Yi Xu

  • Associate Professor of Chinese Linguistics and Chinese as a Foreign Language
  • Academic Coordinator of Chinese Language Program
  • Vice Present, Chinese Language Teachers Association, U.S.
  • Estuary: Language, Medical & Digital Humanities

Office Hours

Spring 2020: Wednesday 2-3PM or by appointment

Courses Taught

  • First year Chinese (CHIN 0001 and CHIN 0002)
  • Second year Chinese (CHIN 0003)
  • Third year Chinese (CHIN 1020)
  • Aspects of the Chinese Language (CHIN/LING 1025/2025) (Spring 2014)
  • Senior Project/Capstone (Spring 2014)


Education & Training

  • PhD, Second Language Acquisition and Teaching (Major area: L2 linguistic analysis; Minor area: Pedagogy; English/East Asian Studies), University of Arizona
  • MA, English Language/Linguistics, University of Arizona
  • BA, English for International Legal Studies, Guangdong University of Foreign Studies

Representative Publications

Representative publications:

  • Xu, Y. and Zhang, J. (forthcoming). Chinese compound word inference through context and word-internal cues. Language Teaching Research.
  • Xu, Y. (2018). Learning Experience in Chinese and China-related Research for Graduating Chinese Majors – Instructor’s commentary and project guidelines. Studies in Chinese Learning and Teaching, 4, 60-68.
  • Xu, Y., Chang, L.-Y., & Perfetti, C. A. (2016). The distribution and grouping effect in character learning: Using data-driven E-learning materials in language teaching. In Hsin, S.-C., Chen, J.-G., & Hsieh, C.-L. (Eds.), Chinese Language Teaching and Computer Usages, pp. 97-115. Taipei: Wunan Press.
  • Xu, Y., Chang, L.-Y., & Perfetti, C. A. (2014). The effect of radical-based grouping in character learning in Chinese as a foreign language. The Modern Language Journal, 98(3), 773-793.
  • Xu, Y. (2014). Processing relative clauses in Chinese as a second language. Second Language Research, 30(4), 439-461.
  • Xu, Y. (2014). A corpus-based functional study of shi…de constructions. Chinese Language and Discourse, 5(2), 146-184.
  • Xu, Y., Chang, L.-Y., Zhang, J., & Perfetti, C. A. (2013). Reading, writing, and animation in Chinese as a foreign language character learning. Foreign Language Annals, 46(3), 423-444.


Recent public presentations:

  • Xu, Y. and Zhang, J. (2020). Chinese compound word inference through context and word internal cues. 2020 American Association of Applied Linguistics Conference. Denver, March 29-31, 2020.
  • Xu, Y. and Zhu, L. (2019). Peer feedback on Google Docs in Chinese as a Foreign Language writing class. American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages. Washington DC, November 21-24, 2019.


Invited roundtable presentation:

  • “Learning perfective aspect through attention to form in role-play.” 2020 International Roundtable on Chinese Applied Linguistics. University of Iowa, Iowa City, April 25, 2020.


Invited talks:

  • “Linguistic and acquisition perspectives of Chinese language teaching: Between labs and classrooms.” School of Education, University of Pittsburgh. February 28, 2020.

Research Interests

I work on several subfields of applied linguistics, in relation to Chinese. My primary research work has been on the second language acquisition of Chinese and foreign language pedagogy. It’s a field that aims to provide a description and explanation of how and why we learn foreign languages (Chinese for instead) in the ways that we do, and how we can improve teaching effectiveness. I have worked on (1) acquisition of the Chinese writing system, (2) Chinese syntax and functional grammar, especially in relation to acquisition, (3) corpus and technology in language acquisition and teaching, etc. My recent interests include Chinese compound word inference, explicit learning of grammatical structures of Chinese, and writing in Chinese as a second language.