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Personal profile

Current Research Interests

Bilingual language development, Syntax-semantics and syntax-lexicon interface, Experimental linguistics, Language and general cognition

Collaborative Activity

Founder and Director of "Bilingualism Matters"- a research and information centre on bilingualism over the lifespan. For more information please see the "Bilingualism Matters" website: https://www.bilingualism-matters.org/


Postgraduate courses normally taught: First Language Acquisition, Second Language Acquisition, Bilingual First Language Development, Psychology of Language Learning, Maturational Constraints on Language Acquisition, Developmental Syntax.

Undergraduate courses: First Language Acquisition, Second Language Acquisition; language acquisition components of LEL1.

Visiting and Research Positions

1989-present: University of Edinburgh, Department of Linguistics and English Language: Lecturer (1989), Reader (1997), Professor (2002).

2018    Visiting Fellow, Utrecht Center for the Humanities, Utrecht University.

2009-12: Adjunct Visiting Professor (Professor II) at the University of Tromsø, Norway (20% appointment).

2009- Research Associate at the ESRC Centre for Bilingualism, University of Wales, Bangor.

2004: Visiting Scholar, University of Siena, Interdisciplinary Center for Cognitive Studies on Language (Centro Interdipartimentale di Studi Cognitivi sul Linguaggio).

2003: Visiting Scientist, Research Center on Multilingualism (Sonderforschungsbereich 538: Mehrsprachigkeit), University of Hamburg.

2003: Visiting Faculty, Linguistic Society of America Summer Institute, Michigan State University.

2000: Visiting Scholar, Department of Cognitive Science, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore.

1997: Visiting Scholar, Centre for Cognitive Science, University of Edinburgh.

1996-97: External collaborator to the Argument Structure Research Project, Max  Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics, Nijmegen.

1995: Visiting Scholar, Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics.

1994: Visiting Scholar, Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics

Administrative Roles

Departmental and School level

2002-2005      Postgraduate Director and Head of the Graduate School, School of Philosophy,   Psychology and Language Sciences.

1995-2001      Director of Studies (undergraduate)

(b)  University administration                                                                                                     

2004-2007      Member of the Personal Chairs Committee.

2003-2005      Member of the Scientific Committee of the SHEFC Brain Imaging Research Centre of Scotland.

2002-2005      Member of the Postgraduate Studies Committee, College of Humanities and Social Sciences.

2001-2002      Member of the University Committee for Motivation of Academics to Increase Research Funding/Commercialisation.

1998-2001:    Elected non-professorial member of the Senatus Academicus.

1997-2002:    Member of the Faculty of Arts Equal Opportunities Committee

1996-2002:    Member of the University Day Nursery Advisory Committee.

1996-2002:    Member of the Faculty of Arts Postgraduate Studies Committee.

1993-2002:    Member of the Arts, Divinity and Music Faculty Group Research Committee.

University responsibilities and achievements

 2002-2003      Member of the Steering Group of the Mentoring Programme for Women Academic Staff, College of Humanities and Social Sciences.

1998-2002      Initiator and main coordinator of the Mentoring Programme for Women Academic Staff in the Arts, Divinity and Music Faculty Group.


1992- Ph.D. in Linguistics, University of Edinburgh.                              

1985- Master of Arts in Applied Linguistics (Distinction), University of Southern California.    

1981-Degree (Laurea) in Foreign Languages and Literature (Magna cum laude), University of Rome.



Antonella Sorace is a world leading authority on bilingualism over the lifespan and is particularly well known for her studies of exceptionally talented ("near-native") adult second language speakers; for her research on the changes ("attrition") that take place in the native language of advanced second language speakers; for her investigation of bilingual language development in early and late childhood, and of the effects of bilingualism on general cognition. She is also internationally known for her contribution to language typology, especially for her research on constrained variation at the lexicon-syntax interface - which she has investigated in many languages - and her studies of gradience in natural language. Moreover, she has given an important contribution to experimental methods in linguistics by pioneering the use of Magnitude Estimation as a technique for the elicitation of linguistic acceptability judgments. She is committed to bridging the gap between research and public perception of bilingualism in society. She is the founding director of the research and information centre Bilingualism Matters and was awarded a Beltane Fellowship for Public Engagement.


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