Sie sind hier: FRIAS School of Language & … Fellows Prof. Dr. Nick Ellis

Prof. Dr. Nick Ellis

Psychologie / Englische Linguistik
University of Michigan
Mai/Juni 2011

Vergangene FRIAS-Aufenthalte

  • Mai/Juni 2011



Nick Ellis is Professor of Psychology, Professor of Linguistics, Research Scientist English Language Institute, and Associated Faculty Center for the Study of Complex Systems at the University of Michigan. He graduated from University of Oxford in PPP (Psychology and Physiology) and did his Ph.D. at University of Wales Bangor (a cognitive psychological analysis of developmental dyslexia) before joining the Psychology faculty there for over two decades. His research interests include:
First, second and foreign language acquisition: psycholinguistic, cognitive, emergentist and connectionist approaches to second language acquisition; cognitive linguistics; child language acquisition; the applied cognitive psychology of second language instruction; construction grammar; complex adaptive systems.
Computational modeling: connectionist and exemplar models of the emergence of language structure in the quasi-regular domains of reading, spelling, morphology, lexis and linguistic categories; neighborhood and frequency effects; chunking.
Implicit and explicit learning and memory: dissociations; implicit and explicit learning of language and their interactions; implicit and explicit memory representations of language; attention and learning; brain representation of language; explicit instruction and the role of consciousness and awareness in learning.


Publikationen (Auswahl)


Books and Editions


  • Ellis, N. C. & Larsen-Freeman, D. (Eds). (2009). Language as a Complex Adaptive System. Wiley-Blackwell. ISBN: 978-1-4443-3400-5.
  • Robinson, P. and Ellis, N.C. (Eds.) (2008) Handbook of cognitive linguistics and second language acquisition. (566 pp.) London: Routledge. ISBN: 978-0-8058-5351-3
  • Ellis, N. C. (Ed.) (1994). Implicit and explicit learning of languages. (599 pp.) London: Academic Press. ISBN: 0-12-237475-4.
  • Brown, G . D. A., & Ellis, N. C. (Eds.) (1994). Handbook of spelling: Theory, process and intervention. (542 pp.) Chichester: John Wiley & Sons Ltd. ISBN: 0-471-94342-8.

Journal Special Issues

  • Ellis, N. C. & Cadierno, T. (Eds). (2009). Constructing a second language. Special section. Annual Review of Cognitive Linguistics, 7, 111-290.
  • Ellis, N. C. & Larsen-Freeman, D. (Eds). (2009). Language as a Complex Adaptive System. Special issue. Language Learning, 59, Supplement 1.
  • Collins, L. & Ellis, N. C. (Eds). (2009). Input and second language construction learning: frequency, form, and function. Special issue. Modern Language Journal, 93 (3).
  • Ellis, N. C. & Larsen-Freeman, D. (Eds). (2006). Language emergence: Implications for Applied Linguistics. Special issue. Applied Linguistics, 27(4).
  • Ellis, N. C. (2002). Frequency effects in language acquisition. Special issue. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 24 (2).


  • ‘The Five Graces Group’ (Beckner, C., Blythe, R., Bybee, J., Christiansen, M. H., Croft, W., Ellis, N. C., Holland, J., Ke, J., Larsen-Freeman, D., Schoenemann, T.) (2009). Language is a complex adaptive system. Position paper, Language Learning, 59, Supplement 1, 1-27.
  • Ellis, N. C. & Ferreira-Junior, F. (2009). Constructions and their acquisition: Islands and the distinctiveness of their occupancy. Annual Review of Cognitive Linguistics, 7, 188-221.
  • Ellis, N. C. (2002). Frequency effects in language acquisition: A review with implications for theories of implicit and explicit language acquisition. (Target article) Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 24, 143-188.
  • Ellis, N. C. (1998). Emergentism, connectionism and language learning. Language Learning, 48, 631-664.
  • Ellis, N. C. (Ed.) (1994). Implicit and explicit learning of languages. (599 pp.) London: Academic Press. ISBN: 0-12-237475-4.

Most of my publications (n > 160) are available electronically from my website:




Does robust language structure allow robust language learning? Effects of Zipfian usage distributions in English grammar, cognition and acquisition.

How do we learn broadly the same language system each from our own idiosyncratic, incomplete, and sometimes flawed, sample of experience? Has the structure of language evolved in some ways to make itself robustly learnable? Do language form, language meaning, and language use come together to promote accurate induction from limited samples? This research explores these questions with regard English grammatical form, semantics, and patterns of usage. This work is a test of the generalizability of new theories of language learning that bring together cognitive linguistics, learning theory, categorization, statistical learning, usage-based child language acquisition, corpus linguistics and complex systems theory. The primary motivation of these theories is that we must bring together linguistic form, learner cognition, and usage. Linguistic constructions cannot be defined purely on the basis of linguistic form, or semantics, or frequency of usage alone. All three factors are necessary in their operationalization and measurement.