Nivi received a PhD from the Faculty of General Linguistics, Phonetics and Comparative Philology at the University of Oxford in 2006. Her PhD work examined adults' perception of correlated prosodic and syntactic form in syntactically ambiguous sentences.
Following a short spell at the Center for Child Language at University of Southern Denmark, Odense, she returned to Oxford between 2006 and 2008 working on the representations of words in the infant lexicon and infants' sensitivity to mispronunciations of these words. During this time, she was also appointed as Career Development Fellow in Psychology at St Hugh's College, Oxford. She then moved to University College London on a British Academy post-doctoral fellowship working on the mechanisms underlying phonological priming in infancy. This work examined the clustering together of similar-sounding words in the infant lexicon.
She moved to Göttingen in January 2010 to set up the Language Acquisition Junior Research Group and the associated infant language lab, WortSchatzInsel. The research group and lab will examine the interface between phonological and lexical information in infants' learning and recognition of words.