Akira Murakami, PhD

Dr., Dr.

Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

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.


Research activity per year

Personal profile


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.

Research interests

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.

Education/Academic qualification

Doctor of Philosophy, Theoretical and Applied Linguistics, University of Cambridge

5 Jan 201031 Jul 2013

Award Date: 19 Jul 2014

Master of Arts, Linguistics (TESOL), Tokyo University of Foreign Studies

1 Apr 200727 Mar 2009

Award Date: 27 Mar 2009

Bachelor of Arts, English Studies, Sophia University

1 Apr 200322 Mar 2007

Award Date: 22 Mar 2007

External positions

Center for Advanced Intelligence Project, RIKEN

16 Oct 2018 → …

Eberhard Karls University of Tübingen,

1 Oct 201731 Mar 2018

University of Cambridge

22 Oct 201512 Apr 2017


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  • Albert Valdman Award

    Murakami, Akira (Recipient) & Alexopoulou, Theodora (Recipient), 2017

    Prize: Prize (including medals and awards)

  • Best Article Award

    Michel, Marije (Recipient), Murakami, Akira (Recipient), Alexopoulou, Theodora (Recipient) & Meurers, Detmar (Recipient), 2022

    Prize: Prize (including medals and awards)