Professor Evan Kidd is an expert in psychology and linguistics, and TEDx speaker

Professor Evan Kidd Photo by Neha Attre
Professor Evan Kidd
Tuesday 1 August 2023

Professor Evan Kidd brings his expertise to the School of Literature, Language and Linguistics (SLLL) as a Professor of Linguistics.

His research delves into the area of Psycholinguistics (Language Acquisition & Language Processing), Developmental Psychology, and Social Cognition.

His recent research has focused on individual differences in language acquisition and use, the relationship between language acquisition and sentence processing from a crosslinguistic perspective, and the influence of typological diversity on sentence planning and production.

“I work on both language acquisition and adult language processing. My main focus for most of my career has been on how children learn their first language or languages. It’s intriguing that children are able to learn the intricacies of sound patterns and grammatical structures in languages better than adults,” Professor Kidd said.

“There are about 7000 diverse languages currently spoken in the world. It’s interesting to note that neurologically, children are flexible enough to learn across all languages despite this diversity. My research also includes how adults understand, plan, and produce sentences in real-time.”

Professor Kidd has received ARC funding (2021-24) for his project ‘How free is free? Word order in Australian indigenous languages’ in which he along with Rachel Nordlinger, Evan Kidd, Ina Bornkessel-Scheslewsky, and Matthias Scheslewsky are looking at three Australian Indigenous languages.

“The languages that we are looking at are free word order languages, which means that, unlike English, one can change the order of the words in a sentence and it doesn't change the meaning much. We are looking at how adults produce and understand sentences in those languages,” Professor Kidd said.

Professor Kidd joined the Research School of Psychology at The Australian National University (ANU) in 2012 but then moved to the School of Literature, Language and Linguistics (SLLL) as a Professor of Linguistics in 2022. He will be teaching ‘Child Language Acquisition’ to students this Semester.

Professor Kidd along with Rachel Nordlinger, and Gabriela Garrido Rodriguez was awarded Best Paper in Language 2023 by the Linguistic Society of America Awards Committee for the paper “Sentence planning and production in Murrinhpatha, an Australian 'free word order' language”. He was also awarded Australia's Leading Linguist by The Australian Higher Education Supplement in 2019.

In his TEDx Talk video, Professor Kidd explains how children with imaginary friends are more creative and socially competent, and demonstrates that schools with play-based learning can improve the creativity of children. Watch the video here.


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Updated:  22 August 2023/Responsible Officer:  CASS Marketing & Communications/Page Contact:  CASS Marketing & Communications