I work in the areas of experimental psycholinguistics, experimental cognitive linguistics, bilingual cognition, linguistic and cultural relativity, first, second and additional language learning.
After obtaining my PhD on the effects of second language acquisition on cognition from the University of Essex in 2006, I held two post-doctoral positions at Brunel University and the University of Essex. I then took Lectureship positions at Bangor University and Newcastle University, and a Readership in Multilingualism at the University of Reading. I came to Lancaster as a Professor of Applied Linguistics in October 2014.
The main questions that guide my research concern language-driven human cognition and can be summarised as follows:
1. To what extent do speakers with different cultural and linguistic backgrounds think and perceive the world differently?
2. To what extent does additional language learning transform the way we perceive the world?
Recent research programmes have looked at the effects of colour terminology on colour categorical perception, the relationship between grammatical aspect and perception of goal-oriented motion events, the lexicalization of path, manner and causation of motion and motion event cognition, the effects of grammatical gender on object perception, the count/mass noun distinction and the construal of individuation, in populations such as monolingual, bilingual, and multilingual adults, child L1 and L2 acquirers, instructed and naturalistic foreign language learners, and involving speakers of languages such as Afrikaans, Arabic, English, French, German, Greek, Japanese, Sotho, Spanish, Swati, Swedish, Tswana, Xhosa, Zulu.