Staff Profile of Dr Marco Tamburelli

Marco Tamburelli
Senior Lecturer in Bilingualism
++44 (0)1248 382078
Room 205b, 37-41 College Road


I joined Bangor University in September 2010, after spending two years at Nottingham Trent University, where I worked as research fellow on a Leverhulme project (2008-2010).

I received my PhD in Linguistics from UCL in 2007 with a thesis entitled The Role of Lexical Acquisition in Simultaneous Bilingualism, a study of the cognitive mechanisms that underlie transfer effects in bilingual children. The research was partly funded by the AHRC and the Old Students Association, and was supervised by Dr Hans van de Koot and Prof. Neil V. Smith.

After completing my Ph.D. I spent two years at Nottingham Trent University as part of the SLI (Specific Language Impairment) Unit working on a Leverhulme Trust project entitled “Investigating the cognitive deficits that underlie specific language impairment”. The project is run by Dr Gary Jones in collaboration with Professor Julian Pine (University of Liverpool) and Professor Fernand Gobet (Brunel University).

The project focused heavily on the acquisition of phonology in typical and atypical language development, particularly in relation to children's performance in non-word repetition tasks. We looked at the types of repetition error made by the children at different level of analysis, including the word, syllable, and phonemic level.

In addition, I worked on the development of EPAM-VOC, a computational model of vocabulary learning which aims to reproduce the patterns of impairment that are required to simulate the repetition performance of children with SLI.

Research Interests:

My Research has a cognitive and a sociolinguistic strand. Within a cognitive perspective, I have worked on Bilingual First Language Acquisition, particularly in relation to syntactic transfer effects in simultaneous bilingualism, but also on the acquisition and organisation of lexical properties, the nature of paradigms and of the mechanisms underlying lexical organisation (including the mapping of cross-modular information in the lexicon) and on lexical and phonological development in typically developing children and in children with SLI.

My involvement with cognitive bilingualism and my own bilingual background (Lombard-Italian) have also stirred up an interest in the more social aspects of bilingual development and maintenance, which has led me to do some reserach on regional languages and language diversity, particularly with regard to diglossic/bilingual communities in Italy, but also on the measurement and application of intelligibility rates as a criterion of demarcation between 'regional languages' and 'regional dialects'.

I am currently director of the International Research Network on Contested Languages.

Recent presentations

  • Tamburelli, M. (2017) "The persistence of linguistic discrimination in Italy: causes, effects, and potential solutions". Oral presentation at the First International Conference on the Revitalization of Indigenous and Minoratized Languages, Barcelona, Spain (April 2017).
  • Tamburelli, M. (2017) "Multilingual Classrooms and Regional Languages: Practices and Approaches for the Maintenance of Linguistic Diversity". Invited talk at the ESL and Mother Tongue Conference, Copenhagen, Denmark (March 2017).
  • Tamburelli, M. (2017) “Contested Languages: between scientific definition and political recognition.” Oral presentation at CLIVE1 (First International Conference on the Venetan Language), Padua, Italy (February 2017).
  • Tamburelli, M. (2016) “Contested Languages and the Denial of Linguistic Rights in the 21st Century”. Oral presentation at CLOW #2 (Contested Languages in the Old World), University of Turin, Italy
  • Alomeri, H, Sanoudaki, E., Tamburelli M., Kotzoglou, G. (2016) “Diglossia and EFL: The case of Arabic prepositions” Oral presentation at the Bangor International Conference on Bilingualism in Education, Bangor University, Bangor, UK.
  • Tamburelli, M. (2015) “Languages and dialects in Italy: a global perspective ”. Invited talk at the British Academy event "Language in Italy in the 21st Century", London (November 2015).
  • Tamburelli, M (2015) "Bilingual acquisition of phonological structure: issues and challenges". Invited talk at the UCL Laboratory for Language and Speech Diversions, London (November 2015).
  • Tamburelli, M. (2015) “Finding Languages: From Old Linguistic Problems to Modern Challenges”. Invited talk at the Centre for Language and Linguistic Studies, University of Kent.
  • Tamburelli, M. (2014) “Intelligibility rates and regional bilingualism in Europe”. Invited talk at the Department of English, Liverpool Hope University.
  • Tamburelli, M. (2013). "Finding Languages: Can linguistic criteria inform language policy?" Oral presentation at the CRASSH conference on Language Endangerment: Language Policy and Planning, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK.
  • Tamburelli, M. (2013) “Identifying regional bilingualism in modern Europe: the role of intelligibility rates”. Invited talk at the Department of Applied Linguistics, University of Groningen.
  • Tamburelli, M. & L. Brasca (2013). “Writing in a contested language: Issues & Challenges.” Oral presentation at the CLOW conference on Contested Languages, Bangor University, Bangor, Wales, UK.
  • Sanoudaki, E., M. Tamburelli, G. Jones, & M. Sowinska (2012). “Consonant cluster puzzles: evidence from Polish-English bilingual acquisition”. Oral presentation at the 20th Manchester Phonology Meeting, Manchester, UK.
  • Tamburelli, M., E. Sanoudaki, G. Jones, & M. Sowinska (2012). “Acceleration in the bilingual acquisition of consonant clusters: evidence from Polish-English bilingual children”. Oral presentation at the conference 'Bilingual and Multilingual Interaction', Bangor, UK.
  • Tamburelli, M. (2011) “Lesser languages in modern Europe: the case of Italy”. Invited talk at the Institute for the Galician Language, University of Santiago de Compostela.


  • Price, A. R., & Tamburelli, M. (2016). Minority language abandonment in Welsh-medium educated L2 male adolescents: classroom, not chatroom. Language, Culture and Curriculum, 29(2), 189-206.
  • Tamburelli, M, Sanoudaki, E, Jones, G, Sowinska, M. (2015). Acceleration in the bilingual acquisition of phonological structure: Evidence from Polish‐English bilingual children. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition (Published online: 18 November 2014).
  • Tamburelli, M. (2014). Uncovering the ‘hidden’ multilingualism of Europe: an Italian case study. Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development, 35(3), 252-270.
  • Chondrogianni, V and M. Tamburelli (2013). Grammar in parsing and acquisition: Commentary on the paper by William O’Grady “The illusion of language acquisition”. Linguistic Approaches to Bilingualism, 3(3): 289-295.
  • Tamburelli, M., & Jones, G. (2013). Investigating the Relationship Between Nonword Repetition Performance and Syllabic Structure in Typical and Atypical Language Development. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 56(2), 708-720.
  • Tamburelli, M., Jones, G., Gobet, F., & Pine, J. M. (2012). Computational modelling of phonological acquisition: Simulating error patterns in nonword repetition tasks. Language and Cognitive Processes, 27, 901-946.
  • Tamburelli, M. (2012). Dalla diglossia al bilinguismo: note sul mantenimento del patrimonio linguistico d’Italia. In G. Agresti and M. De Gioia (eds.) L’enseignement des langues locales Institutions, méthodes, idéologies: Actes des Quatrièmes Journées des Droits Linguistiques. Rome: Aracne.
  • Jones, G., Tamburelli, M., Watson, S. E., Gobet, F., & Pine, J. M. (2010). Lexicality and frequency in specific language impairment: Accuracy and error data from two nonword repetition tests. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 53: 1642-1655.
  • Tamburelli, M.(2008). Invulnerable Domains in Romance-Germanic Bilingualism. In Arena Romanistica: Didactic Studies in Romance Languages, 1/2008.
  • Tamburelli, M.(2008). The Role of Paradigm Formation in lexical acquisition: towards a unified account of overgeneralization and transfer effects. Language Acquisition: A Journal of Developmental Linguistics, 15(3): 130-182
  • Tamburelli, M.(2007). A Lexical Model of Acquisition and its Implications for Simultaneous Bilingualism. In A. Nikolaev (ed.) Two or More Languages: Proceedings from the 9th Nordic Conference on Bilingualism, vol. 41. Joensuu: University of Joensuu, Finland.
  • Tamburelli, M.(2006). Remarks on Richness. In M. Pearce and R. Breheny (ed.) UCL Working Papers in Linguistics, 18.
  • Tamburelli, M.(2006). Paradigms, Acquisition and Bilingualism. In Proccedings of the Fourth Cambridge Post-Graduate Conference in Language Research
  • Tamburelli, M.(2005). The Importance of Paradigm Formation in Bilingual Acquisition: evidence from Italian. In M. Pearce and N. Topinzi (ed.) UCL Working Papers in Linguistics, 17.
  • Tamburelli, M.(2004). On The Acquisition of Lexical Properties. Proceedings of the 13th Postgraduate Conference in Linguistics, University of Manchester.

PhD supervision

  • Judit Vari: Monitoring language vitality in autochthonous diglossic communities. Started 2017.
  • Mara Leonardi: Trilingualism and Diglossia among the Germanic-speaking group in South Tyrol (Italy). 2012-2016.
  • Abigail Ruth Price: “Is ‘reversed diglossia’ coming to Wales? Investigating the linguistic habits of adolescents in Wales and beyond.” Fully funded studentship in bilingualism, Bangor University Anniversary Scholarship. Started in September 2013.
  • Lissander Brasca: Classification of Romance linguistic varieties. Started in September 2013.
  • Athanasia Papastergiou: the role of educational settings in bilingual acquisition. ESRC funded PhD. Started in September 2014.

Teaching at Bangor

I teach courses on introductory linguistics, phonology, and bilingualism (from a social as well as a psycholinguistic perspective). For details, please consult the current timetable or send me a message.

  • QXL1110 - Introduction to Language
  • QXL2201 - Sounds and Sound Systems
  • QXL33/4404 - Language Contact and Bilingualism
  • QXL 1115 Intro to Phonetics and Phonology
  • QXL 4432 Research Methods
  • QXL33/4436 – Phonology in Bilingual Acquisition

I welcome enquiries from students interested in pursuing a PhD in the areas of:

Contested languages: intelligibility measurements and quantitative comparison of linguistic traits; intelligibility as a criterion of demarcation.

Bilingual first language acquisition: crosslinguistic interference in the acquisition of syntactic and phonological structures; bilingual acquisition in diglossic contexts.