Outstanding UG Dissertation in Linguistics Award 2017

Congratulations to recent ELL graduate Huinan Zeng, who was just awarded an Outstanding Undergraduate Dissertation in Linguistics award from the Linguistics Association of Great Britain (LAGB)!

Huinan’s dissertation, “The underspecification of the [CORONAL] feature: A study on the perception of word-medial mispronunciation in Mandarin,” examined how coronal sounds (those produced with the tongue tip and tongue blade, like [t]) are represented by speakers of Mandarin Chinese. To test this, she tested 27 Mandarin speakers in Sheffield’s new HumLab facility, using a lexical decision task. In this type of task, speakers are asked whether the item they see on the screen is a real word or a fake word in their language, and by manipulating the sounds that made up the words (or fake words), Huinan was able to investigate the role of phonological structure in word recognition.

Huinan and her supervisors, Dr Gareth Walker and Dr Ranjan Sen, at graduation.


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