Xian Zhang

Xian Zhang

Associate Professor at the College of Information, University of North Texas.  

Research interests: Second Language Acquisition, Sociocultural theory, fMRI, corpus, vocabulary assessment, language teaching

I was born in China and I did my BA at Guangdong University of Foreign Studies, China. I took my MA in Columbia University and I received my PhD from the Pennsylvanian State University (PSU). I teach both graduate and undergraduate courses at PSU and UNT including Psycholinguistics, Corpus Linguistics, Research Method, Second Language Acquisition, and ESL writing. I serve on the editorial board ofLanguage and Sociocultural Theory. My research interests cover areas such as second language acquisition, language assessment, corpus linguistics, computer assisted language learning, psycholinguistics, and neurolinguistics.

I have a particular interest in second language acquisition (SLA). My research in this area falls into various aspects of SLA including theory and practice (praxis), teaching, evaluation, language processing, neural representation, learning motivation, metacognition, and affect. My SLA research appears in journals such as Applied Linguistics, Language Learning, Modern Language Journal, and System.

Regarding language assessment, my research is mainly associated with second language vocabulary assessment, with an emphasis on guessing in vocabulary tests. The paper that appears in TESOL Quarterly investigates how an “I don’t know” option may affect guessing in multiple-choice vocabulary size test. In another study, I investigate how lexical properties of pseudowords may affect guessing behavior in a vocabulary size test.  

Language corpus is an important tool for my research and teaching.  In a recent project, I used frequency and collocation information from the Corpus of Contemporary American English to develop a depth of vocabulary knowledge test to assess collocational and associational knowledge in English. In a recent project, I compiled and annotated a Chinese spoken corpus of language data produced by both L2 and native Chinese speakers, which enables me to analyze learner language (e.g. errors) and to compare language patterns (e.g. lexical and syntactic features, lexical and syntactic complexity) of learners and native speakers.