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


Murakami, A & Ellis, N 2022, 'Effects of Availability, Contingency, and Formulaicity on the Accuracy of English Grammatical Morphemes in Second Language Writing', Language Learning. https://doi.org/10.1111/lang.12500

Huang, Y, Murakami, A, Alexopoulou, T & Korhonen, A 2021, 'Subcategorization frame identification for learner English', International Journal of Corpus Linguistics, vol. 26, no. 2, pp. 187-218. https://doi.org/10.1075/ijcl.18097.hua

Rastelli, S & Murakami, A 2020, 'Apparently identical verbs can be represented differently. Comparing L1-L2 inflection with contingency-based measure ΔP', Corpora.

Saito, K, Macmillan, K, Tran, M, Suzukida, Y, Sun, H, Magne, V, Ilkan, M & Murakami, A 2020, 'Developing, analyzing and sharing multivariate datasets: Individual differences in L2 learning revisited', Annual Review of Applied Linguistics, vol. 40, pp. 9-25. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0267190520000045

Michel, M, Murakami, A, Alexopoulou, T & Meurers, D 2019, 'Effects of task type on morphosyntactic complexity across proficiency: Evidence from a large learner corpus of A1 to C2 writings', Instructed Second Language Acquisition, pp. 124-152. https://doi.org/10.1558/isla.38248

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

Sasaki, M, Mizumoto, A & Murakami, A 2018, 'Developmental trajectories in L2 writing strategy use: A self-regulation perspective', Modern Language Journal, vol. 102, no. 2, pp. 292-309. https://doi.org/10.1111/modl.12469

Majewska, O, Vulić, I, McCarthy, D, Huang, Y, Murakami, A, Laippala, V & Korhonen, A 2018, 'Investigating the cross-lingual translatability of VerbNet-style classification', Language Resources and Evaluation, vol. 52, no. 3, pp. 771-799. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10579-017-9403-x

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

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, vol. 67, no. S1, pp. 180-208. https://doi.org/10.1111/lang.12232

Chapter (peer-reviewed)

Alexopoulou, T, Meurers, D & Murakami, A 2022, Big data in SLA: advances in methodology and analysis. in N Ziegler & M González-Lloret (eds), The Routledge handbook of second language acquisition and technology. 1st edn, The Routledge Handbooks in Second Language Acquisition, Routledge, pp. 92-106. https://doi.org/10.4324/9781351117586-9

Murakami, A 2020, On the sample size required to identify the longitudinal L2 development of complexity and accuracy indices. in W Lowie, M Michel, A Rousse-Malpat, M Keijzer & R Steinkrauss (eds), Usage-based dynamics in second language development. Multilingual Matters, pp. 29-49.

In'nami, Y & Murakami, A 2020, Statistical modeling of SLA theories: connecting test performance to construct. in P Winke & T Brunfaut (eds), The Routledge handbook of second language acquisition and language testing. 1st edn, The Routledge Handbooks in Second Language Acquisition, Routledge, pp. 445-456. https://doi.org/10.4324/9781351034784-48

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