Fang Jackson-Yang

PhD Psychology

  • Psychology
  • School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences

Contact details



Room S35
7 George Square

Post code


I am a psycholinguist, linguist and Chinese-as-a-second-language teacher. I was born and grew up in central China. I worked as a Chinese-as-a-second-language teacher, an English-as-a-second-language teacher, and a national radio reporter before starting my career in academia in the UK. I have studied linguistics, applied linguistics and psycholinguistics at MSc and PhD levels at Beijing Language and Culture University, the University of Sheffield, the University of Manchester and the University of Edinburgh.

Undergraduate teaching

Psychology 2 (Year 2)

Critical Analysis  (Year 3)

Psychology in Action (Year 3)

Psychology Outreach and Engagement (Year 4)

Psychology Year-4 Poster Drop-in Sessions (Year 4)

PPLS Writing Centre workshop "The Psychology of Good Writing" (all undergraduates)



Postgraduate teaching

MSc supervision in Language Education at Moray House School of Education and Sport

PPLS Writing Centre workshop "Advanced Writing in Quantitative Research : Introduction, Methods, Results, Discussion" 

PPLS Writing Centre MSc Dissertation Drop-in Session (focusing on experimental design and statistical analysis)  

Research summary

My primary research interests lie in prominence in language (including information sturuture,  preditabile processing, accessibility in comprehension and production). However, I am interested in all psycholinguistic and linguistic topics. I am always happy to discuss these topics with people both within my fields and beyond. Please see below for my current research and the projects I have done previously. If you are interested in my research, please get in touch!

Current research interests

In conversations, people package information in messages that they try to convey. Interestingly, they often have more than one way to package information. For example, you could say ‘Our boss, everyone likes him’ or ‘Everyone likes our boss’. The meaning of the two messages are almost identical. But why do you say one rather than the other? One reason is that you perceive one of the entities (e.g., 'our boss') more prominent than others. My research investigates the underlying mechanisms of prominence in language. I use psycholinguistic methods to investigate these questions (mainly priming studies and visual-world eye-tracking studies so far; I plan to also use event-related potentials (ERPS) in future in order to find converging evidence).

Past research interests

In my previous MSc project, I investigated how people influence each other on emphasizing certain semantic components across messages in dialogue. For my previous MA projects, I conducted empirical studies on English speakers’ second language acquisition of Mandarin topic-comment constructions. I have also built a database of spontaneous speech of Mandarin and conducted a corpus-based study in Mandarin left-periphery.

Conference details


11-13 July 2018          “Pinning down prominence relations in action events: Evidence from Mandarin sentence production”, the 2nd International Conference “Prominence in Language 2018”, Cologne, Germany

25-27 Oct 2017           “Is topicalised topic more prominent than left-dislocated topic? – Evidence from Mandarin sentence production”, the 1st International Workshop on the interface of Information Structure and Argument Structure (InfoStars), Seville, Spain.

26-27 June 2017         “The persistence of prominence in production: Evidence from spoken Mandarin Chinese”, Discourse Expectations: Theoretical, Experimental and Computational Perspectives (DETEC 2017), Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics, Nijmegen, The Netherlands.

28-30 Sep 2016          “The persistence of linguistic prominence in language production: Evidence from spoken Mandarin Chinese”, departmental lab meeting at the Faculty of Translation and Interpreting (FTI)’s 75th Anniversary Event, the University of Geneva, Switzerland.


7-9 Sep 2017              “How do speakers grammatically encode conceptually prominent information?”, the 23rd AMLaP conference: Architectures and Mechanisms of Language Processing, 7-9 Sep, 2017, Lancaster, UK.

31 May 2016               “What makes it difficult for English speakers to learn Chinese Topic Constructions?”, the Bilingualism Matters Summer Event for the general public, Scottish Storytelling Centre, Edinburgh, UK.

23-24 March 2016      “Corpus-based study on topic-comment realisation in spoken Mandarin Chinese”, Prosody and Information Structure in Stuttgart (PINS 2016), Stuttgart, Germany.

6-8 Jan 2016               “Topic-comment Constructions in Spoken Mandarin Chinese”, the 24th Conference of the Student Organisation of Linguistics in Europe (ConSOLE XXIV), York, UK.

22 Oct 2015                "Topic-comment realisation at sentence level in Spoken Mandarin Chinese", the 49th Language at Edinburgh Lunch, Edinburgh, UK.



2013 Manchester Forum in Linguistics (mFiL)

Papers delivered


Yang, F. (2012). “Speech Error Correction from the Perspective of Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language”, in Huang, D. & Xing, M. (eds). Applied Chinese Language Studies III:                                                Innovations in teaching and learning Chinese as a foreign language. pp. 221-230, London: Sinolingua London Ltd.