Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

I am interested in supervising innovative and rigorous projects grounded in linguistic theory that investigate non-native language acquisition of properties at the interface of syntax and semantics or syntax and discourse. I am particularly interested in projects involving Japanese or other East Asian languages, but I am open to work on other languages too. I also welcome projects on (1) application of generative second language acquisition research findings to the language classroom; and (2) research methodology in generative second language acquisition research.

Personal profile

Research interests

My research investigates multilingual language acquisition from the perspective of generative linguistic theory. I am particularly interested in the second (or non-native) language (L2) acquisition of linguistic structure at the interfaces of syntax with semantics and discourse, and in the role of input in shaping acquisition. I use psycholinguistic methods to investigate questions such as the following:

  1. How does the linguistic structure of a previously acquired language affect acquisition in a subsequent language (whether the previous language is a “native” language or a “second”, “third”, etc. language)?
  2. How do L2 learners acquire linguistic knowledge for which there is no evidence in the input or for evidence may be obscured by the grammar of a previously acquired language?
  3. How does the content of grammar instruction affect acquisition of linguistic structure?

I am also interested in research that integrates L2 acquisition theory and language teaching practice, both at the level of collaborative research and at the level of knowledge exchange. I am particularly interested in the L2 acquisition of Japanese, as well as other East Asian languages, and of languages commonly taught at secondary level in the UK (Spanish, German and French).


I obtained my undergraduate degree in Japanese Studies at the University of Cambridge, and a Diploma in Translation (Japanese to English) from the Chartered Institute of Linguists. I spent time at Nara Women's University in Japan, studying Japanese literature, then I worked as a translator, a language teacher, and a language teaching materials editor, before beginning my academic career in Linguistics with an MA and PhD at the University of Durham. After obtaining my PhD, I held an ESRC postdoctoral fellowship at Newcastle University, before taking up my current position at York.

Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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