Marco Tamburelli

Senior Lecturer in Bilingualism, Bangor University

I joined Bangor University in September 2010, after spending two years at Nottingham Trent University, where I worked as research fellow on a Leverhulme project (2008-2010).

I received my PhD in Linguistics from UCL in 2007 with a thesis entitled The Role of Lexical Acquisition in Simultaneous Bilingualism, a study of the cognitive mechanisms that underlie transfer effects in bilingual children.

The research was partly funded by the AHRC and the Old Students Association, and was supervised by Dr Hans van de Koot and Prof. Neil V. Smith.

During my Ph.D. studies I had the opportunity to teach a number of courses in linguistics and human communication at UCL and at Middlesex University.

After completing my Ph.D. I spent two years at Nottingham Trent University as part of the SLI (Specific Language Impairment) Unit working on a Leverhulme Trust project entitled “Investigating the cognitive deficits that underlie specific language impairment”. The project is run by Dr Gary Jones in collaboration with Professor Julian Pine (University of Liverpool) and Professor Fernand Gobet (Brunel University).

The project focused heavily on the acquisition of phonology in typical and atypical language development, particularly in relation to children's performance in non-word repetition tasks. We looked at the types of repetition error made by the children at different level of analysis, including the word, syllable, and phonemic level.

In addition, I worked on the development of EPAM-VOC, a computational model of vocabulary learning which aims to reproduce the patterns of impairment that are required to simulate the repetition performance of children with SLI.

My Research has a cognitive and a sociolinguistic strand. Within a cognitive perspective, I have worked on Bilingual First Language Acquisition, particularly in relation to syntactic transfer effects in simultaneous bilingualism, but also on the acquisition and organisation of lexical properties, the nature of paradigms and of the mechanisms underlying lexical organisation (including the mapping of cross-modular information in the lexicon) and - more recently - on lexical and phonological development in typically developing children and in children with SLI.

My involvement with cognitive bilingualism and my own bilingual background (Lombard-Italian) have also stirred up an interest in the more social aspects of bilingual development and maintenance, which has recently led me to do some reserach on regional languages and language diversity, particularly with regard to diglossic/bilingual communities in Italy, but also on the measurement and application of intelligibility rates as a criterion of demarcation between 'regional languages' and 'regional dialects'.

I am currently director of the International Research Network on Contested Languages.


  • –present
    Senior lecturer in bilingualism, Bangor University