Nick Ellis, a professor in the  Department of Psychology and research scientist at the English Language Institute, also holds a courtesy appointment as professor in the Linguistics Department. Nick is a world-leader on language learning, and we are fortunate to count him as a member of the linguistics community here at Michigan. As is usual for Nick, he has been very active in terms of both presentations and publications thus far in 2012.  A list of some of his activities follow at the end of this posting.

Nick was also honored this year with the Ian Gordon Fellowship in the School of Linguistics and Applied Language Studies at the Victoria University in Wellington, New Zealand. This fellowship, which was set up to support and promote the study of English language and linguistics, is awarded annually to a word-leader in English linguistics. As part of the fellowship, Nick spent three weeks in Wellington, where he gave several presentations and also taught an intensive graduate course on “Cognitive Linguistics and Language Acquisition”. A report from the Ian Gordan Trust about Nick's tenure as the Ian Gordon Fellow is available here.

Below are lists of Nick's many presentations and publications thus for 2012.


  • Ellis, N. C.. Construction usage and acquisition just Zipfs right along  Plenary presentation The 5th International Conference of the German Cognitive Linguistics Association, Freiburg, Germany, October 10-12, 2012.
  • Ellis, N. C. Humans make language and language makes us human: Language as a complex adaptive system. Public lecture, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand, July 12, 2012.
  • Ellis, N. C. Usage-Based Language- Investigating the Latent Structures that Underpin Acquisition.  Plenary presentation Currents in Language Learning, University of Michigan, April 1-2, 2012.
  • Ellis, N. C. Does language Zipf right along? Investigating robustness in the latent structures of usage and acquisition. Plenary presentation Georgetown University Round Table on Languages and Linguistics on “Measured Language”, March 9-March 11, 2012.
  • O’Donnell, M & Ellis, N. C., Corden, G.  Exploring semantics in verb argument constructions using community identification algorithms. Language & Network Science symposium, The International Conference on Network Science NETSCI 2012 , Northwestern University, June 18-22, 2012.
  • Römer, U., O’Donnell, M & Ellis, N. C.   What do speakers know about English Verb-Argument Constructions? Combining corpus and psycholinguistic evidence from L1 and L2 settings. The 33rd ICAME conference, Leuven, Belgium, 30 May – 3 June, 2012.
  • Römer, U., O’Donnell, M & Ellis, N. C.   Measuring speakers’ knowledge of English verb-argument constructions: Psycholinguistic evidence from L1 and L2 settings. Georgetown University Round Table on Languages and Linguistics on “Measured Language”, March 9-March 11, 2012.


  • Ellis, N. C. (2012) Variable competence. Linguistic Approaches to Bilingualism, 2:3 264-268.
  • O’Donnell, M. B., Römer, U. & Ellis, N. C.  (in press, 2012). The development of formulaic language in first and second language writing: Investigating effects of frequency, association, and native norm. International Journal of Corpus Linguistics.
  • Coventry, W., Antón-Méndez, I., Ellis, E., Levison, C., Byrne, B., van Daal, V. & Ellis, N. C.  (2012). The Etiology of Individual Differences in Second Language Acquisition in Australian School Students: A Behaviour-Genetic Study. Language Learning, 62, 880-901.
  • Martin, K. I., & Ellis, N. C. (2012). The Roles of Phonological STM and Working Memory in L2 Grammar and Vocabulary Learning. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 34 (3), 379-413.
  • Ellis, N. C. & O’Donnell, M.  (in press, Sept 2012).  Statistical construction learning: Does a Zipfian problem space ensure robust language learning? In J. Rebuschat & J. Williams  (Eds.) Statistical Learning and Language Acquisition, Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.
  • Ellis, N. C. (in press, Aug 2012). What can we count in language, and what counts in language acquisition, cognition, and use? In S. Th. Gries & D. S. Divjak (Eds.) Frequency effects in cognitive linguistics (Vol. 1): Statistical effects in learnability, processing and change. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.