Wenjia Cai

Thesis title: Sentence processing in the first language attrition, the role of language, experience and cognitive load

  • Linguistics and English Language
  • School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences

Contact details

Address

Street

1.15 Dugald Stewart Building

City
3 Charles Street, Edinburgh
Post code
EH8 9AD

Qualifications

Associate Fellowship, AdvanceHE

Undergraduate teaching

  1. 2018-2019 Sem1 Lingusitics and English Language 1A, School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences
  2. 2017-2018 Sem2 Linguistics and English Language 1B, School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences
  3. 2017-2018 Sem1 Linguistics and English Language 1A, School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences
  4. 2016-2017 Sem2 Linguistics and English Language 1, School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences
  5. 2016-2017 Sem1 Linguistics and English Language 1, School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences

Professional Development Training

  1. 2018-present Edinburgh Teaching Award (EdTA), Fellowship
  2. 2017-2018 Introduction to Academic Practice (IntroAP), Associate Fellowship
  3. 2016-2017 Teaching Award 2017, nominated, Best student who tutors, University of Edinburgh  

Postgraduate teaching

JUN 2017 Teaching assistant, Data analyzing workshop: "Transparent practices for protecting your research from bias", organized by Dr. Candice Morey, and Dr. Cyril Pernet, University of Edinburgh

Past PhD students supervised

AUG 2017 Co-supervisor, MSc dissertation in Developmental Linguistics, “L2 English article use by L1 speakers of article-less languages: A learner corpus study", University of Edinburgh

Research summary

As a bilingual speaker myself, I am interested in the rapid shift in language dominance across the lifespan, especially when a bilingual speaker moved to a L2 dominant environment and reduce their input/use of the native language. This process, usually referred to as L1 attrition, is a natural consequence of juggling two languages in one mind. And it shows the bilinguals' effort to adapt to the environment, rather than their incapability to maintain their first language. Many factors are involved in the process of L1 attrition, such as strucutral similarities between L1 and L2, language experience (quantity and quality of L1/L2 use), and general cognitive functions, which has shown to be actively engaged to monitor and control the traffic between two languages; and those factors are usually conncted to one another. My work focuses on disentangling those factors on the sentence level.

Current research interests

Bilingual sentence processing; L1 attrition; discourse-syntax interface; pronoun resolution; wh-topicalization

Past research interests

garden-path parsing, L2 acquisition

Knowledge exchange

Volunteer, Bilingualism Matters, http://www.bilingualism-matters.ppls.ed.ac.uk/us/bilingualism-matters-team/bilingualism-matters-centre-edinburgh-previous-collaborators/

Project activity

PhD project: Sentence processing in the first language attrition, the role of language, experience and cognitive load

Past project grants

1. 2016-2018 Research support grants, School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences
2. 2017 Training and development grants, School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences
3. 2013-2014 The Eric Liddell China Saltire Scholarship, University of Edinburgh

Conference details

  1. MAR 2019 “Not necessary language ‘attrition’: On-line reflexive processing among Mandarin- English late bilingual speakers”, poster presented at the 32nd Annual CUNY Conference on Human Sentence Processing, University of Colorado Boulder, March 29 – March 31 (https://www.colorado.edu/event/cuny2019/program)
  2. OCT 2017 “First language attrition at the interface among Chinese-English late bilingual speakers”, talk presenting at workshop The selectivity of native language attrition, University of Edinburgh (http://www.bilingualism-matters.ppls.ed.ac.uk/workshop-selectivity-native-language-attrition/)
  3. JUN 2017 “First language attrition at the interface among Chinese-English late bilingual speakers”, poster presenting at Bilingualism vs. Monolingualism: A New Perspective on Limitations to L2 Acquisition, Université Toulouse Jean Jaurès (https://blogs.univ-tlse2.fr/bimo2017/en/programme/accepted-abstracts/)
  4. JUN 2017 “Who is ziji ‘self’? Binding interpretations of Chinese-English late bilinguals”, poster presented at International Symposium of Bilingualism, University of Limerick (https://isb11dotcom.wordpress.com/)
  5. MAY 2016 “First language attrition at two interfaces: Binding interpretations of ziji ‘self’ by Chinese-English late bilinguals”, talk presented at Interfaces in Linguistics, 6th JèTou Young Researchers Conference, Université Toulouse Jean Jaurès (http://jetou2017.free.fr/program.htm)

Organiser

  1. JUN 2018 Organizer of “Writing for Publication Workshop”, SGSSS Summer School 2018 (https://www.socsciscotland.ac.uk/skills_and_training/summer_school)
  2. JUN 2018 Organizer of “Data Reporting Workshop”, in collaboration with the PPLS Writing Centre (https://writingcentre.ppls.ed.ac.uk/)
  3. SEP 2017 Co-organizer of Statistics and Software Support Initiative (SASSI) 
  4. JUN 2017 Committee member of Linguistics and English Language, Postgraduate Conference 2017, University of Edinburgh (http://www.lel.ed.ac.uk/~pgc/)

Participant

Third International Conference on Language Attrition (ICLA3) https://languageattrition.org/icla3/

Prof Antonella Sorace

Dr Andrea E Martin-Nieuwland

Dr Patrick Sturt