Research Interests

My primary research interests lie in two fields:

1.  Language acquisition in both typical and atypical populations

2.  The interface between language and cognition, particularly logical reasoning

I study these areas using tools such as evoked response potentials and language corpora and through the use of various experimental methods.  Both areas of interest come together in examining the acquisition of linguistic and cognitive skills in childhood as well as their loss in cases of brain damage. Other interests include multilingualism, translation, and the educational outcomes of children with language difficulties.


Sep 1996 - Jun 2002


la Sorbonne (Paris IV)

Thesis director: President George Molinié

Thesis title: A Neurolinguistic Analysis of Reasoning

Aug 1994 - Aug 1995


University of London, Queen Mary and Westfield College
Sep 1987 - Jun 1991


University of Minnesota

Work History

Work History
Jan 2010 - Present

Associate Professor

University of Texas at Arlington
Sep 2006 - Jan 2010

Assistant / Associate Professor of Speech and Language Difficulties

Birmingham University

Program Director of online and hybrid undergraduate and masters degrees for Speech and Language Pathologists and Teachers

Jan 2001 - Jan 2005

Assistant Professor of Linguistics

University of Central England (now Birmingham City University)

Responsible for Linguistics Section of undergraduate and master level degrees in Speech and Language Pathology

Grants Awarded

PI: Malaia, E., Co-PI: Tommerdahl, J. (2014-2015). National Science Foundation DRL-1434973. Collaboration, Advancement and Translation in Mind, Brain and Education. ($25,741)

PI: Tommerdahl, J. (2013) with Reid Lyon. University of Texas at Dallas Presidential Funding. Initial literature review for longitudinal study on educational outcomes. ($14,000) Declined by UTA.

PI: Tommerdahl, J. (2012-2013) University of Texas at Arlington’s Vice-Provost’s Office. Pilot project grant for neuroscience e-course materials. ($1000)

UTA Center for Distance Education (2012). Principal Investigator: Semingson, P. with Tommerdahl, J.. Digital Mentoring in Online Literacy Graduate Course ($4050)

PI: Tommerdahl, J. (2011). University of Texas at Arlington’s Research Enhancement Program (REP). Trajectories of deductive and probabilistic reasoning changes in an aging population. ($10,000)

CREATE (2011). Principal investigators: Cavallo, A. and Reubel, K. with Tommerdahl, J. Project to identify how teacher training can be more effective. ($50,000)

The Esmee Fairbarn Charitable Trust (2009-2010). Principal investigator: Lacey, P. with Tommerdahl, J. and Robertson, C. Project to make libraries more accessible to those with long term literacy difficulties. (£48,757/$75,000).

PI: Tommerdahl, J. (2009-2010). Research Capacity-Building Grant. Multinational project between England, Belgium and France to adapt the linguistic profile, the LARSP (Language Assessment and Remediation Screening Procedure, Crystal, Fletcher and Garman 1976) from English to French. This tool is widely used to assist in the diagnosis of difficulties at the levels of morphology and syntax in children. (£4000/$6,200).

PI: Tommerdahl, J. (2008). Nuffield Foundation. Examining reliability in spontaneous language samples of children from 2;6-3;6. The project tests the reliability of 4 different sample lengths in morphosyntactic analysis. (£7125/$11,000).

PI: Tommerdahl, J. (2008-2009). Small Developmental Research Grant Development of deductive and probabilistic linguistic reasoning skills in typically developing children from age 4 – 18. (£1320/$2,000).

PI: Tommerdahl, J. (2006-2007). Birmingham School of Education Seminar series Researching Specific Language Impairment in Education. (£600/$950).

PI: Tommerdahl, J. (2006). School of Education Research Grant Pilot project examining reliability in spontaneous language samples regarding measures of syntax in normally developing children. (£1200/$1900).

University of Birmingham Travel Grant (2006)

PI: Tommerdahl, J. (2005-2008). Centre of Excellence in Teaching and Learning Grant (£3000/$4500). Developing online resources for undergraduate students of syntax.

Faculty of Health Travel Grant, University of Central England (2005)

University of Central England Travel Grant (2004)

Peer reviewed journal articles

Tommerdahl, J., Moran, P., and Ricard, M. (revised and resubmitted). Different Developmental Trajectories Shown in a Reasoning Study of 4-16 Year Olds. Submitted to Developmental Psychology.

Tommerdahl, J. Ricard, M., McKee, W., Nesbitt, M. and Ray, C. (submitted) Do Deductive and Probabilistic Reasoning Abilities Decline in Older Adults? Submitted to Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

Stringer, S., and Tommerdahl, J. (in press)  Building Bridges between Neuroscience, Cognition and Education with Predictive Modeling.  Journal of Mind, Brain and Education.

Malaia, E., Tommerdahl, J. and McKee, F.W. (2014) Deductive versus Probabilistic Reasoning in Healthy Adults: An EEG Analysis of Neural Differences, Journal of Psycholinguistic Research, available online from May 2014, DOI: 10.1007/s10936-014-9297-3.

Tommerdahl, J. (2014) Temporal Reliability and the LARSP Profile: A Test-Retest Paradigm on Syntactic Production in Child Language. International Review of Social Sciences and Humanities, 7,2, 1-14.

Tommerdahl, J. and Kilpatrick, C. (2014) The Reliability of Morphological Analyses in Language Samples. Journal of Language Testing, 31,1, 3-18.

Tommerdahl, J. and Semingson, P. (2013). Behavioral Problems in the Classroom and Underlying Language Difficulties. Journal of Education and Training Studies, 1, 2. 217-223.

Tommerdahl, J. and Kilpatrick, C. (2013) Analyzing Reliability of Grammatical Production in Spontaneous Samples of Varying Length. Journal of Child Language Teaching and Therapy, 29,2, 171-183.

Maillart, C., Parisse, C. and Tommerdahl, J. (2012) F-LARSP: An Adaptation of the LARSP Language Profile for French. Journal of Clinical Linguistics and Phonetics, 26,2, 188-198.

Tommerdahl, J. (2010). A model for bridging the gap between neuroscience and education. Oxford Review of Education, 36,1, 97-109.

Tommerdahl, J. (2009). What teachers of students with SEBD need to know about speech and language difficulties. Emotional and Behavioural Difficulties, 14,1, 19-31.

Tommerdahl, J. and Drew, M. (2007). Difficulty in SLI Diagnosis: A Case Study of Identical Twins, Clinical Linguistics and Phonetics, 22, 4, 275-282.

Peer-reviewed conference proceedings

Tommerdahl, J. and Moran, P. (2011) Does a Behavioral Experiment on Reasoning Support the Neurological Findings? LACUS Forum XXXVI. Claremont, CA: LACUS.

Moran, P. and Tommerdahl, J. (2011) A case study of linguistic isolation and questions about subsequent language support and educational provision in the United Kingdom. LACUS Forum XXXVI. Claremont: LACUS.

Tommerdahl, J. (2006). Studies of Language Impairment: Pinker’s Claims for Modularity. In Shin Ja J. Hwang, William J. Sullivan, and Arle R. Lommel (eds.), LACUS Forum XXXII. Dartmouth: LACUS.

Tommerdahl, J., Gil, R., and Molinié, G. (2005). New Evidence of Distinct Brain Mechanisms in Human Reasoning: Examining the Deductive/Probabilistic Divide. In Adam Makkai, William J. Sullivan, and Arle R. Lommel (eds.), LACUS Forum XXXI:
Interconnections. Chicago: LACUS.


Biggan, J.R., McKee, W., Nesbitt, M., Ray, C.T., & Tommerdahl, J. (2013, November). The aging mind: Physical fitness and deductive and probabilistic reasoning in community-dwelling older adults. Abstract of the Late Breaker Poster Session at The Gerontological Society of America's 66th Annual Scientific Meeting. New Orleans, LA.

Parisse, C., Maillart, C., and Tommerdahl, J. (2012). FLarsp (a French adaptation and computerization of the LARSP: Language Assessment, Remediation and Screening Procedure by Crystal, Fletcher et Garman) [software]. Retrieved from

Book chapters

Tommerdahl, J. (2013). Links between Social, Emotional and Behavioural Difficulties and Speech and Language Difficulties: What every teacher should know. In Ted Cole, Harry Daniels and John Visser (Eds.) Routledge Education Companion to Emotional and Behavioural Difficulties. London: Routledge.

Parisse, C., Maillart, C. & Tommerdahl, J. (2012). F-LARSP: A Computerized Tool for Measuring Morphosyntactic Abilities in French. Assessing Grammar: The Languages of LARSP Eds. Martin Ball, David Crystal & Paul Fletcher. Clevedon, England: Multilingual Matters.

Tommerdahl, J. (2012). Neuroscience and Education. In James Arthur and Andrew Peterson (eds.) The Routledge Companion to Education. London: Routledge.

Editor-reviewed conference proceedings

Tommerdahl, J. and de Bruijn, C. (2009). Is One Language Sample Enough in Morphosyntactic Analysis? In Child Language Seminar, 217-225.

Professional journals

Tommerdahl, J. (2008). Education and the neurosciences: where are we? SENCO Update, 95, 8-10.


Tommerdahl, J. (2009). Review of: How children develop social understanding, by Carpendale, M. and Lewis, C. Child Language Teaching & Therapy, 25, 2, 271-277.

Tommerdahl, J. (2009). Review of: Clinical Linguistics, by Cummings, L. International Journal of Language & Communication Disorders, 44, 6, 1074.

Tommerdahl, J. (2007) Review of: Language for thinking: A structured approach for young children, by Parsons, S. and Branagan. Support for Learning: British Journal of Learning Support, 155.

Professional Translations of Film Scripts

La Vraie Vie des Profs (2013 release) for 2.4.7 Films, Paris, France.

Realité (2013 release) for Realitism Films, Paris, France.

Mains armées (2012 release) for 2.4.7 Films, Paris, France.

La Délicatesse (2012 release) for 2.4.7 Films, Paris, France.

Wrong Cops (2012 release) for Realitism Films, Paris, France.

Ugly, but I like it (2011 release) for Warp Films, London, England.

Lights out (2010 release) for 2.4.7 Films, Paris, France. Nominated at the Cannes Film Festival.

Pièce Montée (2010 release) for 2.4.7 Films, Paris, France.

Persepolis (2008 release) for 2.4.7 Films, Paris, France. Winner of the Prix du Jury at the Cannes Film Festival and nominated for an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature Film of the Year.

Mr. Oizo (not released) for Realitism Films, Paris, France.

Selected Presentations

June 2014 Tommerdahl, J. and Kilpatrick, C. Reliability of Morphological and Syntactic Structures in Child-Directed Speech. International Clinical Phonetics and Linguistics Association Conference, Stockholm, Sweden.

Nov 2013 Tommerdahl, J., Biggan, J., McKee, W., Nesbitt, M. and Ray, C. The Aging Mind: Physical Fitness and Deductive and Probabilistic Reasoning in Community-Dwelling Older Adults. Gerontological Society of American’s 66th Annual Scientific Meeting. New Orleans.

Sept 2013 Panel Member for Mind, Brain and Education at Changing the Odds Conference, Dallas, TX.

April 2012 Malaia, E., Tommerdahl, J, and McKee, F. ERP correlates of deductive versus heuristic reasoning. Association for Psychological Science, Chicago.

June 2011 Maillart, C., Parisse, C., and Tommerdahl, J. Le F-LARSP, une adaptation francophone du LARSP. Premières données et perspectives. Invited presentation at Université Catholique de Louvain, Belgium.

April 2011 Reading, Writing and Brain Research. Invited presentation for the Texas Education Reform Foundation.

June 2010 Reliability of Spontaneous Language Samples. International Clinical Phonetics & Linguistics Conference. Oslo, Norway.

June 2010 F-LARSP with Christelle Maillart and Christophe Parisse. International Clinical Phonetics & Linguistics Association Conference. Oslo, Norway.

Nov. 2009 Invited speaker. The acquisition and development of argumentative skills in children from 4 – 18. Cambridge-Paris Workshop on Multimodal Approaches to Language Acquisition. Cambridge University, England.

Oct. 2009 Invited speaker. Language, behavior and special needs. TES Special Needs London Exhibition. London.

August 2009 Matching behavioural studies to the neurological: The divide between deductive and probabilistic reasoning. LACUS Conference, Claremont, CA.

June 2009 Keynote speaker for Language of Behaviour Conference. Neuroscience, behaviour, language and learning. London.

June 2009 Keynote speaker for SEBDA SE conference. Speech, language and communication needs in children with behavioral difficulties. Ashford, England.

May 2009 Invited speaker Secondary SENCO Update’s 6th Annual Conference. Neuroscience and Special Education: Is science finding the way forward? London.

March 2008 First keynote speaker for SEBDA national conference. Language impairment and behavioral difficulties: Not just a coincidence. Harrogate, England.

March 2007 What does language impairment tell us about language acquisition? International Linguistics Association Conference. Hunter College, New York City.

June 2006 Difficulties in Diagnosing SLI: A Case Study of Identical Twins. Conference of the International Clinical Phonetics and Linguistics Association, Dubrovnik, Croatia.

Sample of Classes Taught

Introduction to Educational Neuroscience
Foundations of Language and Linguistics
Designing Classroom Research
Implementing and Disseminating Classroom Research
Methods in ESL and Bilingual Classrooms
Intermediate English Morphology
Syntax for Speech and Language Pathologists
Introduction to Phonetics and Phonology
Clinical Linguistic Assessment
Residency in EC-6 Education
Theoretical Models in Mind, Brain and Education


Academic Activities

Member of Editorial Board for Journal of Child Language Teaching and Therapy

Reviewer for:

International Journal of Language & Communication Disorders
Language Testing
Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools
Clinical Linguistics & Phonetics
Child Language Teaching and Therapy
Educational Psychologist
Child Development
Journal of French Language Studies
British Journal of Visual Impairment
Child Abuse Review
Education as Change: Journal of Curriculum Research

Supervisor to Ph.D. students (UK and US)
External PhD examiner: University of Sydney
Internal PhD examiner: University of Birmingham, UK
Book reviewer for MIT Press (Philosophy and cognitive science division)
Book reviewer for Routledge
Cognitive Neuroscience Group Speaker Series Committee Member
Judge for 18th Annual UT Arlington Student Conference in Linguistics and TESOL
Judge for ACES Research Conference – Annual Celebration of Excellence by Students

Administrative Activities

MacDowell Center Advisory Board Member (2015 - present)

Faculty Senate (2011 – 2013)
Chair of Operating Procedures Committee (Faculty Senate Committee) (2012-13)
Budget Liaison Committee Member (Faculty Senate Committee) (2011-2012)
Tenure and Promotion Committee Member (Faculty Senate Committee) (2010-11)
College of Education and Health Professions College Research Committee (2011- )
Chair of Department of Curriculum & Instruction Research Committee (2011-)
Advisory Board for Women’s and Gender Studies (2013-16)
Member of Active Learning Committee (2011-12)