Kaidi Chen

UConn Graduate Assistant

Kaidi Chen is currently a PhD student in Applied Linguistics and Discourse Studies in the Department of Literatures, Cultures and Languages at the University of Connecticut. He is also pursuing a Certificate in Cognitive Science. Before coming to the United States, he received his B.A. degree (with Longji/Cuiyin honors) in Chinese Language and Literature in mainland China and M.A. degree in Chinese linguistics (sociolinguistics concentration) in Macau. Broadly speaking, his research interest is on bilingualism and second language acquisition, psycholinguistics, sociolinguistics and language pedagogy. Specifically he is working on speech perception, recognition and processing in the PhD program. The big questions he currently wants to address are: Why is it so difficult to perceive non-native speech? How can we apply our experimental findings to develop real-world pedagogical innovations? He is currently working on the effect and interplay of bottom-up acoustic cues and top-down contextual cues on spoken word recognition. His published book chapter by Springer in 2021 has investigated the role of fundamental frequency on Mandarin intelligibility by second language (L2) learners. Another following-up and on-going project has added sentential level semantic context and is trying to explore how it would impact L2 learners’ speech recognition. In addition, he is collaborating on a study to explore how native English speakers integrate acoustic and contextual cues across time in online native speech recognition by manipulating sentential context, voice onset time (VOT), the conflict level of VOT and sentential context, order of context, and temporal domain. He is also passionate about open science, and is involved in a project on reproducible research practices and transparency across linguistics.

In terms of teaching, he is passionate about and experienced in all levels of Chinese language/culture instruction, and domain-specific language courses (e.g., Chinese Sociolinguistics, Contemporary Chinese Film, and Business Chinese). He is a core collaborator of the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) grant project titled as “An Engaging Digital Curriculum for Intermediate Chinese Language and Culture“. His role in this project is mainly to work on the implementation of intercultural communicative competence and intercultural citizenship in Chinese language classroom. He is one of the contributors to the book Teaching Beginning Chinese Grammar: Communicative Strategies and Activities, which was published by Boston Cheng&Tsui in 2020. He applies a communicative approach, uses tasks as an organizational principle, and always seeks a balance between “forms” (structure) and “form” (context). With the understanding of the difference between “declarative knowledge” (FACT) and “procedural knowledge” (ACT), he makes students spend more time “doing” Chinese in Chinese, rather than “knowing” Chinese in English. He believes that students are the center of the class, and rich, elaborated and comprehensible input is a must, via various modalities and proper scaffoldings. Students in his class are usually encouraged to learn by chunks in order to map form, meaning and function, and in the meantime are compelled to increase pushed output with sociolinguistically appropriateness.

Prior to joining UConn, he taught at Trinity College, Allegheny College and the University of Macau, where he taught various levels of Chinese language/culture. He also teaches for Middlebury Language School for many summers starting from 2018. In his spare time, he enjoys going to theaters, museums and good restaurants, and playing tennis, badminton, basketball and doing dictions (and singing in different languages, pretending able to speak the language).


Contact Information
Office LocationOak Hall 211
Office HoursFall 2021, Monday 11:00-12:00 on Zoom: https://middlebury.zoom.us/j/2161737479?pwd=aEEzMDhhSml1ZVJjcEtsL2xMWmx4UT09 (Password: 710587)
Linkhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IZnaHwcNEFg (Kaidi CHEN's Chinese Teaching Demo)