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



  • Murakami, A. (under contract). Corpus linguistics for second language acquisition. Oxon: Routledge.

Journal publications

  • Huang, Y., Murakami, A., Alexopoulou, T., & Korhonen, A. (2018). Dependency parsing of learner English. International Journal of Corpus Linguistics, 23(1), 28-54. doi: 10.1075/ijcl.16080.hua
  • Sasaki, M., Mizumoto, A., & Murakami, A. (2018). Developmental trajectories in L2 writing strategy use: A self-regulation perspective. Modern Language Journal, 102(2), 292-309. doi: 10.1111/modl.12469
  • Majewska, O., Vulić, I., McCarthy, D., Huang, Y., Murakami, A., Laippala, V., & Korhonen, A. (forthcoming). Investigating the cross-lingual translatability of VerbNet-style classification. Language Resources and Evaluation. doi: 10.1007/s10579-017-9403-x
  • Alexopoulou, T., Michel, M., Murakami, A., & Meurers, D. (2017). Task effects on linguistic complexity and accuracy: A large-scale learner corpus analysis employing Natural Language Processing techniques. Language Learning, 67(S1), 180–208. doi: 10.1111/lang.12232
  • Murakami, A., Hunston, S., Thompson, P., & Vajn, D. (2017). ‘What is this corpus about?’ Using topic modeling to explore a specialized corpus. Corpora, 12(2), 243-277. doi: 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, 22(2), 153–186. doi: 10.1075/ijcl.22.2.01tho
  • Murakami, A. (2016). Modeling systematicity and individuality in nonlinear second language development: The case of English grammatical morphemes. Language Learning, 66(4), 834–871. doi: 10.1111/lang.12166
  • Murakami, A., & Alexopoulou, T. (2016). L1 influence on the acquisition order of English grammatical morphemes: A learner corpus study. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 38(3), 365-401. doi: 10.1017/S0272263115000352 [Recipient of the 2016 Albert Valdman Award for outstanding publication of the year in SSLA]

Contributions to edited volumes

  • Salamoura, A., Littlemore, J., Murakami, A., & Jaworska, S. (2015). Directions in English Profile research. In. J. Harrison & F. Baker (Eds.), English Profile in practice (pp. 106-119). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Murakami, A. (2013). Kenkyu rei 1: Kijun tokusei no chushutsu [Example study 1: Extracting criterial features]. In Y. Tono, T. Kaneko, M. Sugiura, & E. Izumi (Eds.), Eigo gakushusha kopasu katsuyo handobukku [A handbook of exploiting English learner corpora] (pp. 147-155). Tokyo: Taishukanshoten.

 Contributions to conference proceedings

  • Murakami, A., & Alexopoulou, T. (2016). Longitudinal L2 development of the English article in individual learners. In A. Papafragou, D. Grodner, J. Trueswell, & D. Mirman (Eds.), Proceedings of the 38th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society (pp. 1050-1055). Philadelphia, PA: Cognitive Science Society.
  • Murakami, A. (2013). Cross-linguistic influence on the accuracy order of L2 English grammatical morphemes. In S. Granger, S. Gaëtanelle, & F. Meunier (Eds.), Twenty years of learner corpus research: Looking back, moving ahead. Corpora and language in use - Proceedings 1 (pp. 325-334). Louvain-la-Neuve: Presses universitaires de Louvain.
  • Murakami, A. (2009). A corpus-based study of English textbooks in Japan and Asian countries: Multidimensional approach. Proceedings of the International Conference on Multi-Development and Application of Languages and Linguistics [CD-ROM].

View all publications in research portal