I study the processes of learning and memory that underlie language acquisition and use. Much of my work focuses on the balance between automatisation and productivity in language production. I primarily study the first 2-3 years of life as the capacity for productive speech emerges, but I am also interested in the ways that the balance between habit and intentional control functions in language across the lifespan and how it changes in neurological disorders such as Parkinson's disease and dementia.
On a practical level I am interested in the development of computational linguistic and statistical methods to study real language use at ever greater scales without loss of detail.
My PhD, from the School of Informatics at the University of Edinburgh, was primarily focused on computer language processing. I then worked on developmental psychology and language acquisition as a postdoc at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany. Before coming to Liverpool I spent five years as an Assistant Professor of Linguistics at the University of Texas at Austin.