Centre for European and International Studies Research


Photo of Professor Alessandro Giovanni Benati

Professor Alessandro Giovanni Benati

  • Qualifications: PhD, Master of Science, Dottore in Lettere e Filosofia
  • Role Title: Head of SLAS and Professor of Second Language Acquisition
  • Address: Park Building, King Henry 1 Street, Portsmouth PO1 2DZ
  • Telephone: 023 9284 6050
  • Email: alessandro.benati@port.ac.uk
  • Department: School of Languages and Area Studies
  • Faculty: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences


Alessandro Benati is Head of School of Languages and Area Studies and Professor of Second Language Acquisition at the University of Portsmouth. He is internationally known for his research in second language learning and teaching, with special emphases on processing instruction. He has published ground-breaking research with James Lee on processing instruction. He is a pioneering researcher in the area of second language acquisition (SLA) and in the more specific field of instructed SLA, where he has investigated the effects of instruction on the acquisition of grammatical properties by second language learners. He has a strong publications record with over fifteen established monographs (premiere publishers such as CUP, Multilingual Matters, Bloomsbury, Palgrave and Mouton de Gruyter), chapters and articles in international journals (Language Awareness, Second Language Research, IRAL and Language Teaching Research). He is co-author of The Cambridge Handbook of Language Learning and The Handbook of Advanced Proficiency in Second Language Acquisition. Wiley-Blackwell.

He is Co-Editor of ISLA and Editor of Advanced ISLA Research Book Series. He is a member of Language Teaching Research Editorial Board and Co-Editor of Grammar World Japanese online platform).

He has co-ordinated national and international research projects funded by the European Union, Leverhulme Trust, British Academy, Sassakawa Foundation, Japanese MEXT, School Challenge Fund and other funders. He is currently a member of the AHRC Peer Review College.

His research had an impact on society and people (e.g., Raising Participation Rates and Performance in MFL at Key Stages 3, 4 & 5 (School Challenge Fund - 2014-2016); Kick Start Programme for Innovative Teaching and Learning of Japanese Syntax and verbal morphology (Sassakawa Foundation and MEXT - 2014-17); Language learning and teaching in Macedonia: policy and delivery (EU fund - 2010-2012). He is visiting Professor in many universities abroad (Japan, Hong Kong, Turkey and others) and at York St John University. 


Professor Benati is currently working on the following projects:

Processing instruction and motivational factors in the acquisition of word order in Arabic. (with Ayah Farhat)

We are conducting an investigation into motivational factors and how these factors might be affected by grammar instruction.

Processing instruction and working memory (with Stephanie Peter)

We are investigating the possible role of working memory capacity in the effects of processing instruction on the acquisition of German morphology.

The effects of re-exposure on sentence and discourse level tasks (with Benedetta Basile)

We are carrying out a classroom experiment to measure the relative effects of instruction and additional instruction on the acquisition of the Japanese syntactic and verbal morphology system.

The effects of structured input and structured output practice on the acquisition of English causative (with Maria Batziou)

We are studying the possible effects of a combination of input and output-based instruction among school-age learners and adults (Greek L1).

Processing instruction and the age factor

The effects of processing instruction are measured on adults and school-age learners of English to establish possible acqusitional patterns.

Processing grammatical input: differences between second (L2) and third language (L3) learners of English (with Tanja Angelovska, University of Salzburg)

We are conducting empirical research measuring whether there are any differences in how German learners of L2 English (with no knowledge of other foreign languages) and trilingual learners (with different language backgrounds who use more than two languages on a daily basis) process grammatical input (English morphological forms and syntactic structures).

Processing of English/Arabic transitive clauses by English monolinguals and late English/Arabic bilinguals: An ERP study

(with Carl O'Donoghue)

Processing instruction. An eye-tracking study on the acquisition of Passive constructions and English causative forms

(with James Lee and Paul Malovrh).

Processing instruction versus input enhancement: classroom effects and computerised online learning measurement

(with Gaia Chiucchiu).

Non intrusive input enhancement and incidental learning: An eye tracking study

(with Ilaria Borro).


Research profile

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