Currently my main research is focused on the role of early language experience on language and brain development. I have been looking at the longitudinal development (word order) and ultimate attainment (SVO, comprehension) of American Sign Language (ASL) syntactic structures by people who are deaf and had very limited early language exposure. I’m also exploring the anatomical differences as a result of early language deprivation (language pathways, visual regions).

My other projects include a study on L2 acquisition of semantic operators in Mandarin, and fieldwork on an indigenous American language, Ja’a Kumiai.

  • ASL word order development by late L1 learners

Cheng, Q., & Mayberry, R. I. (accepted). Acquiring a first language in adolescence: The case of basic word order in American Sign Language. Journal of Child Language. [manuscript]

Cheng, Q. & Mayberry, R. (2017, Jul). Adolescent First-Language Acquisition of Word Order in American Sign Language.Poster presentation at The 14th International Congress for the Study of Child Language, Lyon, University Lyon 2. [poster]

  • Comprehension of ASL simple and complex sentences by late L1 learners

Mayberry, R., Cheng, Q., Ilkbasaran, D., Hall, M., & Hatrak, M. (2017, Jul). Late L1 Learners Acquire Simple but Not Syntactically Complex Structures. Poster presentation at The 14th International Congress for the Study of Child Language, Lyon, University Lyon 2. [poster]

  • Effects of early language deprivation on language-related fiber tracts

Cheng, Q., Halgren, E., & Mayberry, R.I. (2018). Effects of early language deprivation: Mapping between anatomical and behavioral outcomes. BUCLD 42 Proceedings. Somerville, MA: Cascadilla Press. [lingref]

Cheng, Q., Halgren, E., & Mayberry, R. (2017, Nov). Language pathway development requires childhood language acquisition: Effects of sensorimotor modality and language deprivation on brain connectivity for language. Poster presentation at the 9th Annual Meeting of the Society for the Neurobiology of Language, Baltimore, MD.

  • Effects of early language deprivation on visual regions

Cheng, Q., Klein, E., Chen, J.K., Halgren, E., & Mayberry, R. (2018, Nov). Effects of early sign language use on anatomical structures of visual regions: Surface-based and DTI analyses. Poster presentation at the 48th Annual Meeting of Society for Neuroscience, San Diego, CA. [poster]

  • Cantonese speakers acquiring L2 Mandarin additive ‘ye’ and distributive ‘dou’

Cheng, Q. & Tang, G. (2016). On the L2 Ultimate Attainment of Mandarin Additive and Distributive Operators by Cantonese Learners. In Proceedings of the 13th Generative Approaches to Second Language Acquisition Conference (GASLA 2015), ed. David Stringer et al., 31-44. Somerville, MA: Cascadilla Proceedings Project. [pdf]

Cheng, Q. & Tang, G. (2013, Jun). The second language acquisition of additive focus operators: A study on Cantonese learners acquiring Mandarin additive ‘ye3’. Oral presentation at The 21st annual conference of the International Association of Chinese Linguistics, Taipei, National Taiwan Normal University.

  • Person marking in Ja’a Kumiai

Caballero, Gabriela & Qi Cheng. (2017, Oct). Marcacin de persona en el kumiai de Jaa: composicionalidad, homofona y neutralizacin. Oral presentation at the VIII Conference on Indigenous Languages of Latin America, University of Texas, Austin. [handout (in Spanish)