Dr Minna Kirjavainen-Morgan

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About me

BA (Hons) English Language, University of Sussex, 2004

PhD Psychology (Language Acquisition), University of Manchester, 2008.

I am an Associate Professor of linguistics, language and cognition and the Director of Bristol Centre for Linguistics.

My current research focuses on five main research areas:

(1) Language acquisition in children, answering the following broad questions: How do children learn their native language? What can children's language tell us about how language is learned and processed? I currently work on this topic in collaboration with Dr Maija Surakka, (Tampere University, Finland) and Dr Aleksandre Nikolaev (University of Eastern Finland). 

(2)  Second/foreign language acquisition, the related pedagogy, and attitudes towards second language speakers' language abilities and output. Together with colleagues at UWE, I currently work on an internally funded project on this.

(3)  Language and cognition - I am interested if/how speakers' native/second language affects their cognitive processes (e.g., memory, perception, categorisation) and mental states (e.g. wellbeing, behaviour). I currently work on a number of projects investigating this topic with collaborators at UWE as well as in Japan and Finland.

(4)  The representation and processing of language, in particular hesitant language. I have recently completed an internally funded experimental/corpus study on this with Dr Ludivine Crible (UCLouvain) and Dr Kate Beeching (UWE) and am currently conducting a corpus study in collaboration with Dr Aleksandre Nikolaev (University of the Eastern Finland) and an experimental study with Dr Felicity Deamer and Dr Lucia Busso (both from Aston University).

(5) As a part of a research team, I am working on an internally and externally (NHS, the Royal College of Surgeons) funded awake-surgery project.

Funded by the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, I managed (and was the budget holder for) a Finnish child language dense database project which involved the collection of child-caregiver interaction over a 3-year period and managing the transcription of the 260 hours of data gathered. This corpus (Kirjavainen-MPI child corpus) is one of the key sources of naturalistic data of Finnish children's language development.

I am happy to supervise PhD students in the areas listed above, as well as on other projects related to language in the mind as well as to syntax, morphology and bilingualism.

Area of expertise

Language and Cognition

First and second language acquisition

Language processing and representations



Behavioural experimental methods

Corpus methods, CHILDES (CLAN, CHAT)

Survey methods


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