I’m a third year grad student in UCLA’s linguistics department. Broadly speaking, my research deals in theoretical phonology, the relationship between learning and grammar (in both infants and adults), and the interfaces between phonology and the rest of the grammar and cognitive system. I investigate questions in these areas using computational models and experimental tasks, stemming from my strong commitment to lab-based and computational/statistical methods. In the lab, I’m currently working with Professor Sundara on a project which combines computational modeling and experimental work to examine infants’ sensitivity and timecourse of acquisition of native-language phonotactics. I’m also involved in a related line of research looking at the consequences of different word-segmentation strategies for the infant’s developing grammar.
I grew up in Nanjing, China, and Paris, France. It took me a long time to discover the field of Linguistics, and I spent a lot of time dabbling in very different things (such as Chemistry, European literature and economics…). I wrote my M.A. in Linguistics at UCLA, working on the processing of tone sequences in Mandarin Chinese. I’m interested in: ambiguity resolution during lexical access, informativeness of lexical tone, corpus building techniques and corpus-based phonetics and phonology, and perception of L2 sounds.
I’m interested in language acquisition and syntax. My MA thesis investigates Chinese-speaking children’s acquisition of elided wh-questions and relative clauses.
I’m generally interested in understanding language as something that takes place within, and hence is constrained and shaped by, the human body. More specifically, I’m interested in the evolution of human language, language acquisition (primarily from a phonetics/phonology perspective), the interface between phonetics and phonology, speech motor control, and using computational methods to inform and validate linguistic theories. Lately I’ve been looking into how characterizations of formal complexity in phonology can help inform and constrain phonological theory.
I’m interested in perceptual biases in cue weighting, phonation-tone interactions, MaxEnt models of metrical grammars, Vietnamese prosody, and tonal alternations in Southwestern Mandarin.