Associate Professor Liz Ellis

Associate Professor - Faculty of Humanities, Arts, Social Sciences and Education; School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences

Phone: +61 2 6773 3639



BA (Syd), MEd (Woll), Dip RSA, Cert RSA (UCLES), Dip Spanish (DELE Superior) (Salamanca), PhD (Griffith)

Teaching Areas

LING362/562 Second Language Acquisition

LING363/ LING563 Bilingualism

LING451/ LING551 Introduction to Applied Linguistics

LING567 Applied Linguistics Research Practice

Supervision Areas

The intersection of bilingual and multilingual studies and teacher cognition, family bilingualism, critical approaches to TESOL, sociolinguistic aspects of language in education and professional practice.

Potential topics for research students include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Language practices in bilingual/multilingual families
  • The impact of bi/multilingualism on the beliefs and practices of professionals (teachers, politicians, health professionals, lawyers)
  • Monolingualism as a sociolinguistic phenomenon
  • Language maintenance practices in familial settings
  • The role of L1 in the learning of L2
  • Metalinguistic awareness in teachers, students and professionals who deal with culturally diverse clients
  • The effect of bi/multilingualism on third and subsequent language learning
  • Language policy in education
  • Languages in tourism
  • Sociolinguistic perspectives on translation and interpreting

Research Interests

Dr Ellis has extensive experience in teaching applied linguistics and English as a Second and Foreign Language, and in educating language teachers. Dr Ellis' research interests are in bilingualism, especially bilingual teacher cognition and bilingual family language practices, and in sociolinguistic perspectives on monolingualism.

Before joining UNE in 2004 she taught linguistics at Batchelor Institute in Alice Springs, and was before that a lecturer in language and literacy at the University of Wollongong and the University of Technology, Sydney. She has taught and trained language and literacy teachers in Laos, Indonesia, Uruguay, Brazil, France, Portugal and Spain as well as in Britain and Australia, and has an interest in cross-cultural teacher development. She is a fluent speaker of Spanish and has learnt several other languages. She has been active in the TESOL profession as a NEAS assessor, an examiner of overseas medical professionals' language skills, a former editor of the English Australia Journal and was the founder of the national ELICOS Association Conference.

She is a member of the Editorial Boards of the Journal of Home Language and La Questione Meridionale, and serves as a reviewer for the Journal of English for Specific Purposes, Multilingua, Language Awareness, Canadian Modern Language Review and TESL-EJ.

Her community work includes working with bilingual parents and schools in the New England region to support bilingual children's language development in the family. She also offers workshops in intercultural communication for community and business organisations.

Current Research Projects

Bilingualism in the Bush: reconceptualising speech community in immigrant family language maintenance in regional Australia. (ARC Discovery 2014 – 2017 with Prof. Margaret Sims)

The sociolinguistics of multilingual tour-guiding in Central Australia (BCSS Seeding Grant)

Grandparenting the absent grandchildren. An ethnotheatre project with Dr Genevieve Noone and Prof. Margaret Sims

The impact of Aboriginal English (or Torres Strait Creole) on learning outcomes for indigenous children in ACT preschools and preschool programs. Funded by the ACT Department of Education and Training.

Second Language Acquisition Twin Study (SLATS) with Prof. Brian Byrne, Dr Will Coventry and Dr Ines Anton-Mendez Investigating genetic and environmental effects on second language acquisition.

Research Supervision Experience

Topics supervised include:

  • Multilingualism in community languages in Australia and Sweden (PhD)
  • A comparison of the organization of English and Indonesian research articles: combining perspectives on genre and multilingual competence (PhD)
  • Literacy Acquisition in German-English bilingual children (BA Hons.)
  • The dynamics of Chinese learning journeys: a longitudinal study of adult learners of Mandarin in Australia (PhD)
  • The effect of bilingual education programmes on children's perception of identity (BA Hons.)
  • Re-establishing vitality, strength and relevance for Aboriginal peoples in Ontario: The potential for bilingual and bi-cultural education programs (BA Hons)
  • Computers + Homework = more learning? Investigating the use of technology to enhance learning opportunities for adult Indigenous English language and literacy learners in the NT (M.Ed.Hons)
  • 2009 Yolngu Matha and English Learning at Galiwin'ku, an Indigenous Community in North-east Arnhem Land. (PhD)
  • The impact of bilingualism and prior language learning on performance in language aptitude tests (MA)
  • The cultural semantics of sociality concepts in Australian English with contrastive reference to French (PhD)
  • Giving Teachers Their Voices: Indonesian EFL Teachers' Perspectives on Professional Teaching Standards in the Context of In-Service Teacher Certification Programs in Indonesia

Publications logo

ResearchGate logo


Ellis, E.M. (2016) The plurilingual TESOL Teacher: The hidden languaged lives of TESOL teachers and why they matter. de Gruyter Mouton, Berlin and New York.

Journal Articles

Ellis, E.M. (2018) Languaged lives: A new perspective on language teacher identity. Babel 52 [2]

Ellis, E.M. Sims, M. and Knox, V. (2018) The challenge of isolation in immigrant family language maintenance in regional Australia. Journal of Home Language Research, 3, 17-35

Sims, M. and Ellis, E.M. (2017) Parental Plurilingual Capital in a Monolingual Context: Investigating Strengths to Support Young Children in Early Childhood Settings. Early Childhood Education Journal, 45(6), 777-787 DOI 10.1007/s10643-016-0826-6

Ellis, E. M. (2016). "I may be a native speaker but I'm not monolingual": Reimagining all teachers' linguistic identities in TESOL. TESOL Quarterly, 50(3), 597-630. doi: 10.1002/tesq.314

Antón-Méndez, I., Ellis, E.M., Coventry, W., Byrne, B., van Daal, V. (2015) Markers of success: A study of twins’ instructed second language acquisition. Learning and Individual Differences. Vol.42 pp.44-52 Doi 10.1016/j.lindif.2015.08.012

Sims, M., & Ellis, E. M. (2014). Raising children bilingually is hard: why bother? Babel, 49(2), 16-23.

Sims, M., Noone, G., & Ellis, E.M. (2014). Grandparenting the absent grandchildren. Ethnotheatre performance to national audiences. Brisbane, Melbourne, Armidale.

Noone, G., Ellis, E. M., Sims, M., & Cafarella, L. (2014). Our absent grandchildren. 30 minute ethnotheatre film. Armidale NSW: University of New England.

Planchon, A. and Ellis, E.M. (2014) A diplomatic advantage?The effects of bilingualism and formal language training on language aptitude among Australian diplomatic officers. Language Awareness v. 23 (3), p. 203-219  DOI:10.1080/09658416.2012.742907

Ellis, E.M. (2013) The TESOL teacher as plurilingual: an Australian perspective. TESOL Quarterly 47 (3) pp. 446 – 471

Ellis, E.M. and Bilbatua, L. (2013) Bringing up bilingual children: choices and challenges. Voces Hispanas Vol. 10 pp. 20 - 26

Coventry, W., Antón-Méndez, I., Ellis, E.M. Levisen, C., Byrne, B., van Daal, V. and Ellis, N. (2012). The etiology of individual differences in second language acquisition in Australian school students: A behaviour genetic study. Language Learning: a journal of research in language studies, 62:3, 880 -901

Ellis, E.M. (2012) Language Awareness and its relevance for TESOL. University of Sydney Papers in TESOL 7, 1 - 23

Planchon, A. and Ellis, E.M. (2012) A diplomatic advantage? The effects of bilingualism and formal language training on language aptitude among Australian diplomatic officers. Language Awareness iFirst, 1- 17. DOI:10.1080/09658416.2012.742907

Coventry, W., Antón-Méndez, I., Ellis, E.M. Levisen, C., Byrne, B., van Daal, V. and Ellis, N. (2012). The etiology of individual differences in second language acquisition in Australian school students: A behaviour genetic study. Language Learning: a journal of research in language studies, 62:3, 880 -901

Bilbatua, L. and Ellis, E.M. (2011) Bilingual identity: language and cultural shift in the experience of a Basque-Spanish immigrant to Australia. Voces Hispanas, Canberra, Ministerio de Educación y Ciencia de España, Consejería de Educación en Australia y Nueva Zelanda. Vol. 8, 10-15

Ellis, E.M, Gogolin, I., Clyne, M. (2010). The Janus face of monolingualism: a comparison of German and Australian language education policies. Current Issues in Language Planning, Vol. 11, No. 4, 1–22

Ellis, E.M. (2009) Commissioned review of Borg, Simon (2006) Teacher cognition in language education: research and practice. London, Continuum. International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism. 12 (5) 607 – 611.

Ellis, E.M. (2008) Defining and investigating monolingualism. In Ellis, E.M. (ed) Monolingualism. London, Equinox. Special issue of the international journal Sociolinguistic Studies, vol. 2 (3)

Ellis, E.M. (ed) (2008) Monolingualism. London, Equinox. Special issue of the international journal Sociolinguistic Studies, vol. 2 (3)

Ellis, E.M. (2007) Discourses of L1 and bilingual teaching in adult ESL. TESOL in Context 16 (2): 5 - 11

Ellis, E.M. (2007) Review of Luria, H, Seymour D. and Smoke, T. (Eds) 2006 Language and linguistics in      context: reading and applications for teachers. Language Teaching Research 11 (2) pp 246 - 250

Ellis, E.M. (2006) Monolingualism: the unmarked case. Estudios de Sociolingüistica7 (2) December 2006 p 173 - 196

Ellis, E.M. (2006) Language learning experience as a contributor to ESL teacher cognition. TESL-EJ Volume 10, Number 1. Available online at

Ellis, E.M. (2004) The invisible multilingual teacher. International Journal of Multilingualism 1 (2) 90 - 108

Ellis, L. (2004) Language background and professional competencies in teaching ESOL. English Australia Journal 21 (2) 55-71

Ellis, L. (2002) Teaching from experience: a new perspective on the non-native teacher in adult ESL. Australian      Review of Applied Linguistics, Vol 25 no. 1

Other Publications

Ellis, E.M. (2017) Review of Rubino, A. (2014). Trilingual talk in Sicilian-Australian migrant families: playing out identities through language alternation. South Yarra, Vic.: Palgrave Macmillan. Australian Review of Applied Linguistics. 39 (3) pp 292-294

Ellis, E.M. (2016) The plurilingual TESOL Teacher: The hidden languaged lives of TESOL teachers and why they matter. de Gruyter Mouton, Berlin and New York.

Ellis, E.M. (2015) Challenges within the ecology of multilingual interactions in Aboriginal cultural tourism in Central Australia. In Jessner, U. and C. Kramsch (Eds) Multilingualism: the challenges. Trends in Applied Linguistics. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.

Ellis, E.M. ( 2014) Aboriginal English and bidialectal identity in early childhood education in: E. Stracke (Ed.) Intersections: Applied Linguistics as a Meeting Place. Newcastle upon Tyne, Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

Ellis, E.M., Brooks, M. and Edwards, H. with Eades, D. (2010)     The impact of Aboriginal English (or Torres Strait Creole) on learning outcomes for Indigenous children in ACT preschools and preschool programs. CARSS, University of New England. Report commissioned by the ACT Dept of Education and Training. 141pp.

Ellis, E.M. (2006) Second language experience as a contributor to the professional knowledge and beliefs of teachers of ESOL to adults. TESOL Research Newsletter 13 (1) March 2006

Ellis, L. (2005)  Bilingual students – monolingual teacher. Refereed proceedings of the International      Symposium on Bilingualism, Vigo, Spain October 2002.

Ellis, L. (2003) Tongues tied by strangeness. Higher Education, The Australian newspaper September 24th 2003 p.29

Keynote Addresses

2014 Inter-school Symposium - Recent research in languages education and TESOL Languages, Literature and Literacies Research Network (SoE), Linguistics (BCSS), Languages (Arts). May 16th 2014.

2011Ellis, E.M. Language in Public Discourse in Australia. Invited keynote paper given at the Australian Systemic Functional Linguistics Association National Conference, University of New England, September 21 – 23, 2011

2008 Monolingualism: social and cognitive approaches. Invited keynote address given at the 2nd International Free Linguistics conference, 11th October, University of Sydney.

Selected Conference Papers and Seminars

2013 Interpreting sensitive Aboriginal cultural information: challenges presented by the ecology of multilingual interactions in tourism at Uluru. Paper presented at the ALANZ conference in Wellington, New Zealand, Nov. 27 – 29th 2013.

2013 Performing grandparenting: when grandparents have little or no contact with their grandchildren. Ethnotheatre performance (with Margaret Sims and Genevieve Noone) at the Association for Qualitative Research Conference, Victoria University, Melbourne, 2nd – 5th November 2013.

2012ESL teachers' language experience: its relationship to L1 inclusion. Invited panel presentation at the 46th International TESOL Congress, Philadelphia USA. 29th March 2012.

2012 The plurilingual teacher: moving beyond the native/non-native debate. Paper delivered at the ACTA International Conference TESOL as a Global Trade, Cairns, FNQ, July 2 – 5th 2012.

2011Language Awareness – what does it mean and what relevance does it have for TESOL? Paper delivered at University of Sydney TESOL Research Network Colloquium September 3rd 2011

2011 Ellis, E.M. (2011) Aboriginal English, Identity and Pedagogy in ACT Preschools. Paper delivered at the ALAA/ALANZ Conference 30 Nov – 2 Dec. Australian National University

2010 Clyne, M., Ellis, E.M. and Gogolin, I. (2010) Foreign languages and migrant languages: what can Germany and Australia learn from each other? Paper and panel discussion at DAAD alumni meeting: Tackling the future: environmental challenges and their impact on academic cooperation, economy and culture. 26 - 28 March 2010, Sydney.

2008 Linguistic awareness of monolingual and bilingual teachers of EFL/ESL. Association for Language Awareness (ALA), 9th International conference 26- 29 June 2008, University of Hong Kong.

2007 The representation of bilinguality in TESOL. Paper delivered at the XXV International Conference of the Asociacion Española de Linguistica Aplicada, Murcia, Spain April 2007

2007 Teaching phonology: a practical approach to integrating new theory.

2007 Explorations in online learning in applied linguistics. Papers delivered at the University of Granada, May 2007

2006 Constructing discourses of L1 in adult ESOL. Paper delivered at the ALAA National Congress, University of Queensland July 2006.

2006 Organiser of and presenter at Colloquium: The role of L1 in second language learning.
ATESOL/ACTA national conference. Education for the whole person: The TESOL response. Sydney, April 2006.

2006 Bringing up Bilingual Kids - Two workshops for Parents. Umina, NSW DET - Families First project / Benevolent Society

2005 Monolingualism the unmarked case. Paper delivered at the ALAA National Congress, University of Melbourne, Sept. 2005

2005 Joint organiser and presenter of Colloquium Beliefs about Language Learning at the ALAA National Congress University of Melbourne Sept. 2005

2004 Mapping language biographies. Paper and workshop delivered at the TESOL on the Beach conference, Coffs Harbour, September 2004

2004 Silenced bilinguals: the misrepresentation of bilinguality in the adult ESL profession. Paper delivered at the ALAA Annual Congress, Adelaide, July 15-17 2004

2003 Multilingualism – a rich resource or an irrelevancy for adult ESL teachers? Paper delivered at the ALAA conference, Brisbane, July 2003.

2002 Bilingual students – monolingual teacher. Paper delivered at the 2nd International Symposium on Bilingualism, Vigo, Spain, 22 – 26 October 2002 – accepted for refereed proceedings