Feng Xiao

Associate Professor of Asian Languages and Literatures; Coordinator of the Chinese Section
  • Expertise


    I am in the field of applied linguistics with a focus on second language acquisition. I am also involved in projects of digital humanities and longitudinal data analysis. My recent projects include studies on second language development, digital learning, and Chinese rare book cataloging.

    Research Interests

    My primary research interests are pragmatics and second language acquisition. For example, I examine the difference between “What do you mean by saying X? (pragmatics)” and “What does X mean? (semantics)” I am also interested in cross-linguistic and cross-cultural differences that affect human thinking – such as the use of vague expressions in responses to personal questions in China.

    Areas of Expertise

    • Pragmatics
    • Second Language Acquisition
    • Chinese Linguistics
    • Data Analysis
  • Work


    Xiao, F. (2020). Instructional effects on acquisition of Chinese pragmatics. Studies in Chinese Learning and Teaching, 5, 1-28.

    Xiao, F., Taguchi, N., & Li, S. (2019). Effects of proficiency subskills on pragmatic development in L2 Chinese study abroad. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 41(2), 469-483.

    Li, S., Taguchi, N., & Xiao, F. (2019). Variations in Rating Scale Functioning in Assessing Speech Act Production in L2 Chinese. Language Assessment Quarterly, 16(3), 271-293.

    Xiao, F. (2018). Advanced-level pragmatics in instructed SLA. In P. A. Malovrh & A. G. Benati (Eds.), The handbook of advanced proficiency in second language acquisition (pp.461-482). Hoboken: Wiley & Sons.

    Xiao, F. (2018). Development of pragmatic competence in L2 Chinese study abroad. In A.  Sánchez-Hernández & A. Herraiz-Martínez (Eds.), Learning second language pragmatics beyond traditional contexts (pp. 227-254). Berlin: Peter Lang

    Xiao, F. (2017). Development in the use of Chinese mitigation in interaction. Chinese as a Second Language Research, 6(1), 39-71.

    Taguchi, N., Xiao, F. & Li, S. (2016). Effects of Intercultural Competence and Social Contact on Speech Act Production in a Chinese Study Abroad Context. The Modern Language Journal, 100(4), 775-796.

    Taguchi, N., Xiao, F. & Li, S. (2016). Assessment of study abroad outcomes in Chinese as a second language: Gains in cross-cultural adaptability, language contact, and proficiency. Intercultural Education, 27(6), 600-614.

    Xiao, F. (2015). Proficiency effect on L2 pragmatic competence. Studies in Second Language Learning and Teaching, 5(4), 557-581.

    Xiao, F. (2015). Adult second language learners’ pragmatic development in the study-abroad context: A review. Frontiers: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Study Abroad, 25, 132-149.

    Ke, S. & Xiao, F. (2015). Cross-linguistic transfer of morphological awareness between Chinese and English. Language Awareness, 24(4), 355-380.

    Liu, Y. & Xiao, F. (2015). Comprehension of Chinese vague expressions: A comparison between heritage and non-heritage learners. Chinese as a Second Language Research, 4(2), 271-294.

    Taguchi, N., Li, S., & Xiao, F. (2013). Production of formulaic expressions in L2 Chinese:  A longitudinal investigation in a study-abroad context. Chinese as a Second Language Research, 2(1), 23-58.

  • Education


    Ph.D., Carnegie Mellon University

    B.A., M.Ed., Beijing Language and Culture University

    Recent Courses Taught

    • Chinese Language in Society
    • Digital News Reading in Chinese
    • Chinese in the Working World
    • Advanced Chinese I&II
    • Intermediate Chinese I&II
  • Awards & Honors

    Awards & Honors

    Hirsch Research Initiation Grant, 2021-2023

    EnviroLab Asia Curricular Innovation Award, Henry Luce Foundation, 2020

    Andrew W. Mellon Grant for Digital Humanities, 2016-2019

    Hahn Fund for Innovative Teaching with Technology, 2016-2017; 2018-2019; 2020-2021

    Language Learning Dissertation Grant, 2015

    Modern Languages Department Dissertation Completion Scholarship, Carnegie Mellon University, 2014-2015

    Barbara F. Freed Award for Research on Language Learning in a Study Abroad Context, 2014-2015