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Professor Marjorie Perlman Lorch

Professor of Neurolinguistics
BA (Washington, St. Louis), PhD (Boston)

Departmental Ethics Officer; Departmental Research Officer; Chair of the ALC Exam Sub-Boards

Department of Applied Linguistics and Communication
Birkbeck, University of London
26 Russell Square,

Research and Teaching

Research Interests

  • Marjorie Lorch's main research interest is in understanding how language is organized in the brain through the investigation of neurogenic language and communication disorders, with a specific interest in cross-linguistic comparisons and bilingual speakers.
  • In addition, she carries out theoretical work in neurolinguistics from a historical perspective focussing on the 19th century history of ideas about language and communication.

Postgraduate Supervision

  • Marjorie Lorch supervises PhD students on a range topics focussing on aphasia, specific language impairment and other communication disorders including multilingual and cross-linguistics perspectives, in addition to historical research into 19th century ideas about language organization in the brain, language development and language learning.
  • Applications for PhD research are welcome in a broad range of neurolinguistic and psycholinguistic topics as well as the intellectual history of the field.
  • If you are considering applying for MPhil/PhD research in any of these areas, you are advised to contact Marjorie and/or the departmental research director about your research plan before making an application.
  • PhD awards
    • Isabelle Barrière-- The acquisition of verb argument structure and the French clitic SE. 2004.
    • Paula Hellal-- Acquired childhood aphasia in the 19th century: investigating the archived cases at Great Ormond Street Hospital for Sick Children. 2005.
    • Donia Fahim-- Predominant language impairment in Arabic-speaking children. 2005.
    • Alan Bradley-- Lexical acquisition in a bilingual setting. 2010.
    • Heather McDowell – L2 reading acquisition by learners with distinct L1 orthography. 2011.
    • Jui Hua Chen -- Taiwanese bilingual aphasia. 2011.
    • Keith Atkin-- Acquisition of language in children with severe sensory motor handicap. 2013.
    • Ariadni Loutrari—The role of the right temporal lobe in processing contours in music and speech. 2016.
  • Current Students
    • Mariana Gotseva-- Tense/Aspect in Bulgarian L1 English L2 Adults. Current.
    • Emina Tuzovic-- Processing of Vowels in L1 Arabic Readers of L2 English. Current.
    • Krystle Jalalian— Bilingual Autistic children’s social use of language. Current.
    • Frank Breheny—Language learning and teaching in Victorian England. Current.
    • Julia Benson - Aspects of Social Communication in Teenagers with Autistic Spectrum Disorder. Current.


  • Teaching on Undergraduate courses include: Psycholinguistics, Neurolinguistics and Investigating Language.
  • Teaching on Postgraduate courses include: Research Methods and Design, Introduction to Applied Linguistics, Psycholinguistics and Neurolinguistics.

Honours and Awards

Recent invited lectures include

  • “Victorian Psycholinguistics: Thomas Prendergast’s (1807?-1886) Approach to Language Learning.” Sarah Cutts Frerichs Lectureship in Victorian Studies for 2014-15. Brown University, Providence, USA. February 25, 2015.
  • Laterality of Language Function: Reconsidering the Barlow Case of 1877. Emory University, Atlanta USA February 1, 2012.
  • John Hughlings Jackson on Aphasia. A century after John Hughlings Jackson: A historical symposium on the centennial of his death. Royal Society of Medicine. London October, 2011.
  • Becoming a speaker of more than one language in infancy. Supporting Multilingual and Multicultural Children. ESRC Festival of Social Sciences. London, October 31 2011.
  • "Commemorating the 3rd Epoch of Aphasia Research." Opening Keynote Address, Academy of Aphasia, Athens October 2010.
  • "Why study the history of aphasiology" Presidential Address, International Society for the History of the Neurosciences, Paris June 2010.
  • Podcasted international workshop organized by Prof. Sander Gilman: Rethinking Children / Childhood in the 21st Century - The New and Old Science of Childhood/Children, Birkbeck Institute of Humanties, London February 5, 2010
  • "Looking Back to Go Forward: Considering the History of Aphasia." Programme Committee Invited Workshop, American Speech Language and Hearing Association (ASHA) New Orleans, USA November 2009.
  • Plenary lecture "Darwin and the birth of child language acquisition research in Britain" (with Paula Hellal) at the Henry Sweet Society for the History of Linguistic Ideas, Oxford September 2009.
  • "Thomas Willis on music and the brain" The Mansell Bequest Symposium on the Neurology of Music. The Medical Society of London, May 2008.
  • "Contested Wills: the medico-legal aspects of acquired language disorders in Victorian England," University of California in Los Angeles, Los Angeles, USA, February 2008.
  • The Keynote Address "Neurolinguistic issues regarding Second Language Acquisition" British Aphasiology Society Edinburgh, Scotland September 2007.
  • "Localizaton of Bilingual Language in the Brain: 19th and 20th Century Perspectives." Washington University, St. Louis, USA. April 2006.
  • "Wernicke and Geschwind: Association and disconnection" Wernicke and Alzheimer Memorial, Polish Society for Psychogeratrics, Wroclaw, Poland, December, 2005.

Research roles


  • View Selected Research Publications on BIRon
  • Lorch, M. “A Late 19th-Century British Perspective on Modern Foreign Language Learning, Teaching, and Reform: The legacy of Prendergast’s ‘Mastery System’”. Historiographia Linguistica, 2016 43(1-2):175-208.
  • Whurr, R. and Lorch, M. (2016) Review of differential diagnosis and management of spasmodic dysphonia. Current Opinion in Otolaryngology and Head and Neck Surgery 24 (3), pp. 203-207.
  • Lorch, M. “The Third Man: Robert Dunn’s (1799-1877) contribution to aphasia research in mid-19th century England.” Journal of the History of the Neurosciences. 2016, 25 (2), pp. 188-203.
  • “Singing in Speechless Children.” (with S. Greenblatt) In: E. Altenmuller, F. Boller and S. Finger (eds.) Music, Neurology, and Neuroscience: Historical Connections and Perspectives. Progress in Brain Research. Elsevier, New York. 2015, vol. 216, 53-72.
  • Lorch, M. “Language and the Brain.” In: Li Wei (ed.) Applied Linguistics. Wiley-Blackwell, London. 2014, 69-87.
  • Lorch, M. “Literacy and Multimodality”. (with Li Wei and L. McEntee-Atalianis) In: Li Wei (ed.) Applied Linguistics. Wiley-Blackwell, London. 2014, 130-148.
  • Atkin, K. and Lorch, M. An ecological method for the sampling of nonverbal signalling behaviours of young children with profound and multiple learning disabilities (PMLD).” (with K. Atkin) Developmental Neurorehabilitation, 2014, 1-15. Posted online on July 16, 2014. (doi:10.3109/17518423.2014.935822).
  • Lorch, M. Written Language Production Disorders: historical and recent perspectives. Current Neurology and Neuroscience Reviews, 2013, 13 (7):1-6.
  • Lorch, M. Examining language functions: A reassessment of Bastian.s contribution to aphasia assessment. Brain, 2013; 136 (8): 2629-37.
  • Johnson, J.K., Lorch, M., Nicolas, S. and Graziano, A. Jean-Martin Charcot.s role in the nineteenth-century study of music agraphia and .music aphasia.. Brain, 2013; 136 (5): 1662-870.
  • Hellal, P. and Lorch, M. The modern beginnings of research into developmental language disorders. In C. Marshall (Ed.) Current Issues in Developmental Disorders. Psychology Press, London. 2012.
  • Lorch, M. Speaking for yourself: The medico-legal aspects of aphasia in nineteenth century Britain. In L. S. Jacyna and S. Casper (Eds.) The Neurological Patient in History. University of Rochester Press, Rochester. 2012, 63-80.
  • Lorch, M. and Hellal, P. The 'idioglossia' cases of the 1890s and the clinical investigation and treatment of developmental language impairment. Cortex, 2012, 48 (8), 1052-60. doi:10.1016/j.cortex.2011.07.007
  • Lorch, M. Re-examining Paul Broca's initial presentation of M. Leborgne: Understanding the impetus for brain and language research. Cortex, 2011, 47 (10), 1228-1235. doi:10.10.1016/j.cortex.2011.06.022
  • Lorch, M. .Fools at Musick.: Thomas Willis (1621-1675) on congenital amusia. In. F.C. Rose (ed.), Neurology of Music. Imperial College Press, London, 2010, 151-171.
  • Lorch, M. and Hellal, P. Darwin.s .Natural Science of Babies.. Journal of the History of the Neurosciences, 2010, 19, 1-18.
  • Hellal, P. and Lorch, M. The Emergence of the Age Variable in Nineteenth Century Neurology: Considerations of Recovery Patterns in Acquired Childhood Aphasia.  In  Finger, S. Boller, F. and Tyler, K.L. (eds.) Handbook of Clinical Neurology Vol 95 (3rd series) History of Neurology, Chapter 52. Elsevier, Edinburgh, 2010, 845-52.
  • Hellal, P. and Lorch, M. Darwin.s contribution to the study of child development and language acquisition. Language and History, 2010, 53, 1, 1-14.
  • Lorch, M. and Li Wei. Research in Applied Linguistics at Birkbeck, University of London. Research in Progress Report. Language Teaching 2009, 42:2, 265-9.
  • Lorch, M. Neurolinguistics and the non-Monolingual brain. In Li. W and Cook, V. (eds.) Contemporary Applied Linguistics: Linguistics for the Real World. Volume 2. Continuum, London 2009.
  • Lorch, M. Multiple languages, memory and regression: an examination of Ribot's Law. Aphasiology, 2009, 23, 643-654.
  • McDowell, H. and Lorch, M. Phonemic awareness in Chinese L1 readers of English: not simply an effect of orthography. TESOL Quarterly, 2008, 42, 495-513.
  • Lorch, M. The merest logomachy: the 1868 Norwich discussion of aphasia by Hughlings Jackson and Broca. Brain, 2008, 131, 1658-1670. doi:10.1093/brain/awn058.
  • Hellal, P. and Lorch, M. Discrepancies between the published and archived case notes of the most cited case of acquired child aphasia in the 19th century. Journal of the History of the Neurosciences, 2007, 16, 378-394.
  • Lorch, M. Explorations of the brain, mind and medicine in the writings of Jonathan Swift. In: Whitaker, H., Smith, C.U.M. and Finger, S. (eds.) Brain, Mind and Medicine: 18th century perspectives on the neurosciences. Springer-Verlag, Berlin, 2007, 345-352.
  • Atkin, K and Lorch, M. Lexical and Syntactic Development in a three-year-old boy with Prader-Willi Syndrome. Clinical Linguistics and Phonetics, 2007, 21,  261 - 276.
  • Lorch, M. Guest editor, special section. History of Memory. Cortex 2007, 43, Volume 5. 577-582, 616-666.
  • Lorch, M. Bilingualism and Memory: early 19th century ideas about the significance of polyglot aphasia. Cortex, 2007, 43, 658-666.
  • Lorch, M. Language and Memory disorder in the case of Jonathan Swift: considerations on retrospective diagnosis. Brain, 2006, 129 (11): 3127-37.
  • Atkin, K and Lorch, M. Reading without speech: Hyperlexia in a 4 year old boy with autistic spectrum disorder. Journal of Neurolinguistics, 2006, 19, 1-17.
  • Lorch, M. Phrenology and Methodology, or .playing tennis with the net down..  Aphasiology, Special Issue in honour of Prof. John C. Marshall, 2006, 20, 1059-1071 .
  • Barrière, Isabelle and Lorch, M. 2006. On the acquisition of ambiguous Valency-Marking Morphemes: Insights from the acquisition of French SE. In: Torrens, V. and Scobar, L. (eds.),The Acquisition of Syntax in Romance Languages, John Benjamins, Amsterdam. pp. 23.49.
  • Lorch, M. Guest editor, special issue. The History of Aphasiology. Special Issue, Journal of Neurolinguistics. 2005, 18 (4).
  • Hellal, P and Lorch M.  Charles West: a 19th century perspective on acquired childhood aphasia. Journal of Neurolinguistics, 2005, 18, 345-60.
  • Lorch, M. The unknown source of John Hughlings Jackson.s early interest in aphasia. Cognitive and Behavioral Neurology, 2004, 17(3):124-132.
  • Barrière, I and Lorch, M.  Premature thoughts on writing disorders. Special Issue, A. Hillis (ed.) Neurocase, 2004, 10, 91-108.
  • Lorch, M and Whurr, R.  A cross-linguistic study of vocal pathology: Perceptual features of Spasmodic Dysphonia in French-speaking subjects.Journal of Multilingual Communication Disorders, 2003, 1, 35-52.
  • Lorch, M and Barrière, I.  The history of written language disorders: re-examining Pitres. case (1884) of pure agraphia.  Brain and Language, 2003, 85, 271-279.
  • Barrière, I and Lorch, M.  Considerations on agraphia. Translation of Albert Pitres.(1884) Considérations sur agraphie à propos d.une observation nouvelle d.agraphie motrice pure. Brain and Language, 2003, 85, 262-270.
  • Lorch, M and Barrière, I.  Pitres.s two remarkable cases: Pure agraphia (1884) and polyglot aphasia (1895). In F. Fabbro (Ed.) Advances in the Neurolinguistics of Bilingualism. Udine: Forum Press. 2002, 193-205.
  • Barrière, I; Lorch, M. & Le Normand, M.T.  La cliticisation en SE dans le langage de l.enfant:  surgénéralisation des affixations et des omissions. In C. Muller (Ed.): Clitiques et cliticisation.  Paris: Honoré Champion, 2001, 251-265.
  • Barrière, I., Lorch, M. and Le Normand, M.T.  Argument structure alternation in French children.s speech.  In M. Perkins and S. Howard (Eds.)  New Directions in Language Development and Disorder, Plenum. 2000, 139-148.
  • Whurr, R and Lorch, M.  Perceptual aspects of spasmodic dysphonia across different languages.  Stem-, Spraak-, en Tallpathologie / Voice, Speech and Language Pathology, 2002, 11, 19-26.
  • Barrière, I, Lorch, M. & Le Normand, M.T. La cliticisation en SE dans le langage de l.enfant: surgénéralisation des affixations et des omissions in C. Muller (Ed.),  Numéro spécial des .Cahiers de Grammaire.: la Cliticisation. Bordeaux: Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, UMR 5610, 2000.
  • Kirshner, H., Alexander, M., Lorch, M. and Wertz, R. Disorders of Speech and Language. Lippincott Williams and Wilkins, Baltimore, 1999. 207pp.
  • Lorch, M, Ferner, R, Golding, J and Whurr, R.  The nature of speech and language impairment in adults with neurofibromatosis.  Journal of Neurolinguistics, 1999, 12, 157-165.
  • Barrière, I., Lorch, M. and Le Normand, M-T. On the overgeneralization of the intransitive/transitive alternation in children.s speech: a cross-linguistic study with new evidence from French.  International Journal of Bilingualism, 1999, 3, 351-362.
  • Whurr, R. and Lorch, M.  Acquired disorders of language: evaluation of effectiveness of intervention.  In F. Fabbro (Ed.) Concise Encyclopaedia of Language Pathology, Elsevier Science. 1999, 384-392.
  • Whurr, R., Bhatia, K.P., Pramstaller, P.P., Srinivasan, A.V., Marsarei, A., Kingsley, D., Lorch, M., Quinn, N. and Marsden, C.D.  The incidence and nature of dysphagia following botulinum toxin injections for torticollis.  Journal of Medical Speech-Language Pathology, 1999, 7, 195-207.
  • Whurr, R., Lorch, M., Brookes, G., Marsden, C.D., Jahanshahi, M.  Psychological function in spasmodic dysphonia before and after Botulinum Toxin.  Journal of Medical Speech and Language Pathology, 1998, 6, 81-92.
  • Lorch, M., Borod, J.C. and Koff, E.  The role of emotion in the linguistic and pragmatic aspects of aphasic performance.  Journal of Neurolinguistics, 1998, 11, 103-118.
  • Nye, C., Lorch, M. and Whurr, R. The utility of meta-analysis in the determination of efficacy of treatment in aphasia. Reply to Robey. Brain and Language, 1997, 57, 280-282.
  • Lorch, M., Papathanasiou, I. and Whurr, R. Laterality and Written Language Production: Writing with the right hand in an aphasic agraphic hemiplegic patient. In T. Powell (Ed.), Pathologies of Speech and Language: Contributions of Clinical Phonetics and Linguistics, 1996, 297-304.
  • Lorch, M. Laterality and rehabilitation: differences in left and right hand productions in aphasic agraphic hemiplegics. Aphasiology, 1995, 257-280.
  • Lorch, M. Language and praxis in written production: a rehabilitation paradigm. Aphasiology, 1995, 280-282.
  • Lorch, M. and Meara, P. Can people discriminate languages they don't know?  Language Sciences, 1995, 17, 65-71.
  • Lorch, M. Some Neurolinguistic evidence regarding variation in interlanguage use: the status of the 'switch mechanism'. In L. Eubank, L. Selinker and M. Sharwood Smith (eds.), The Current State of Interlanguage Studies: Studies in honor of William Rutherford. Amsterdam: Benjamins, 1995, 255-263.
  • Lorch, M. Disorders of Writing and Spelling. In, H. Kirshner (Ed.), Handbook of Neurological Speech and Language Disorders, Marcel Dekker, 1995, 295-324.
  • Whurr, R., Lorch, M., Fontana, H., Brookes, G., Lees, A. and Marsden, C. D. The use of botulinum toxin in the treatment of adductor spasmodic dysphonia. Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry, 1993, 56, 92-111.
  • Whurr, R., Lorch, M. and Nye, C.  A Meta-analysis of the efficacy of speech therapy treatment studies of aphasic patients.  European Journal of Disorders of Communication, 1992, 27, 1-17.
  • Lees, A., Turjanski, N., Rivest, J., Whurr, R., Lorch, M., and Brookes, G.  Treatment of cervical dystonia, hand spasms and laryngeal dystonia with botulinum toxin.  Journal of Neurology, 1992, 239, 1-4.
  • Whurr, R. and Lorch, M. The use of a prosthesis to facilitate writing in aphasia and right hemiplegia.  Aphasiology, 1991, 5, 411-418.
  • Lorch, M. and Whurr, R. Hemiplegic writing with the use of a prosthesis in an aphasic agraphic patient.  Grazer Linguistische Studien, 1991, 35, 171-179.
  • Lorch, M. A cross-linguistic study of the agrammatic impairment in verb inflection. In J-L. Nespoulous and P. Villiard (Eds.), Morphology, Phonology and Aphasia. New York: Springer-Verlag, 1990, 156-184.
  • Lorch, M. and Meara, P. How people listen to languages they don't know. Language Sciences, 1989, 11, 343-353.
  • Kohn, S., Lorch, M. and Pearson, D. Verb finding in Aphasia. Cortex, 1989, 25, 57-69.
  • Lorch, M. Agrammatism and Paragrammatism. In C. Code (Ed.), The Characteristics of Aphasia. London: Taylor and Francis, 1989, 75-88.
  • Borod, J., Koff, E., Lorch, M., Nicholas, M. and Wellkowitz, J. Emotional and non-emotional facial behaviors in patients with unilateral brain damage. Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Psychiatry, 1988, 51, 826-832.
  • Borod, J., Lorch, M., Koff, E. and Nicholas, M. Effect of emotional context on bucco-facial apraxia. Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology, 1987, 9, 147-153.
  • Borod, J., Koff, E., Lorch, M. and Nicholas, M. Deficits in facial expression and movement as a function of brain damage. In J-L. Nespoulous, P. Perron and A. Lecours (Eds.), The Biological Foundations of Gesture. Hillsdale, N.J.: Lawrence Erlbaum, 1986, 271-294.
  • Borod, J., Koff, E., Lorch, M. and Nicholas, M. Expression and perception of facial emotion in patients with focal lesions. Neuropsychologia, 1986, 24, 169-180.
  • Borod, J., Koff, E., Perlman, M. and Nicholas, M. Channels of emotional expression in patients with unilateral brain damage.  Archives of Neurology, 1985, 42, 345-348.
  • Swift, A. and Perlman, M. A non-invasive index of hemispheric activity during cognitive tasks. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 1985, 60, 515-524.
  • Friedman, R. and Perlman, M. On the underlying causes of semantic paralexia in a patient with deep dyslexia.Neuropsychologia, 1982, 20, 559-568.
  • Loutrari, A. and Lorch, M. Preserved appreciation of aesthetic elements of speech and music prosody in an amusic individual: a holistic approach. Brain and Cognition, 2017, 115, 1-11. [Epub ahead of print March 31.]
  • Lorch, M. and Hellal, P. The Victorian Question on the Relation between Language and Thought. In: Nicholls, A and Davies, J (Eds.) Special Issue: Friedrich Max Mueller and the Role of Philology in Victorian Thought. Publications of the English Goethe Society. 2016, 85 (2-3), 110-124.
  • Lorch, M. and Whurr, R. Morell Mackenzie’s Contribution to the Description of Spasmodic Dysphonia. Annals of Otology Rhinology and Laryngology, 2016 Dec;125(12):976-981.
  • Lorch, M. and Whurr, R. Tracing the historical source of the earliest description of Spasmodic Dysphonia, Annals of Otology, Rhinology and Laryngology, 2016, Aug; 125(8):672-6.