A graduate of the Universities of Tübingen (Dr Phil) and Glasgow (MLitt). From 1956-1969 he was the Head of the Scottish Place-Name Survey in the School of Scottish Studies. In 1969 he joined the Department of English in the State University of New York at Binghamton from which he retired in 1992 as emeritus Distinguished Professor of English and Folklore. He has been a Visiting Professor at the Ohio State University (USA), the University of Aarhus (Denmark), and the University of Edinburgh (Scotland), and was a Carnegie Fellow at the University of Aberdeen in 1978-79. Since his retirement Professor Nicolaisen has been an honorary Research Fellow in the Department of English at Aberdeen University. He has published widely in the fields of name studies and folk-narrative research. (May 2010).