Students Staff


Our Department has ten research groups covering a wide variety of areas in language and linguistics research. All research students join the group which is most closely aligned to their interests, providing a valuable opportunity to discuss and present their work in progress.

  • Arabic Sociolinguistics Research Group

    The Arabic Sociolinguistics Research Group meets every two weeks to discuss articles in sociolinguistics and dialect variation. Members of the group have the opportunity to give a talk or an oral presentation of what they are up to in their fieldwork.

  • Conversation Analysis Research Group

    The Conversation Analysis (CA) Research Group is co-ordinated by Dr Rebecca Clift and meets weekly during term-time. It is a forum for the technical, conversation-analytic examination of interactional data, and discussion of current research in conversation analysis. Our members are current PhD students and they bring a number of native languages to the group. Currently we have speakers of Arabic, Japanese and English, and past members have been native speakers of Greek and French. We also invite leading CA researchers to lead data sessions and present work-in-progress; past visitors have included Paul Drew, John Rae, Celia Kitzinger and Ray Wilkinson.

  • Corpus Linguistics Collective

    In the Department of Languages and Linguistics at the University of Essex, natural data and corpus linguistic approaches are a part of our research, our teaching, our professional development of postgraduate research students, and are explored within our seminar series. We use language corpora to explore second language acquisition & development, English and Arabic dialectology & grammar, language & aging, and as a pedagogical resource for the EFL classroom.

  • ELT Research Group

    The English Language Teaching Research Group will be of interest to any students currently carrying out or intending to carry out research focused on English language teaching or teaching English for specific or academic purposes, taking a qualitative or a mixed-methods approach. The group is co-ordinated by Dr Christina Gkonou and Dr Sophia Skoufaki.

    There are three main formats for meetings:

    1. Students may present their work for about 20-30 minutes, and then the group provides comments or questions. For instance, students may present draft research questions or some of their findings for feedback and discussion. Students who are in the earlier or later stages of their research are encouraged to present: it's never too early to make a presentation!
    2. Students or staff may practise a conference presentation, with the group providing feedback.
    3. The group may read an agreed article in advance, and meet to discuss it.

  • Language and Asylum Research Group

    Language analysis for determination of origin (LADO) is a new branch of applied linguistics, used by governments in processing asylum seekers who are applying for refugee status. Applicants are interviewed by government agencies seeking to ascertain whether they speak the language of a group they say they belong to, as part of testing their claim to come from a certain nation, region or group.

    The primary mission of the Language and Asylum Research Group (LARG) is to stimulate research, contribute to the further development of guidelines, and promote best-practice for practitioners working in the field of LADO, through exchange of informed views.

    The group is convened by Professor Peter L. Patrick and Dr Diana Eades.

  • Language and Computation Group

    Because of the growing availability of large amounts of natural language data in electronic format, computational methods are playing an increasing role in linguistic research. Simultaneously, natural language engineering (NLE) techniques are becoming more widespread in areas such as data mining and web search. As the problems tackled in the scientific study of language and by developers of NLE applications are often the same, interaction between researchers using computational methods to study language and those interested in NLE applications is beneficial to both. The University of Essex has a long tradition of research in the area of language and computation (which has a variety of names, including computational linguistics and natural language processing), starting with work on machine translation and parsing in the 1980s, as well as work on formal semantics.

    The Language and Computation group is an interdisciplinary group created to foster such interaction between researchers within the University, and includes staff and students from the Department of Languages and Linguistics, the Data Archive and the Language, Logic and Information group in the School of Computer Science and Electronic Engineering.

  • Lexical Functional Grammar Research Group

    This research group brings together members of our Department and research students who are working on a variety of topics in Lexical Functional Grammar (and especially its application to Arabic). The group is co-ordinated by Professor Louisa Sadler and meets on a regular basis throughout the academic year.

  • Phonology Research Group

    The Phonology Research Group is interested in the investigation of theoretical and descriptive phonology, first and second language phonology and sociophonology.

    The group is co-ordinated by Dr Wyn Johnson and meets on a regular basis throughout the academic year.

  • Psycholinguistics Research Group

    The Psycholinguistics Research Group at Essex investigates grammatical processing in adult native speakers and language learners, child language acquisition, as well as neurolinguistic topics including developmental and acquired language disorders.

  • Second Language Research Group

    The Second Language Research Group provides a forum for students and staff to exchange ideas about and discuss current issues in second language learning/acquisition, language development, language attrition (i.e. loss) and language teaching. Second language (L2) is used as an umbrella term to include L3, L4, etc. In our meetings, group members present work in progress such as plans for a PhD project or results from a pilot study, we try out data collection instruments or language teaching materials designed by group members, or members may give presentations on completed studies, e.g. to practise for a conference. In addition, we read and discuss recent research papers that are of interest to group members in order to stay up to date with the latest developments in our field and to encourage an exchange of ideas between different theoretical perspectives (e.g. usage-based and generative) and different sub-areas (e.g. L2 and L1 learning).