Universiteit Leiden

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Yiya Chen

Senior University Lecturer

Dr. Y. Chen
+31 71 527 1688

Yiya Chen is a Senior University Lecturer at the Leiden University Centre for Linguistics.

More information about Yiya Chen


I am interested in prosody and prosodic variation and how our understanding of their nature may shed light on more general linguistic and psycho-linguistic theories of speech representation and processing.   

One line of my research has focused on the way prosodic organization affects the fine details of phonetic realization and how knowledge as such informs the nature of both prosodic and segmental representations.  I am starting a research project, under the auspices of the Starting Grant from the ERC, to investigate pitch variation in Chinese dialects. We will take an interdisciplinary approach to seek a cognitively plausible explanation for the representation and processing of pitch variation in tonal languages.    
My other line of research concerns the way prosody is employed by speakers to convey communicative intentions. My interest in this topic dates back to my dissertation and continues in the Vernieuwingsimplus projects ( VENI and VIDI), funded by the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research ( NWO). Currently, I am investigating the interaction of tone sandhi and information structure marking in Chinese dialects. The main focus along this line of research is how prosodic manifestations of information structure are constrained by the characteristic sound patterns of the language and how we can accommodate these differences within a more general theory of the interaction of prosody and information structure. 

With respect to language area, I have a strong interest in Chinese, especially in the Mandarin and Wu dialectal families. I do, however, maintain an interest in other Chinese dialects, as well as in languages which are typologically very different from Chinese dialects (Sinitic) such as Bantu (Niger-Congo) and Selayarese (Austronesian).

Curriculum Vitae

I graduated in 2003 from Stony Brook University with a PhD in linguistics, specializing in Phonetics and Phonology. Before moving to Leiden, I had worked as Research Fellow at University of Edinburgh and Radboud University Nijmegen. Prior to my PhD, I had studied at Beijing Foreign Studies University (BA), Stony Brook University (MA), and had taught at various universities.

Teaching Activities

I teach Phonetics at both the undergraduate and graduate levels at Leiden University Center for Linguistics. Before moving to Leiden, I have taught Chinese at the University of Colorado at Boulder, Phonetics at Cornell University, and Phonology at New York University.

Selected Publications

Li, X. & Chen, Y. (2018). Unattended processing of hierarchical pitch variations in spoken sentences. Brain and Language 183: 21-31.

Chen, Y., Lee, P., & Pan, H. (2016). Focus and topic marking in Chinese. In Féry, C. & Ishihara, S. (eds.), Oxford Handbook of Information Structure. Oxford: Oxford University Press.   

Chen, Y. (2016). Neutral tone. In Sybesma, R., Behr, W., Gu, Y. Handel, Z. and Huang, J. (eds.), Encyclopedia of Chinese Language and Linguistics. Leiden: Brill.  

Chen, Y. & Gussenhoven, C. (2015). Shanghai Chinese. Journal of International Phonetic Association (JIPA) 45 (3): 321-337.

Li, X. and Chen, Y. (2015). Representation and processing of lexical tone and tonal variants: Evidence from the Mismatch Negativity. PLoS ONE 10: e0143097.

Chen, Y. (2012). Message-related variation. In Cohn, A., Fourgeron, C., and Huffman, M. (eds.), Oxford Handbook of Laboratory Phonology. pp. 103-115. Oxford: Oxford University Press.    

Chen, Y. (2011). What does phonology tell us about the phonetics of segment-f0 interaction? Journal of Phonetics 39: 612-625.  

Chen, Y. (2008). The acoustic realization of Shanghai vowels.  Journal of Phonetics 36 (4): 629-748. 

Chen, Y., & Gussenhoven, C. (2008). Emphasis and tonal implementation in Standard Chinese.   Journal of Phonetics 36 (4): 724-746. 

Bard, E., Anderson, A.,  Chen, Y. Nicholson, H., Havard, C., & Dalziel-Job, S. (2007). Let’s you do that: Sharing the cognitive burdens of dialogue.  Journal of Language and Memory57(4): 616-641. 

Chen, Y., & Xu, Y. (2006). Production of weak elements in speech: Evidence from neutral tone in Standard Chinese.  Phonetica 63: 47-75.    

Chen, Y. (2006). Durational adjustment under corrective focus in Standard Chinese. Journal of Phonetics 34: 176-201.

Senior University Lecturer

  • Faculty of Humanities
  • Leiden Univ Centre for Linguistics
  • LUCL Taalwetenschap

Work address

P.N. van Eyckhof 3
2311 BV Leiden
Room number 3.01b



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