Hi! 你好!

I am a Ph.D. student in the Department of Linguistics at the University of Kansas. My research involves phonetics and psycholinguistics . Using experimental methods, I investigate how speech variability is produced and processed, particularly about the following questions:

  • How do younger and older adults differ in speech perception, including acoustic cue weighting and the use of lexical information?
  • How do different speakers produce and perceive the synchronic variation caused by ongoing sound changes?
  • What are the factors modulating the variability of phonological alternations?
I am experienced in acoustic analysis, experiment design, data collection, data analysis and data management. My research covered multiple languages: English, Eastern Min (Fuzhou), and colloquial Beijing. In my spare time, I help a volunteer team develop Auto Speech Recognition training data and models for my mother tongue, Eastern Min.

I am affliated to the Phonetics and Psycholinguistics Laboratory.
Here is my complete CV.


2019 - Now Ph. D. in Linguistics
  University of Kansas, United States
2017 - 2019 M. A. in Linguistics
  University of Kansas, United States
2019 LSA Linguistic Institute
  UC Davis, California, United States
2013 - 2017 B. A. in Chinese Language
  Fudan University, Shanghai, China
2015 - 2016 Exchange Student
  University of Manchester, United Kingdom


Projects :
Speech perception in younger and older normal-hearing adults (2021-Present):
The project seeks answers for the reason why older listeners show comparable speech recognition as younger listeners when processing an unfamiliar accent. Cue-weighting strategies and reliance on contextual factors are investigated with paradigms of perceptual learning.

Production and perception of the [l~n] merger in Fuzhou Min (2017-2020):
Using acoustic analysis and perceptual experiments (AX discrimination and 2-alternative forced choice identification), we investigated the linguistic and social factors that modulate the merger-in-progress between word-initial nasal and lateral consonants in Fuzhou Min. Our study contributed empirical evidence to the known [l~n] merger in many Chinese languages and identified the merger's reversal due to contact with Mandarin, a language that maintains the [l] vs. [n] contrast.

Variability of T4 sandhi in colloquial Beijing (2019-Present):
We collected production data remotely from speakers in Beijing, China. Acoustic analysis examined how an underlying falling tone (T4) could be variably realized as a falling or rising tone when preceding another underlying falling tone. Factors modulating the variable patterns were tested, including morphosyntactic structure, prosodic structure, and lexical frequency.

Publication :
Cheng, R. & Jongman, A. (in prep). Production and Perception of a Merger: [l] and [n] in Fuzhou Min

Cheng, R. (2017). 福建闽侯方言的疑问句研究 ; (The Interrogative System of Minhou Min). In H. Tao (eds.), 《汉语方言疑问范畴研究》(The Study of Interrogative System of Chinese Dialects). Zhongxi Book Company, Shanghai, China.

Presentations :
Cheng, R. (2020, December).Investigating a sound merger from speech production and perception. Invited talk in the Department of Chinese Language and Literature, Fudan University, Shanghai, China.

Cheng, R. & Jongman, A. (2020, December). Production and perception of a merger: The case of [l] and [n] in Eastern Min Chinese. Poster at the 179th Meeting of the Acoustical Society of America. Virtual.

Cheng, R. & Jongman, A. (2019, August). Acoustic analysis of nasal and lateral consonants: the merger in Eastern Min. Oral presentation at the Chinese Dialect Typology Symposium, Xiamen University, Xiamen, China.

Cheng, R. (2019, July). Measuring a sound change: the [l~n] case in Fuzhou. 3-Min-Thesis (3MT) at the Linguistic Society of America Summer Institute. Davis, California, USA

Cheng, R. & Jongman, A. (2019, May). Acoustic analysis of nasal and lateral consonants: the merger in Eastern Min. Poster at the 177th Meeting of the Acoustical Society of America. Louisville, Kentucky, USA.

Professional Experience

2017 - Now Teaching Assistant, Department of Linguistics, University of Kansas
  LING 110: Language and Mind
  LING 305: Phonetics I
  LING 312: Phonology I
2016 - 2017 Research Assistant, Dept. of Chinese Language and Literature, Fudan University
  Assisted Prof. Huan Tao by translation and word-list revision for a sociolinguistic study of Shanghainese.


Eastern Min (Fuzhou)

Zing-Zeu is a volunteer group to document and revitalize Eastern Min with digital tools. We have developed an online dictionary for Fuzhou. Currently, we are recording and labeling audio data for ASR.