LINGUIST List 24.4672

Thu Nov 21 2013

FYI: Talk by Dr. V Murphy, December 9th, University of Reading, UK

Editor for this issue: Uliana Kazagasheva <>

Date: 21-Nov-2013
From: Jason Rothman <>
Subject: Talk by Dr. V Murphy, December 9th, University of Reading, UK
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The Centre for Literacy and Multilingualism (CeLM) ( at the University of Reading is proud to announce the last speaker for the Fall term in its lecture series, Dr. Victoria Murphy of Oxford University on December 9th 2013.

All are welcome to attend for free. Reading is easily accessible from London, just 25 minutes by train from Paddington Station.

What’s in a word? Vocabulary and literacy development in children with English as an Additional Language

Dr. Victoria Murphy
Oxford University

Date: December 9th, 2013Time: 1-2:30 pm; refreshments 2-2:30
Place: Harry Pitt Building, 157 (Early Gate entrance)

Children with English as an Additional Language (EAL) represent a growing proportion of the primary school population in the UK. While there is great diversity within the EAL population with respect to linguistic and academic outcomes, children with EAL tend to lag behind native-speaking peers across the primary curriculum. One of the candidate explanations for this achievement gap is under-developed literacy skills in EAL pupils as some researchers have demonstrated that students with EAL are as much as two years behind NS peers on measures of reading comprehension. One variable consistently identified as a powerful contributor to literacy development is vocabulary knowledge, and children with EAL have been identified to have lower scores on standardized vocabulary assessments relative to NS peers. Thus far, however, research has not adequately captured the complexity of vocabulary knowledge, predominantly focusing on measures of so-called ‘breadth’ through standardized assessments. Vocabulary knowledge is complex and componential and a range of different vocabulary measures should ideally be used with children with EAL to more precisely identify the range and extent of their lexical knowledge, and how these different lexical features contribute to literacy skill. To that end, the research presented in this paper will focus on research examining more figurative vocabulary knowledge in primary school children with EAL, examining collocations (multiword phrases) and idioms in particular and the relative contribution this type of word knowledge makes to literacy development. This work will be discussed in the context of providing more adequate educational support for the growing number of minority language learners in British schools.
Biographical information:Victoria Murphy is associate professor in the Department of Education, University of Oxford. Her work is predominantly focused on L2 learning in children, with a focus on minority language learners, crosslinguistic relationships within bilingual children and the impact of L2 education on developing L1 knowledge.

Linguistic Field(s): Applied Linguistics

Page Updated: 21-Nov-2013