Communication, language and sociality - development and evolution

Research focuses on children's early understanding of pragmatic function, the interface between pragmatic understanding and syntax, and the acquisition of grammatical and morphological constructions from the simple to the more complex.

The group develops functional, usage-based models of typically developing children's early communicative abilities, with a emphasis on pragmatic, syntactic, and morphological development in collaboration with the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology via our Manchester Child Study Centre.

Study involves children's linguistic environment with our contributions noted for their insights into the complex relations between language input and language acquisition, their cross-linguistic perspective and their focus on bilingualism. Further work investigates strategies to facilitate the use of complex grammar by primary school children.

Research is also being conducted into the evolution and development of prosocial and antisocial behaviour, namely, what motivates individuals to help and harm others.

Principal investigators

Name Job title Email address
Anne Hesketh Clinical Senior Lecturer in Speech and Language Therapy
Elena Lieven Professor
Kamila Polišenská Lecturer
Ludovica Serratrice Senior Lecturer in Clinical Linguistics
Anna Theakston Senior Lecturer
Keith Jensen Lecturer