Accessibility statement

Dr Cylcia Bolibaugh



I joined the department in September 2014, taking up a post as Teaching Fellow in Education, after completing my PhD in Second Language Acquisition (University of Surrey). Prior to this, I spent 6 years teaching on the MA in Applied Linguistics and ELT (on site and on partial distance programmes in Maastricht and Berlin), and on the BA in English, at St Mary's University, London.

Although I have always been interested in the nature of language and language use, I pursued a first degree in Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of California at Berkeley, graduating cum laude in 1998. Following several years working on international food security and sustainability issues in various think tanks (Institute for Food and Development Policy, Redefining Progress), I moved to teaching EFL/ESP in Europe and Eurasia, and more recently, EAP in the UK. In addition to a PhD, I hold a BA, RSA Celta, MA in Applied Linguistics and ELT (distinction).

I currently teach on the following modules:

  • Intercultural Communication in Education
  • Topics in Second Language Acquisition
  • Quantitative and Qualitative Data Analysis
  • TESOL Methods
  • Planning and Communicating Research



I am interested in most aspects of second language acquisition, both ‘in the wild’ and the classroom. My specific interests include formulaic language and corpus research, incidental and implicit learning, high proficiency second language speakers and the influence of cognitive and conative factors.

Theoretically, my research aims to describe the cognitive and social processes which account for the highly conventional (ie idiomatic or formulaic) nature of much language use in the face of its generative potential.

On an applied level, I explore how (& whether!) second language learners acquire probabilistic lexical restrictions in instructed and naturalistic contexts. To this end, I have investigated the influence of learner factors (eg the interactions between quantity and quality of exposure and individual differences in cognition and motivational disposition), and language factors (eg the availability, salience and extensibility of semi-restricted patterns in the input).

I use corpus metrics to capture the distributional information available in language input, cognitive tests to index differences in memory and incidental learning ability and questionnaires to assess second language contact.

Research group(s)

Centre for Research in Language Learning and Use (CReLLU)

External activities


I am a member of the British Association for Applied Linguistics (BAAL). I also serve as the, communications officer for the BAAL Language Learning and Teaching Special Interest Group (LLTSIG).

I am a member of the European Second Language Association .

Invited talks and conferences

I regularly contribute to international conferences and workshops worldwide (eg, workshops on Idiomaticity and Complexity; BAAL and LLT Conferences; EuroSLA; GURT).

Peer review

I am a reviewer for Studies in Second Language Acquisition.


Contact details

Department of Education
University of York
YO10 5DD

Tel: +44 (0)1904 323999