Diane Larsen-Freeman

Professor Emerita, School of Education; Professor Emerita, Department of Linguistics, College of Literature, Science, and the Arts; Research Scientist Emerita, English Language Institute

Diane  Larsen-Freeman, School of Education

Diane Larsen-Freeman received her PhD in linguistics from the University of Michigan. Following appointments at UCLA and the Graduate SIT Institute (where she remains affiliated as distinguished senior faculty fellow), she returned to the University of Michigan in January 2002 to direct the English Language Institute for six years. She is currently a research scientist emerita at the English Language Institute, as well as a professor of education emerita, a professor of linguistics emerita, and a faculty associate of the Center for the Study of Complex Systems at Michigan. Larsen-Freeman has made presentations in sixty-five countries around the world and is the author of eight books. She was the editor of the journal Language Learning for five years.

Larsen-Freeman focuses her research and interests on attempting to understand the process of second language acquisition. She also researches English grammar. She regards English grammar not only as a set of structural patterns, but also as an important resource for making meaning and for adapting language appropriately to the communicative context. In addition, she has found that chaos/complexity theory provides new insights into language, its acquisition, and its use. She sees all three as complex, non-linear, dynamic processes. Such a perspective has contributed to her dynamic view of language, which she has applied to teaching grammar, or “grammaring” as she calls it. The approach also acknowledges the individual paths that students chart to second language success and views teaching as fundamentally a process of managing learning. 

Diane-Larsen Freeman retired as of December 31, 2012. Since then, she has been a Visiting Senior Fellow in the Educational Linguistics Division of the Graduate School of Education, University of Pennsylvania.


Selected Publications


On language learner agency: A complex dynamic systems perspective. Modern Language Journal, 103 (Supplement 2019).


(with J. Blommaert, O. García, G. Kress) Communicating beyond diversity: a bricolage of ideas. In A. Sherris & E. Adami (Eds.), Making Signs, Translanguaging, Ethnographies (pp. 9–29). Bristol: Multilingual Matters.


Resonances: Second language development and language planning and policy from a complexity theory perspective. In F. Hult, T. Kupisch, & M. Siiner (Eds.), Language Acquisition and Language Policy Planning (pp. 203−217). Springer.


Task repetition or tasks iteration? It does make a difference. In M. Bygate (Ed.), Learning Language Through Task Repetition (pp. 311−329). Amsterdam and Philadelphia: John Benjamins.


Second language acquisition, WE, and language as a complex adaptive system (CAS). In P. De Costa & K. Bolton (Eds.), World Englishes, 37(1) (Special Issue), 80−92. doi: 10.1111/weng.12304


(with H. Nguyen). Task-based language teaching and complexity theory. In M. Ahmadian & M. Del Pilar Garcia Mayo (Eds.), Recent Perspectives on Task-based Learning and Teaching. (pp. 167−193). De Gruyter Mouton. doi 10.1515/9781501503399-009


Looking ahead: Future directions in, and future research into, second language, acquisition. Foreign Language Annals, 51, 55−72. doi.org/10.1111/flan.12314


Complexity and ELF. In J. Jenkins, W. Baker and M. Dewey (Eds.), The Routledge Handbook on English as a Lingua Franca (pp. 51−60). Routledge.


Complexity theory: The lessons continue. In L. Ortega & Z.-H. Han (Eds.), Complexity Theory and Language Development: In Celebration of Diane Larsen-Freeman (pp. 11−50). Amsterdam and Philadelphia: John Benjamins


Just learning. Language Teaching: Surveys and Studies, 50(3), 425–437. doi:10.1017/S0261444817000106


Shifting metaphors: From computer input to ecological affordances to adaptation. In Proceedings from the IATEFL 50th Anniversary Conference, Birmingham (pp.10-19). Kent: IATEFL.


Classroom-oriented research from a complex systems perspective. Studies in Second Language Learning and Teaching, 6(2), 3−19. doi: 10.14746/ssllt.2016.6.3.2



Preferred mailing address:
University of Michigan School of Education
610 E. University Avenue, Room 4037
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1259


Curriculum Vitae