ExLing Highlights in Spring 2024

Spring 2024 marked a period of remarkable achievement for our lab members.

Vanessa has been actively presenting findings from her PhD research at several prestigious conferences, such as the Boston University Conference on Language Development (BUCLD), the American Association of Applied Linguistics Annual Conference (AAAL), and the Annual Meeting of the Linguistic Society of America (LSA). Her work explores semantic competition, syntactic complexity, and passivization in Mandarin relative clauses, as well as the aural processing of Mandarin garden-path sentences by L1, L2, and heritage speakers. An article based on her work on aural processing is forthcoming in the BUCLD 48 Proceedings volume.

Vanessa Sheu and Elaine Francis at LSA conference
Yue Li presenting her research

Yue has made significant progress in her doctoral studies. Her research focuses on exploring the influence of animacy on the production of English object relative clauses by L1 and L2 speakers. In April, she successfully defended her two preliminary projects employing elicited production tasks and Large Language Models, respectively. The findings of her research were presented at two notable conferences: the 2nd Conference on Theory and Practice of Bilingualism and the Purdue Linguistics Symposium. Yue will, in addition, be presenting a poster at the upcoming International Workshop on Language Production (IWoLP) in Marseille, France.

Yongjia has concluded her undergraduate journey with remarkable accomplishments. In the 2024 Spring Undergraduate Conference, she presented a talk titled “Short Verb Movement in Gan Hakka.” Furthermore, she was honored as the Outstanding Senior from both the Department of Linguistics and the School of Interdisciplinary Studies. Looking ahead, she will start in the PhD program in Language Sciences at the University of Wisconsin this fall.

Yongjia Deng and Elaine Francis at the award ceremony

ExLing presentations in Spring 2023

It was a busy Spring 2023 for ExLing Lab members!

In March, the whole lab group took a road trip to Urbana Illinois, where Vanessa Sheu and Jingying Hu presented papers at the 15th Annual Meeting of the Illinois Language and Linguistics Society (ILLS15). The theme of the conference was Interdisciplinary Approaches to Bilingualism.

ExLing lab members posing outside the Illini Union at UIUC after the ILLS conference. From left: Golsa Khodadadi, Yue Li, Jingying Hu, Vanessa Sheu, Kaukab Saba, Yongjia Deng, and Elaine Francis

We enjoyed a lot of good food during the conference. Here we are at the conference dinner in the Illini Union and at Shawarma Joint.

Vanessa’s talk was about her PhD research on processing of garden-path sentences by L1, L2 and heritage speakers of Mandarin. 

Jingying’s talk was about her research on L2 acquisition of the perfective marker -le in Mandarin, in collaboration with her former advisor, Prof. Zhao Yang.

Vanessa Sheu presenting at ILLS in March 2023
Jingying Hu presenting at ILLS in March 2023

In April, Yongjia Deng presented a paper at the Purdue Undergraduate Research Conference, based on her work with Vanessa on animacy effects in Mandarin relative clause production. 

Also in April, Yue Li presented a paper at the virtual Purdue Linguistics Symposium 2023. Yue’s talk was on her research on adolescent L2 English learners’ comprehension of subject and object relative clauses, in collaboration with her former advisor, Prof. Gao Yuan.

At the same virtual conference, Elaine gave a plenary talk on resumptive pronouns in relative clauses.

Please check our presentation page for details of the recent presentations.

Welcome, Golsa!

The ExLing Lab welcomes our new PhD student Golsa Khodadadi! 

Golsa Khodadadi is interested in syntax, discourse, language processing, and second language acquisition. She has an MA in Applied Linguistics from University of Tabriz in Iran with a thesis that examined Verb Phrase Ellipsis in English political discourse and prose fiction. Her more recent research explores the comprehension of Verb Phrase Ellipsis by second language speakers of English.  

Dr. Tom Juzek’s research presentation

Dr. Tom Juzek , Assistant Professor of Computational Linguistics at Florida State University, gave a research presentation on December 07 on Gradience in Grammar and the Syntactic Acceptability Dataset.  

During the talk, Dr. Juzek presented the results of previous work with Jana Häussler (2020) on the question of whether gradience in acceptability should be considered as evidence for gradience in grammar. Then he further outlined the ongoing research on building a new dataset that based on COLA (Corpus of Linguistic Acceptability; Warstadt et al. 2018); this new dataset is valuable to both the machine learning community and the linguistic community. In the final step, he connected the previous 2020 results and the ongoing project with recent work in the field, most notably Francis (2022).

Based on his colorful experience in the tech industry and academia in several countries, Dr Juzek also gave a presentation on career paths for Linguistics graduate students on December 8. Following that, our Exling lab members were delighted to have lunch with Dr Juzek, invited him to our lab and had a pleasant discussion about both research projects.  

Welcome, Yue and Jingying!

The ExLing Lab welcomes two new PhD students: Yue Li and Jingying Hu!

Yue completed her M.A. in Linguistics and Applied Linguistics from the University of Chinese Academy of Sciences. Her interests are sentence production and second language acquisition. 

Jingying completed her MA. in TCSOL from Peking University. Her interests are Chinese linguistics, second language acquisition, psycholinguistics.

Congratulations to Vanessa Sheu!

Vanessa Sheu successfully defended her preliminary project in May 2022 titled “Aural Processing and Spoken Production of Mandarin Garden-Path Sentences in Native, L2, and Heritage Speakers: The Role of Semantic Plausibility.”

Her research involves looking at the syntax-semantic interface in the interpretation of ambiguous sentences and the effect of semantic complexity on production in heritage speakers.


Double congratulations to Josh Weirick!

Josh Weirick successfully defended his dissertation “Language background and the realization of the information structure constraints on English dative constructions: Evidence from monolingual and bilingual speakers” on May 21, 2021. In other excellent news, Josh will start a new postdoctoral position in the Aphasia Lab in the Department of Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences at Purdue on August 1. Congratulations, Dr. Weirick!

Josh Weirick defending his dissertation on Zoom.
Josh Weirick defending his dissertation on Zoom.

CUNY 2020 virtual conference

Because of the covid-19 pandemic, CUNY 2020 (March 19-21) could not be held as planned in Amherst, Massachusetts. However, the organizers went to heroic efforts and quickly moved the CUNY 2020 conference online. Links to the talks and posters are available for anyone to view in the OSF repository.

Our lab members got to participate in the virtual conference. Josh Weirick and Elaine Francis presented a poster titled “Acceptability of relative clause extraposition in English: Effects of predicate type and givenness”. Please check out the poster video at the link below! Watch to the end for some silliness.


Welcome, Vanessa!

As the Fall 2019 semester begins in earnest, we are excited to welcome PhD. student Vanessa Sheu to the ExLing Lab.

Vanessa is excited to join the Exling Lab this fall. She received her B.A in Comparative Literature at the University of Michigan and her M.A. in TESOL at Teachers College, Columbia University. As a heritage speaker of Mandarin she is interested in the syntax of heritage speakers, as well as filler-gap dependencies in Mandarin and sentence processing methods.

March 2019 Conferences

Lab members were busy presenting at three conferences in March 2019. Carol Chun Zheng, Josh Weirick, and Elaine Francis presented a talk at the American Association of Applied Linguistics conference in Atlanta and a poster at the CUNY sentence processing conference in Boulder, CO reporting on their project, “Effects of frequency and simplicity in L2 English causative motion production.” In addition, Josh Weirick and Elaine Francis presented preliminary results from their project “A verb appeared that usually doesn’t: Effects of predicate type and discourse status on relative clause extraposition in English” at the Purdue Linguistics, Literature, and Second Language Studies conference.

Dinner at CUNY in Boulder with our friend Prof. Charles Lin from Indiana University. Carol Chun Zheng, Elaine Francis, Charles Lin, Josh Weirick