Dr Kevin McManus



In 2013 I joined the Department of Education to take up a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowship with the project “The role of explicit information in remapping meaning in a second language: An experimental intervention study”. I was previously a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Southampton on a project funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, the LANGSNAP project (2011-2013).

I completed my first degree in French and German (2006) and my MA in Applied Linguistics (2008) at Aston University. I then moved to Newcastle University and received my PhD in 2011.

My research examines the linguistic, cognitive and contextual factors that underpin second language acquisition and broadly falls into two main lines of inquiry: study abroad and grammar learning and teaching. I am especially interested in research that addresses the often unexplored gap between the L2 acquisition research findings and classroom learning and teaching.

I teach on the following MA modules at York:

  • Crosslinguistic Influence in Second Language Acquisition
  • Learning and Teaching Grammar in a Second Language



My research interests are in Second Language Acquisition, in particular:

  • Form-meaning mapping
  • Cross-linguistic differences (especially L1 influence)
  • Explicit-Implicit knowledge in language learning
  • Learning contexts (classroom learning, study abroad)
  • Proficiency assessment


The role of explicit information in remapping meaning in a second language: An experimental intervention study (with Emma Marsden (mentor), ongoing until October 2016)

Funded by the British Academy, this project investigates the provision and effectiveness of explicit information for the L2 learning of the French Imparfait. It will document and compare the impact of different types of explicit information in a classroom intervention study:

Second language acquisition (SLA) research has repeatedly shown that second language (L2) learners encounter persistent problems when the first language (L1) and the L2 mark the same meaning differently (Collins 2004; McManus 2011; Nishi & Shirai 2007; Sugaya & Shirai 2007). In order to address this learning problem, research suggests that the provision of explicit information is required to force learners to process L1-L2 differences (Ammar et al. 2010; Spada et al. 2005). This study will document and compare the impact of different types of explicit instruction on the L2 acquisition of meaning. Two types of explicit information are provided by drawing specific attention to: (1) form-meaning differences between the L1 and the L2 and (2) the specific meanings conveyed by L2 forms (without L1-L2 contrasts). The project will contribute to theoretical understandings on the provision of explicit information in MFL classrooms, and consequently will inform language learning pedagogy and education practices in the UK and internationally.

Research group(s)

Centre for Research in Language Learning and Use (CReLLU)

External activities




Editorial duties

Assistant editor, EUROSLA Monographs series

Grant review for British Council (Arts and Humanities Panel)

Article review for:

  • Applied Linguistics
  • International Journal of Corpus Linguistics
  • International Review of Applied Linguistics in Language Teaching
  • Journal of French Language Studies
  • Language Learning
  • Modern Language Journal
  • Second Language Research

Conference organisation

  • Tense, Aspect and Modality in L2 (TAML2), University of York (2016)
  • European Second Language Association (EUROSLA) annual conference, University of York (2014)
  • Residence Abroad, Social Networks and Second Language Learning. University of Southampton, UK (2013)
  • Younger=better? Comparing 5, 7 and 11 year olds learning French in the classroom Newcastle University, UK (2011)
  • The Fourth Postgraduate Conference in Theoretical and Applied Linguistics. Newcastle University, UK (2009)




Contact details

Department of Education
University of York
YO10 5DD

Tel: +44 (0)1904 323592