for speakers of other languages. In V. Murphy & M. Evangelou (Eds.), Early Childhood Education in English for Speakers of Other Languages. British Council.

    • Macaro, E., Vanderplank, R., & Murphy, V. (2010). A compendium of key concepts in second language acquisition. In Continuum Companion to Second Language Acquisition (pp. 29-106). Bloomsbury Publishing.

    • Murphy, V. (2010). The relationship between age of learning and exposure to the second language in L2 children. In E. Macaro (Ed.), Continuum Companion to Second Language Acquisition. Bloomsbury Publishing.

    • MURPHY, V., FAITAKI, F., & Hessel, A. (n.d.). Vocabulary and grammar development in young learners of English as an Additional Language. In M. Schwartz & D. Prosic-Snatovac (Eds.), Handbook of early language education. Springer – Verlag.

  • Journal articles

    • Tucker, S.-K., & Murphy, V. (2023). Beyond ’sea, sun, and fun’: exploring the viability of Jamaican Creole heritage language education in Toronto. Canadian Modern Language Review, 79(1), 59-76.

    • Hamilton, C., & Murphy, V. (2023). Folk pedagogy? Investigating how and why UK early years and primary teachers use songs with young learners. Education 3-13.

    • MURPHY, V., BOOTON, S., Hoicka, E., O’Grady, A., & Chan, H. (2021). Children’s creativity and bilingualism. Thinking Skills and Creativity, 41.

    • Booton, S., Hoicka, E., O’Grady, A., Chan, H., & Murphy, V. (2021). Children’s divergent thinking and bilingualism. Thinking Skills and Creativity, 41.

    • Coolen, I., Merkley, R., Ansari, D., Dove, E., Dowker, A., Mills, A., Murphy, V., von Spreckelsen, M., & Scerif, G. (2021). Domain-general and domain-specific influences on emerging numerical cognition: contrasting uni-and bidirectional prediction models. Cognition, 215.

    • Hakimi, L., Eynon, R., & Murphy, V. (2021). The ethics of using digital trace data in education: a thematic review of the research landscape. Review of Educational Research, 91(5), 671-717.

    • Booton, S., Hodgkiss, A., & Murphy, V. (2021). The impact of mobile application features on children’s language and literacy learning: a systematic review. Computer Assisted Language Learning, 36(3), 400-429.

    • Booton, S., Wonnacott, E., Hodgkiss, A., Mathers, S., & Murphy, V. (2021). Children’s knowledge of multiple word meanings: which factors count and for whom?. Applied Linguistics, 43(2), 293-315.

    • Booton, S., Hodgkiss, A., Mathers, S., & Murphy, V. (2021). Measuring knowledge of multiple word meanings in children with English as a first and an additional language, and the relationship to reading comprehension. Journal of Child Language, 49(1), 164-196.

    • MURPHY, V., BOOTON, S., HODGKISS, A., & MATHERS, S. (2021). Measuring knowledge of multiple word meanings in children with English as a first and an additional language and the relationship to reading comprehension. Journal of Child Language.

    • Hessel, A., Nation, K., & Murphy, V. (2021). Comprehension Monitoring during Reading: An Eye-tracking Study with Children Learning English as an Additional Language (vol 25, pg 1, 2020). SCIENTIFIC STUDIES OF READING, 25(2), I - II.

    • Kan, R., & Murphy, V. (2020). Effects of frequency and idiomaticity on second language reading comprehension in children with English as an additional language. Studies in Second Language Learning and Teaching, 10(3), 579-605.

    • Von Spreckelsen, M., Dove, E., Coolen, I., Mills, A., Dowker, A., Sylva, K., Ansari, D., Merkley, R., Murphy, V., & Scerif, G. (2019). Let’s talk about maths: The role of observed ’maths-talk’ and maths provision in pre-schoolers’ numeracy. Mind, Brain, and Education, 13(4), 326-340.

    • Murphy, V., Karemaker, J., Sylva, K., Kanji, G., & Jelley, F. (2019). Effective intervention to support oral language skills in English as an additional language in the early years. TEANGA: Journal of the Irish Association of Applied Linguistics, 10(Special Issue 10), 1-18.

    • Hessel, A., & Murphy, V. (2018). Understanding how time flies and what it means to be on cloud nine: English as an Additional Language (EAL) learners’ metaphor comprehension. Journal of Child Language, 46(2), 265-291.

    • Murphy, V. (2018). Commentary: Socio-economic status, young language learning, and the weapon to change the world. System, 73, 89-93.

    • Zhao, L., Dehe, N., & Murphy, V. (2017). From pitch to purpose: The prosodic-pragmatic mapping of [I + verb] belief constructions in English and Mandarin. Journal of Pragmatics, 123, 57-77.

    • Hennebry, M., Rogers, V., Macaro, E., & Murphy, V. (2017). Direct teaching of vocabulary after listening: is it worth the effort and what method is best?. Language Learning Journal, 45(3), 282-300.

    • Campfield, D., & Murphy, V. (2017). The influence of prosodic input in the second language classroom: does it stimulate child acquisition of word order and function words?. Language Learning Journal, 45(1), 81-99.

    • Fung, K.T.D, K., & Murphy, V. (2016). Cross linguistic influence in adult L2/L3 learners: The case of French on English morphosyntax. Global Science and Technology Forum: Journal of Education, 3(2), 6-15.

    • Murphy, V., Macaro, E., Alba, S., & Cipolla, C. (2015). The influence of learning a second language in primary school on developing first language literacy skills. APPLIED PSYCHOLINGUISTICS, 36(5), 1133-1153.

    • Smith, S., & Murphy, V. (2015). Measuring productive elements of multi-word phrase vocabulary knowledge among children with English as an additional or only language. READING AND WRITING, 28(3), 347-369.

    • Campfield, D., & Murphy, V. (2014). Elicited imitation in search of the influence of linguistic rhythm on child L2 acquisition. System, 42(1), 207-219.

    • Murphy, V., Macaro, E., Alba, S., & Cipolla, C. (2014). The influence of learning a second language in primary school on developing first language literacy skills. Applied Psycholinguistics, 36(5), 1133-1153.

    • Murphy, V., & Castillo, J. (2013). Modality, vocabulary size and question type as mediators of listening comprehension. Contemporary Foreign Language Studies: Perspectives on Second Language Learning, Teaching and Testing Assessment, 396(12), 16-31.

    • Hayashi, Y., & Murphy, V. (2013). On the nature of morphological awareness in Japanese-English bilingual children: A cross-linguistic perspective. Bilingualism, 16(1), 49-67.

    • Murphy, V. (2012). Applying Priming Methods to L2 Learning, Teaching and Research: Insights from Psycholinguistics. CANADIAN MODERN LANGUAGE REVIEW-REVUE CANADIENNE DES LANGUES VIVANTES, 68(2), 241-242.

    • Martinez, R., & Murphy, V. (2011). Effect of frequency and idiomaticity on second language reading comprehension. TESOL Quarterly, 45(2), 267-290.

    • Hayashi, Y., & Murphy, V. (2011). An investigation of morphological awareness in Japanese learners of English. Language Learning Journal, 39(1), 105-120.

    • Zhou, X., & Murphy, V. (2011). How English L2 learners in China perceive and interpret novel English compounds. Asian EFL Journal, 13(1), 328-356.

    • McKendry, M., & Murphy, V. (2011). A comparative study of listening comprehension measures in english as an additional language and native english-speaking primary school children. Evaluation and Research in Education, 24(1), 17-40.

    • Lo, Y., & Murphy, V. (2010). Vocabulary knowledge and growth in immersion and regular language-learning programmes in Hong Kong. Language and Education, 24(3), 215-238.

    • Murphy, V., & Hayes, J. (2010). Processing English compounds in the first and second language: The influence of the middle morpheme. Language Learning, 60(1), 194-220.

    • Mondragón, E., Murphy, R., & Murphy, V. (2009). Rats do learn XYX rules. Animal Behaviour, 78(4).

    • Murphy, V. (2009). Complex Systems and Applied Linguistics. SYSTEM, 37(2), 343-344.

    • Murphy, R., Mondragon, E., & Murphy, V. (2009). Covariation, temporal order and generalization: Building blocks of causal cognition. International Journal of Comparative Cognition, 22, 61-74.

    • Murphy, V., Dockrell, J., Messer, D., & Farr, H. (2008). Morphosyntax in children with word finding difficulties. J Child Lang, 35(3), 703-720.

    • Murphy, R., Mondragón, E., & Murphy, V. (2008). Rule learning by rats. Science, 319(5871), 1849-1851.

    • Murphy, V., & Nicoladis, E. (2006). When answer-phone makes a difference in children’s acquisition of English compounds. J Child Lang, 33(3), 677-691.

    • Hayes, J., Smith, P., & Murphy, V. (2005). Modality effects in compounding with English inflectional morphology. British Journal of Psychology, 96(3), 295-311.

    • Murphy, R., Mondragon, E., Murphy, V., & Fouquet, N. (2004). Serial order of conditional stimuli as a discriminative cue for Pavlovian conditioning. BEHAVIOURAL PROCESSES, 67(2), 303-311.

    • Murphy, V. (2004). Dissociable systems in second language inflectional morphology. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 26(3), 433-459.

    • Murphy, V. (2004). Dissociable systems in second language inflectional morphology. STUDIES IN SECOND LANGUAGE ACQUISITION, 26(3), 433-459.

    • Murphy, V. (2000). Compounding and the Representation of L2 Inflectional Morphology. Language Learning, 50(1), 153-197.

    • Murphy, V. (1997). Modality effects in a grammaticality judgment task. Second Language Research.

    • Murphy, V., Booton, S., & Kolancali, P. (n.d.). Touchscreen apps for child creativity: an evaluation of creativity apps designed for young children. Computers and Education.

  • Reports

    • Murphy, V., Arndt, H., Briggs Baffoe-Djan, J., Chalmers, H., Macaro, E., Rose, H., Vanderplank, R., & Woore, R. (2020). Foreign language learning and its impact on wider academic outcomes: A rapid evidence assessment. Education Endowment Foundation.

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