Dr Akira Murakami BA, MA, PhD

Dr Akira Murakami

Department of English Language and Linguistics
Birmingham Fellow

Contact details

University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

My applied linguistics research spans two areas, second language acquisition (SLA) and corpus linguistics. I am trying to bring the two areas together so that developmental research in SLA can benefit from large-scale corpus data.


  • 2014: PhD in Theoretical and Applied Linguistics, University of Cambridge
  • 2009: MA in Linguistics (TESOL/TEFL), Tokyo University of Foreign Studies
  • 2007:BA in Foreign Studies, Sophia University


I was born and grew up in Osaka, Japan, and since then have lived in Chicago (1999-2002), Tokyo (2003-2009, 2017, 2018), Cambridge (2010-2013, 2015-2017), Tübingen (2017-2018), and Birmingham (2013-2015, 2018-present). In my undergraduate study, I majored in English and studied second language acquisition (SLA), TEFL, and bilingualism, among other things. During my MA, I put a special emphasis on the use of corpora in TEFL research, and my master's dissertation was a corpus-based study on the comparison of English textbooks used in Asian countries. In my PhD research, I combined my interests in SLA and corpus linguistics. More specifically, I investigated the second language (L2) acquisition of English grammatical morphemes based on large-scale learner corpora and identified both systematicity and individuality in their accuracy development.

Prior to joining Birmingham in August 2018, I worked as a post-doctoral researcher at the Universities of Birmingham, Cambridge, and Tübingen. In Birmingham, I worked for the ESRC-funded project, ‘Interdisciplinary Research Discourse: the case of Global Environmental Change’, and was primarily responsible for the management, processing, and quantitative analysis of corpus data. In Cambridge, I was in the EF Education First Research Lab for Applied Language Learning and investigated L2 development of linguistic complexity and accuracy. During my brief stay in Tübingen, I was in LEAD Graduate School and Research Network and the ICALL research group, where I deepened my knowledge in computational linguistic approaches to the analysis of learner language.


I have taught courses on statistics, R, corpus linguistics, and second language acquisition.

Postgraduate supervision

I am keen to supervise PhD research on topics at the interface between corpus linguistics (particularly learner corpus research) and second language acquisition. Please get in touch if you are interested in working with me.

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


My main research interests are in second language acquisition, corpus linguistics, and quantitative data analysis. I am particularly interested in systematicity and individuality in second language development. To characterize language development at the level of individual learners, it is essential to target a large number of learners, and for this reason, my work has exclusively drawn on large-scale learner corpora. To gain insights from such corpora, I have employed a variety of statistical and computational techniques.

Other activities

Visit my website at http://www.akira-murakami.com


Recent publications


Grieve, J, Montgomery, C, Nini, A, Murakami, A & Guo, D 2019, 'Mapping lexical dialect variation in British English using Twitter', Frontiers in Artificial Intelligence, vol. 2, 11. https://doi.org/10.3389/frai.2019.00011

Huang, Y, Murakami, A, Alexopoulou, T & Korhonen, A 2018, 'Dependency parsing of learner English', International Journal of Corpus Linguistics, vol. 23, no. 1, pp. 28-57. https://doi.org/10.1075/ijcl.16080.hua

Murakami, A, Thompson, P, Hunston, S & Vajn, D 2017, ''What is this corpus about?': Using topic modelling to explore a specialised corpus', Corpora, vol. 12, no. 2, pp. 243-277. https://doi.org/10.3366/cor.2017.0118

Thompson, P, Hunston, S, Murakami, A & Vajn, D 2017, 'Multi-dimensional analysis, text constellations, and interdisciplinary discourse', International Journal of Corpus Linguistics, vol. 22, no. 2, pp. 153–186. https://doi.org/10.1075/ijcl.22.2.01tho

Murakami, A & Alexopoulou, T 2016, 'L1 influence on the acquisition order of English grammatical morphemes: A learner corpus study', Studies in Second Language Acquisition, vol. 38, no. 3, pp. 365-401. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0272263115000352

Murakami, A 2016, 'Modeling systematicity and individuality in nonlinear second language development: The case of English grammatical morphemes', Language Learning, vol. 66, no. 4, pp. 834-871. https://doi.org/10.1111/lang.12166

View all publications in research portal