EF Education First Research Lab

for Applied Language Learning

About Us

The EF Education First Research Lab for Applied Language Learning promotes research in second language learning of English and innovation in language teaching through a crossfertilisation between linguistic research and teaching techniques.

The Lab is sponsored by EF Education First, a world leading educational organisation in language learning.


Principal Investigator

PhD students

External collaborators



Learner Profiles

Learner Profiles

How does one’s native language shape second language learning? Are some linguistic features more difficult or easier to learn depending on one’s mother tongue?

What is the role of age in language learning? What makes younger learners different from adult learners? See the Leverhulme Trust project Typology and Learnability.

Learner Profiles

Learner Corpora

How can we build and use learner corpora like EFCAMDAT to research learning across proficiency in real learning environments?

Learner Profiles

Language Teaching

How can we link insights from second language research with teaching methods for varying learner profiles? How can teaching tasks and learning activities map to the learning trajectories of individual learners?

Learner Profiles

Natural Language Processing Technology for learner English

In the era of big data, tools supporting automated data processing are vital for exploiting resources like EFCAMDAT. How can NLP technology address the different varieties of learner language?

Papers and Talks

  • Derkach K., Alexopoulou T, accepted, Definite and Indefinite Article Accuracy in Learner English: A Multifactorial Analysis. Studies in Second Language Acquisition.

  • Shatz I., Murakami A. and Alexopoulou T., accepted, The potential influence of crosslinguistic lexical similarity on lexical diversity in L2 English writing. Corpora.

  • Shatz I., Alexopoulou T., Murakami A., 2023, Examining the potential influence of crosslinguistic lexical similarity on word-choice transfer in L2 English. PLOS ONE, 18(2).

  • 2022
  • Alexopoulou T., Murakami A., Meurers D., 2022, Big Data and Second Language Acquisition: advances in methodology and analysis, in Marrta Gonzalez-Lloret and Nicole Ziegler (eds), Handbook of SLA and Technology, Routledge.

  • 2021
  • Alexopoulou T., 2021, How our linguistic mind guides language learning TEDxCambridgeUniversity, March 2021.

  • 2020
  • Alexopoulou T., 2020, Grammatical Errors: What Can We Do About Them? Languages, Society and Policy.

  • Huang Y., Murakami A., Alexopoulou T., Korhonen A., 2020, Subcategorisation frame identification for learner English. International Journal of Corpus Linguistics.

  • Chen X., Alexopoulou T., Tsimpli M.I., 2020, Automatic extraction of subordinate clauses and its application in second language acquisition research. Behavior Research Methods.

  • Ballier N., Canu S., Petitjean C., Gasso G., Balhana C., Alexopoulou T., and Gaillat T. 2020, Machine learning for learners’ English: A plea for creating learner data challenges, pp,72-103.

  • 2019
  • Michel M., Murakami A., Alexopoulou T., Meurers D., 2019, Effects of task type on morphosyntactic complexity across proficiency: evidence from a large learner corpus of A1 to C2 writings, Instructed Second Language Aquisition (ISLA), 3: 26-33.

  • 2018
  • Huang, Y., Murakami, A., Alexopoulou, T. and Korhonen, A. 2018, Dependency parsing of learner English, International Journal of Corpus Linguistics, 1: 28-54.

  • Jiang, X., Huang, Y., Guo,Y., Geertzen,J., Alexopoulou, T., Sun, L. and Korhonen, A., 2018, Native Language Identification Using Large, Longitudinal Data, In eds Poibeau and Villavicencio, Language, Cognition and Computational Models, CUP, 159-181.

  • 2017
  • Alexopoulou, T., Michel, M., Murakami, A. and Meurers, D. 2017, Task Effects on Linguistic Complexity and Accuracy: A Large-Scale Learner Corpus Analysis Employing Natural Language Processing Techniques, Language Learning, 67: 180-208. doi:10.1111/lang.12232.

  • 2016
  • Murakami, A. & Alexopoulou, T. 2016, L1 influence on the acquisition order of English Grammatical Morphemes: A learner corpus study, Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 38(3), 365-401. doi:10.1017/S0272263115000352. [Winning paper for the 2016 Albert Valdman award.]

  • Murakami, A. 2016, Modeling systematicity and individuality in nonlinear second language development: The case of English grammatical morphemes. Advance online publication. Language Learning. doi:10.1111/lang.12166

  • 2015
  • Murakami, A., & Alexopoulou, T. 2015, Longitudinal L2 development of the English article in individual learners. In A. Papafragou, D. Grodner, J. Trueswell, & D. Mirman (Eds.), Proceedings of the 38th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society. Philadelphia, PA: Cognitive Science Society.

  • Alexopoulou, T., Geertzen, J., Korhonen, A., & Meurers, D. 2015, Exploring big educational learner corpora for SLA research: Perspectives on relative clauses. International Journal of Learner Corpus Research, 1(1), 96–129. http://doi.org/10.1075/ijlcr.1.1.04ale

  • 2014
  • Geertzen, J., Alexopoulou, T., & Korhonen, A. 2014, Automatic linguistic annotation of large scale L2 database: The EF-Cambridge Open Language Database (EFCAMDAT). In R. T. Millar, K. I. Martin, C. M. Eddington, A. Henery, N. M. Miguel, A. Tseng, ... D. Walter (Eds.), Selected proceedings of the 2012 Second Language Research Forum. Building bridges between disciplines (pp. 240–254). Cascadilla Proceedings Project.

  • Jiang, X., Guo, Y., Geertzen, J., Alexopoulou, T., Sun, L., & Korhonen, A. 2014, Native language identification using large, longitudinal data. In N. Calzolari, K. Choukri, T. Declerck, H. Loftsson, B. Maegaard, J. Mariani, S. Piperidis (Eds), Proceedings of the 9th Language Resources and Evaluation Conference (LREC 2014) (pp. 3309-3312). Reykjavik, Iceland.

  • 2013
  • Alexopoulou T, Yannakoudakis, H. & Salamoura, A. 2013, Classifying intermediate learner English: A data driven approach to learner corpora. In S. Granger, S. Gaëtanelle, & F. Meunier (Eds.),Twenty years of learner corpus research: Looking back, moving ahead: Corpora and language in use - Proceedings 1 (pp. 11–23). Louvain-la-Neuve: Presses universitaires de Louvain.

  • Murakami, A. 2013, Cross-linguistic influence on the accuracy order of L2 English grammatical morphemes. In S. Granger, S. Gaëtanelle, & F. Meunier (Eds.), Twenty years of learner corpus research. Looking back, moving ahead: Corpora and language in use - Proceedings 1 (pp. 325–334). Louvain-la-Neuve: Presses universitaires de Louvain.

  • 2012
  • Yannakoudakis, H., Briscoe, T. & Alexopoulou, T. 2012, Automating second language acquisition research: Integrating information visualisation and machine learning. In Proceedings of EACL, Joint Workshop of LINGVIS and UNCLH, Avignon, France.

EF Education First

EF Education First is the world's largest education company, offering language education for students and professionals in more than 50 countries. For more information, visit http://www.ef.com/