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Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies

 
East Asian Studies
Reader in Chinese Language and Linguistics
Email address: 
Telephone: 
01223 335170
Fellow of: 
Churchill College
Director of Studies at: 
Churchill College
Murray Edwards College
Biography: 

Boping Yuan became a worker in a carpentry workshop in China after his secondary school, and was among those first groups of people who entered universities when universities re-opened in China after the ten-year Cultural Revolution. He read English language and literature as an undergraduate at Yantai Normal University (now Ludong University), China, from 1978 to 1982. Then he taught English as a foreign language at universities in China and on the China Central Television.

In 1986, he entered Shanghai Jiaotong University, China, and did postgraduate studies in Applied Linguistics. In 1988, he got a scholarship from the British Council to study at Edinburgh University, where he first studied for an M.Sc. in Applied Linguistics and then for a Ph.D. in Linguistics and Applied Linguistics.

In 1992, he came to Cambridge, where he has been teaching Chinese language and linguistics, directing the modern Chinese language program as well as supervising graduate students in developmental Chinese linguistics.

He also provides services for international academic journals and organizations, which include being the vice President (2005-2008) and executive member (2008-present) of the Executive Committee of The  International Society for Chinese Language Teaching. In 2012 he was elected as Regius Professor of Hebrew, which is his current position. Some of his honours include election as Fellow of the British Academy (1998), election as Honorary Fellow of the Academy of the Hebrew Language (2011), election as Fellow of Academia Europea (2014), election as Honorary Member of the American Oriental Society (2015),  election as Extraordinary Professor (Honorary) by the University of Stellenbosch (2016), the award of the Lidzbarski Gold Medal for Semitic philology by the Deutsche Morgenländische Gesellschaft (2004) and the award of an honorary doctorate by the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (2017).

Teaching responsibilities: 

Dr Yuan has designed modern Chinese syllabi for both the undergraduate program and the two-year M.Phil in Chinese Studies and teaches Chinese Language and Linguistics

Supervision information: 

Dr Yuan is happy to supervise students in topics relating to his research into Chinese linguistics.

Research interests: 

Empirical studies of developmental and synchronic aspects of second language acquisition, bilingualism and multilingualism; linguistic approaches to non-native Chinese grammars; second language acquisition theory; formal linguistics; syntax and semantics.

Current PhD students

Ms Ruyi Dai: The L2 acquisition of Chinese BEI passives
Miss Manyun Liu: Chinese Reflexive 'ziji' in Second Language Acquisition, Heritage Language, and First Language Attrition
Mr Tongkun Liu: Interfaces in the Chinese ba Construction and Their Representations in Second Language Learners' L2 Chinese Mental Grammars
Miss Woramon Prawatmuang: Effects of positive evidence, indirect negative evidence and form-function transparency on second language acquisition: Evidence from L2 Chinese and L2 Thai
Miss Jingting Xiang: Definiteness and Specificity in L2/L3 Mandarin Grammars
Miss Lilong Xu: Chinese Null and Covert Arguments and their Behaviors in L2 Chinese Grammars
Miss Shanshan Yan: TBC

Articles, Book Chapters etc

Computational Complexity and L1 Transfer in L2 Chinese Attitude-bearing Questions Chinese Teaching in the World 1 pp. 85-104 (2017)
Can L2 sentence processing strategies be native-like? Evidence from English speakers’ L2 processing of Chinese base-generated-topic sentences Lingua 191-192 pp. 42-64 (2017)
Computational Complexity and L1 Transfer in L2 Chinese attitude-bearing questions [in Chinese] Chinese Teaching in the World, 1 pp. 85-104 (2017)
Can L2 sentence processing strategies be native-like? Evidence from English speakers’ L2 processing of Chinese base-generated-topic sentences Lingua, 191-192 pp. 42-64 (2017)
Uneven reassembly of tense, telicity and discourse features in L2 acquisition of the Chinese shì … de cleft construction by adult English speakers Second Language Research 32:2 pp. 247-276 (2016)
Uneven reassembly of tense, telicity and discourse features in L2 acquisition of the Chinese shì … de cleft construction by adult English speakers Second Language Research, 32 pp. 247-276 (2016)
Interfaces in second language acquisition of Chinese Modern Foreign Languages 38:1 pp. 58-72 (2015)
The effect of computational complexity on L1 transfer: Evidence from L2 Chinese attitude-bearing wh-questions Lingua 167 pp. 1-18 (2015)
‘Wh-on-earth’ in Chinese speakers’ L2 English: Evidence of dormant features Second Language Research 30:4 pp. 515-549 (2014)
"WH"-Topicalization at the Syntax-Discourse Interface in English Speakers' L2 Chinese Grammars Studies in Second Language Acquisition 34 pp. 533-560 (2012)
Is Chinese ‘daodi’ ‘the hell’ in English speakers’ L2 acquisition of Chinese daodi … wh … questions? Effects and recoverability of L1 transfer at L2 interfaces International Journal of Bilingualism 17:4 pp. 403-430 (2012)
Domain-wide or variable-dependent vulnerability of the semantics—syntax interface in L2 acquisition? Evidence from wh-words used as existential polarity words in L2 Chinese grammars Second Language Research 26:2 pp. 219-260 (2010)
Asymmetric syntactic and thematic reconfigurations in English speakers’ L2 Chinese resultative compound constructions International Journal of Bilingualism 15:1 pp. 38-55 (2010)

Further publications