We examine language development across the entire lifespan

Our research can be grouped into three key areas: early language development, language in later life, and second language learning and teaching.

Student reading a book
Visit our research repository

Our research into the development of language across the lifespan has been published in top scientific journals, books, book chapters and conference proceedings. Our findings have been used to inform people’s understanding of language learning, language loss and language use, language teaching practice at schools and universities, and parents’ and carers’ understanding of children’s language development. You can view our members’ research publications by visiting the University of Essex research repository.

Visit our research repository

Highlights of our research


Books by our members include:


Our work has gained considerable attention and has attracted several notable awards in recent years:

Lectures, conferences and workshops

Public events

To find out more about upcoming LaDeLi events, please visit the Department of Language and Linguistics events calendar.

Distinguished speaker series

Our distinguished speaker series features one-off lectures from internationally renowned research leaders in the field of language development throughout the lifespan. The lectures are free and open to all and attract an audience of researchers, students and members of the public. 

Some of the topics from previous lectures include:

To find out about the latest lectures in our distinguished speaker series please visit the Department of Language and Linguistics events calendar.


Our 2022 workshop Language learning in older adults: Interdisciplinary perspectives brought together researchers specialising in speech perception, the interplay of cognitive and affective factors in third-age language learning, the effects of language learning in older adults with cognitive and/or mood problems and the neurology of language learning in later life.

A research-in-progress report of the workshop has since been published in the journal of Language Teaching, by Cambridge University Press. This report summarises the workshop and presents the conclusions and outcomes.

LaDeLi also held two ground-breaking workshops on the issues and challenges associated with the teaching and learning of foreign languages in primary schools in England. These events brought together researchers, teachers and policy makers and the success of these workshops led directly to the formation of the Research in Primary Languages (RiPL) network. You can learn more about this by visiting the RiPL website

  • To stay up to date with the latest workshops, news and events from the RiPL network, follow them on Facebook.
  • To find out more about upcoming workshops from LaDeLi, please visit the Department of Language and Linguistics events calendar.


Our international conference on the role of interaction in language development and loss throughout the lifespan attracted researchers from a range of disciplines and included presentations on bilingual children, language loss due to dementia, and second language learning and teaching.

View the 2016 LaDeLi conference programme (.pdf)

Our international workshop on the interface of emotion and cognition in language learning and use (L1, L2, Lx) attracted participants from around the world to discuss individual papers on the topic as well as plenary talks on how we can hear emotions in speech, how people's implicit and explicit attitudes may differ, and how recent research has shown the connection between emotional and cognitive factors in additional language learning. View the 2021 LaDeLi workshop event.

To find out about all upcoming LaDeLi conferences, please visit the Department of Language and Linguistics events calendar.

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Contact us
Centre for Research in Language Development throughout the Lifespan (LaDeLi) University of Essex
Wivenhoe Park, Colchester, CO4 3SQ
Telephone: 01206 872083
Department of Language and Linguistics University of Essex
Wivenhoe Park, Colchester, CO4 3SQ
Telephone: 01206 872083