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? 

(2)  Second/foreign language acquisition, the related pedagogy, and attitudes towards second language speakers' language abilities.

(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). 

(4)  The representation and processing of language, in particular hesitant language. 

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.

Current PhD students:

Katie Crouch (jointly supervised with Dr Anna Piasecki) - sound symbolism and object naming in children

Hajira Mumtaz (funded by Cancer Alliance and UWE, jointly supervised with Dr Anna Piasecki and Mr Neil Barua, PhD) - Intraoperative language tests for brain tumor surgery.

Estefania Tamayo Pineda (SWWDPT funded, jointly supervised with Dr Susana Afonso, University of Exeter) - Identification of prepositional constructions in Spanish for teaching of Spanish as a second language.

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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