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First and Second Language Acquisition and Learning

Members of this research group work on a wide range of topics in language acquisition, learning and teaching, as well as broader cultural, political and educational topics. This work applies ideas from a number of different approaches, including cognitive grammar, usage-based approaches, sociolinguistic and ethnographic approaches. Topics studied include first and second-language speech, processing and acquisition, the role of technology in language learning, classroom-centred research and discourse, including the use of different varieties in classrooms, language teacher identity and experience, individual education and literacy-related differences in linguistic knowledge and learning, the social and cultural contexts of acquisition and learning, and the implications of theoretical research findings on first and second language acquisition for classroom practice.

Recent activities include: Professor Graham Hall’s projects, funded by British Council English Language Teaching Research Awards (ELTRAs) on ‘English language education and migration’ and on ‘English Language Teachers’ Engagement with Published Research’, Dr Bill Guariento’s work on telecollaboration between students and researchers in the Global North and South, and Dr Rola Naeb’s work on the EU-Speak and Diglin projects, developing modules and materials to support language learning for learners with low literacy levels. Dr Rola Naeb also is one of the six experts working on the New Council of Europe’s Reference Guide for the Linguistic integration of adult migrants and she is President of the international organization LESLLA (Literacy Education and Second Language Learning for Adults). Dr. Alex Leung is a member of the executive of the British Association for Applied Linguistics.

In September 2021, we are hosting the online 2021 British Association for Applied Linguistics (BAAL) conference (originally planned for 2020).


Bill Guariento

Graham Hall

Alex Leung

Rola Naeb

James Street

PhD students

Andrea Canavosio

Rim Day

Hafez Karout

Caroline McCullock 

Kinga Patterson

Louise Pybus

Suhang Xiao







Research at Northumbria

Research at Northumbria

Research is the life blood of a University and at Northumbria University we pride ourselves on research that makes a difference; research that has application and affects people's lives.

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