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Our research

Find out more about the world-class, cutting-edge research that is undertaken in Birkbeck's Department of Applied Linguistics and Communication.
Our research title

Our research

Our research focuses on the diverse phenomena of multilingualism, which we believe is the rule rather than the exception in today’s world. We adopt a very broad and interdisciplinary approach, and believe that it is through rigorous, critical examination of these phenomena that the nature and functions of language and communication can be understood more holistically.

We are best known for our research in the following areas:

  • bilingualism and multilingualism, including bilingual education
  • language teaching and learning
  • discourse and conversation analysis
  • sociolinguistics
  • neurolinguistics and psycholinguistics
  • Migration and transnational communities
  • intercultural communication
  • teacher education and professional development
  • pragmatics, especially cross-cultural and intercultural pragmatics
  • language acquisition, including first, second, additional, bilingual and multilingual language acquisition
  • language development and disorders from a cross-linguistic and multilingual perspective
  • professional and workplace communication
  • Languages for academic/specific purposes
  • Writing for international publication

In the newly published results of the Research Excellent Framework (REF) 2014, the Department of Applied Linguistics and Communication in its joint submission with the Department of Cultures and Languages achieved 100% at the highest ratings for research environment and is deemed as a place most ‘conducive to producing research of world-leading and internationally excellent quality, in terms of its vitality and sustainability’. Over 90% of our work has ‘outstanding’ or ‘very considerable’ impacts in terms of their reach and significance. Over 70% of our research output were rated 'world-leading' or 'internationally excellent'. The results show real consolidation in research and a great foundation for future development.

We are committed to sharing our research with non-academic partners and audiences locally, nationally and globally. Being embedded, conceptually and practically in Applied Linguistics, our research provides a strong foundation for creating active partnerships with a variety of potential stakeholders. We have on-going collaborative partnership with educational institutions, charities, professional bodies, cultural and community organisations. We disseminate our work in the public sphere through journalism, media and digital communication