I’m a third year graduate student in Linguistics at the University of California, San Diego. My supervisor is Rachel Mayberry and I am a member of the Mayberry Laboratory for Multimodal Language Development. I’m also in the Interdisciplinary Ph.D. Program of Cognitive Science.
As a researcher in the field of linguistics and cognitive science, I got the privilege to learn more about my species, homo sapiens (aka human beings). I’m especially interested in the postnatal development, which enables us to interact with our environment and learn in an incredible speed and also in a flexible manner. One of the most intriguing phenomena is child language learning. Each language is a very complex system, and it would take linguists decades to summarize the governing rules, yet young children could all acquire their mother tongues (English, Mandarin, Arabic, American Sign Language, etc) without much efforts. While adults, with much more matured cognitive functions, take longer to learn a second language, and the outcome varies a lot. What is the underlying mechanism of language learning? How does language exposure from birth shape our brain? Which part of language learning is most sensitive to age, and why? These are the questions I kept asking in my research.
Currently I’m working with adolescent first language learners of American Sign Language who only have very limited access to language in their early years. I mainly work on behavioral (developmental and ultimate attainment, production and comprehension) as well as neural (anatomical, perhaps also functional) data, with a focus on syntactic development and processing.