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Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages and Linguistics


Dr Dora Alexopoulou

Principal Research Associate, Education First Research Lab for Applied Language Learning (EF Research Lab)
Fellow in Linguistics and Director of Studies, Murray Edwards College
Theoretical and Applied Linguistics
Contact details: 
Telephone number: 
+44 (0)1223 767392

3rd Floor, 9 West Road
University of Cambridge
Sidgwick Avenue



Dora Alexopoulou is a Principal Research Associate at DTAL, PI of the EF Research Lab for Applied Language and Learning which investigates second language learning of English and aims  to bring innovation in language teaching through a systematic cross-fertilisation between linguistic research and teaching techniques.

After a BA in Greek philology at the University of Athens, she went to Edinburgh to obtain an MSc in Natural Language and Speech Processing and then a PhD in Linguistics. Before coming to Cambridge she worked at the Universities of Edinburgh and York and held an Intra-European Marie Curie Fellowship at the University of Lille III.

Her research interests are in second language acquisition and theoretical and experimental syntax. She currently focuses on combining linguistic and computational modeling of learner trajectories in big learner corpora. She is a co-founder of the Cambridge Bilingualism Network, a public engagement initiative promoting the linguistic and cognitive advantages of bilingualism. She has published articles in Language, Cognition, Studies in Second Language Acquisition, Journal of Linguistics, Natural Language and Linguistic Theory as well as volumes and conference proceedings. She lives in Cambridge with her husband and two children.

She is the founding Editor of Languages, Society and Policy (LSP).


Recent research projects: 

Current research projects

Leverhulme Trust Grant, Linguistic Typology and Learnability in Second Language (with Prof Tsimpli as Co-I)


Published works: 


Selected publications


  • Alexopoulou T., 2021, How our linguistic mind guides language learning TEDxCambridgeUniversity, March 2021.
  • Alexopoulou, T, Murakami A., Meurers D., in press, 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.
  • Alexopoulou, T. 2020. 'Grammatical Errors: What Can We Do About Them?', Languages, Society and Policy.
  • Huang, Y., Murakami A, Alexopoulou T., Korhonen, A., 2020, Subcategorization 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.
  • 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.
  • Alexopoulou T., and R. Folli, 2019, Topic strategies and the syntax of nominal arguments in Italian and Greek, Linguistic Inquiry, vol.50.3, 439-486.
  • Y. Huang, A. Murakami,T. Alexopoulou, A.Korhonen, 2018, Dependency parsing of learner English, International Journal of Corpus Linguistics, 1.28-54.
  • T Alexopoulou, M. Michel, A. Murakami, D. Meurers, 2017, Task effects on linguistic complexity and accuracy: a large scale learner corpus analysis employing natural language processing techniques, invited contribution to Language Learning, Special issue on Language learning research at the intersection of experimental, corpus-based and computational methods. DOI: 10.1111/lang.12232
  • Murakami A and T Alexopoulou, 2016 Longitudinal L2 development of the English article in individual learners. In Proc. of the 38th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society. Philadelphia, PA: Cognitive Science Society, 1050-1055.
  • Murakami A. and T Alexopoulou, 2015, L1 influence on the acquisition order of English Grammatical Morphemes: A learner corpus study, Studies in Second Language Acquisition, Recipient of the Albert Valdman award for outstanding publication in SSLA for the year 2016
  • Alexopoulou T., J Geerzten, A. Korhonen, D Meurers, 2015, Exploring big educational learner corpora for SLA research: perspectives from relative clauses, International Journal of Learner Corpus Research,1(1), 96-129. doi: 10.1075/ijlcr.1.1.04ale.
  • Alexopoulou T. and F. Keller, 2013, What vs. who and which: Kind denoting fillers and the complexity of whether-islands, in N.Horstein et al (eds), Experimental Syntax and Island Effects, CUP. pp.310-340.
  • Alexopoulou T, H.Yannakoudakis and A.Salamoura, 2013 Classifying intermediate Learner English: a data driven approach to learner corpora, in Corpora and Language in Use, pp.11-23.
  • Geertzen J, T Alexopoulou, A. Korhonen, 2013, Automatic linguistic annotation of large scale L2 databases: The EF-Cambridge Open Language Database (EFCAMDAT) in Proc. of 31st Second Language Research Forum (SLRF), pp. 1-15.
  • Alexopoulou T. and F.Keller, 2007, Locality, Cyclicity and Resumption: at the interface between grammar and the human parser, Language vol.83.1. pp.110-160.
  • Alexopoulou T., 2006, Resumption in relative clauses, Natural Language and Linguistic Theory vol.24.1. pp.57-111.
  • Alexopoulou T. and D.Kolliakou, 2002, On Linkhood, Topicalisation and Clitic Left Dislocation, Journal of Linguistics, vol. 38.2.193-245.
  • F.Keller and T.Alexopoulou, 2001, Phonology competes with Syntax: experimental evidence for the interaction of word order and accent placement in the realisation of Information Structure, Cognition, 79.301-372.