The Department of Theoretical and Applied Linguistics, University of Cambridge, looks forward to welcoming Professor Ianthi Maria Tsimpli from 1 July as the newly appointed Chair of English and Applied Linguistics.
Professor Tsimpli has previously held the positions of Professor of Multilingualism and Cognition at the School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences at the University of Reading, and Professor of Psycholinguistics and Director of the Language Development Lab at the Dept. of Theoretical and Applied Linguistics at Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece.
Her doctorate thesis (UCL, 1992) was published in 1996 in the series Outstanding Dissertations in Linguistics, Garland with the title Functional Categories and Maturation: The Prefunctional Stage of Language Acquisition. She has extensively worked on the case of Christopher, a polyglot-savant, with Neil Smith (UCL) with whom she co-authored the book The Mind of a Savant: Language Learning and Modularity (1995, Blackwell) as well as a number of journal articles. A number of articles and book chapters co-authored with Neil Smith, Bencie Woll and Gary Morgan as well as the recent book "Signs of a Savant"(2010, CUP) have also been published on a subsequent research project investigating Christopher’s ability to learn British Sign Language. Before moving to Thessaloniki, Ianthi taught Linguistics at UCL, University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne and University of Cambridge (Research Centre for English and Applied Linguistics).
Current teaching and research interests
Prof. Tsimpli teaches and researches in Bilingualism/Multilingualism, First and Second Language Acquisition, Psycholinguistics, Language Impairment and Theoretical Syntax.
The Language Development Lab she founded and directs in Thessaloniki conducts research on first and second language development, bilingualism, SLI, Broca’s aphasia, native adult, child and L2 sentence processing and eye-movements. A large part of this research is externally funded through national and international research projects.
Recent projects are co-financed by the European Union (European Social Fund – ESF) and Greek national funds through the Operational Program "Education and Lifelong Learning" of the National Strategic Reference Framework (NSRF) - Research Funding Programs: THALES and Excellence I.
The THALES project (“Bilingual Acquisition & Bilingual Education: The Development of Linguistic & Cognitive Abilities in Different Types of Bilingualism”) investigates the interactions between bilingualism, literacy and non-verbal cognition. More than 700 children, 8-12 years old, monolingual and bilingual, from Greece, Albania, Germany, UK and the US participated in this project. The aims were to examine the effects of bilingual education and biliteracy on non-verbal cognition as well as on language abilities. The Excellence I Research Programme entitled “Individual Differences in Anaphora Resolution: Linguistic and Cognitive Effects” aims to shed light on the issue of individual differences observed in anaphora resolution among healthy adults, young and elderly. The factors examined include domain-specific, linguistic factors such as lexical, syntactic and pragmatic complexity, domain-general abilities such as executive control and fluid intelligence, aging and language experience measured through print exposure and education levels.