Dr Gareth Carrol BA, BSc, MA, PhD

Photograph of Dr Gareth Carrol

Department of English Language and Linguistics
Lecturer in Psycholinguistics
Admissions Tutor for Undergraduate Programmes

Contact details

3 Elms Road
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

I am a lecturer in psycholinguistics, with a particular interest in idiomatic and formulaic language in native and non-native speakers.


  • PhD English, University of Nottingham
  • MA Applied Linguistics, University of Nottingham
  • BSc Human Communication, De Montfort University
  • BA Language and Linguistics, University of York


I joined the department of English Language and Linguistics in January 2016. Prior to this I completed my PhD at the University of Nottingham, where I became interested in psycholinguistics in general and idioms in particular. I was also involved in a number of research projects using eye-tracking to explore literary reading and other aspects of language processing. My training in Speech and Language Therapy also means that I have a strong interest in clinical linguistics and language disorders.


I currently teach on the second year undergraduate module Psycholinguistics, the third year undergraduate model Clinical Linguistics, and the MA module Vocabulary and Phraseology.

Postgraduate supervision

I am keen to hear from students interested in research on idioms and formulaic language, as well as other aspects of phraseology. This includes processing and representation in first and second languages, and also amongst disordered populations. Please contact me to discuss any ideas you may have.

Find out more - our PhD English Language and Applied Linguistics  page has information about doctoral research at the University of Birmingham.


My research to date has looked at how idioms and other formulaic word combinations are processed by native and non-native speakers, including how translated forms are treated by proficient second language speakers. I use psycholinguistic techniques such as eye-tracking to explore these questions, and to help us understand the structure of the mental lexicon in terms of how words and word combinations may be represented.

My ongoing work extends these questions to other forms of formulaic sequence such as binomials and collocations, as well as continuing to explore the numerous questions that remain about how idioms are represented.

My work has also encompassed questions of literary reading and interpretation, using eye-tracking as a tool to investigate patterns of reader response in literary texts, and to extend existing work on corpus stylistics.

Other activities

I act as the eye-tracking lab manager for the Department of English Language and Linguistics.



Conklin, K., Pellicer-Sánchez, A. and Carrol, G. (2018). Eye-Tracking: A Guide for Applied Linguistics Research. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Book chapters

Conklin, K. and Carrol, G. (2018). First language influence on the processing of formulaic language in a second language. In A. Siyanova-Chanturia and A. Pellicer-Sánchez (Eds.), Understanding Formulaic Language. A Second Language Acquisition Perspective, pp. 62-77. New York/Abingdon: Routledge. 


Carrol, G. and Conklin, K (2019). Is All Formulaic Language Created Equal? Unpacking the Processing Advantage for Different Types of Formulaic Sequences. Language and Speech, first published online Jan 29th 2019. 

Carrol, G., Littlemore, J. and Gillon Dowens, M. (2018). Of false friends and familiar foes: Comparing native and non-native understanding of figurative phrases. Lingua, 204¸ 21-44.

Carrol, G., Conklin, K. and Gyllstad, H. (2016). Found in translation: The influence of L1 on the processing of idioms in L2. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 38 (3), 403-443.

Guy, J., Scott, R., Conklin, K. and Carrol, G. (2016). Challenges in Editing Late Nineteenth-  and Early Twentieth-Century Prose and Fiction: What Is Editorial “Completeness”? English Literature in Transition, 59 (4), 435-455.

Carrol, G., Conklin,. K., Guy, J., & Scott, R. (2015). Processing punctuation and word changes in different editions of prose fiction. Scientific Studies of Literature, 5, 2, 200-228.

Carrol, G. and Conklin, K. (2015). Cross language priming extends to formulaic units: Evidence from eye tracking suggests that this idea “has legs”. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 20 (2), 299-317.

 Carrol, G. and Conklin, K. (2014b). Eye tracking multiword units: Some methodological questions. Journal of Eye Movement Research, 7 (5), 5: 1-11.

 Carrol, G. and Conklin, K. (2014a). Getting your wires crossed: Evidence for fast processing of L1 idioms in an L2. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 17 (4): 784-797.