Ming Xiang

Faculty Photo
Associate Professor, Department of Linguistics
Rosenwald 205B
Office Hours: By AppointmentDr. Xiang's research is geared towards better understanding the processing and neural mechanisms that support the rapid, real-time construction of sophisticated linguistic representations. She primarily work on sentence processing, includin
(773) 702-8023
Ph.D., Michigan State University, 2005
Teaching at UChicago since 2010
Research Interests: Psycholinguistics, Neurolinguistics, Syntax, Semantics/Pragmatics, Chinese

Dr. Ming Xiang's research is geared towards better understanding the processing and neural mechanisms that support the rapid, real-time construction of sophisticated linguistic representations. She primarily work on sentence processing, including syntax, semantics and discourse comprehension. Her recent collaborative projects also started looking at how language processing plays a role in shaping language change.

Recent Publications

Selected Articles/Chapters:

  • Kobele, Gregory ; He, Linyang; and Xiang, Ming. (2020) "The role of information theory in gap-filler dependencies." In the Proceeding of the Society for Computation in Linguistics (SCiL).
  • Xiang, Ming; Grove, Julian; and Merchant, Jason. (2019) "Structural priming in production through `silence’: an investigation of verb phrase ellipsis and null complement anaphora." Glossa: a journal of general linguistics, 4(1).
  • Aparicio, Helena; Kennedy, Christopher; and Xiang, Ming (2018) "Perceived Informativity and Referential Effects of Contrast in Adjectivally Modified NPs." Chapter in Language, Cognition, and Mind, Springer.
  • Xiang, Ming; Grove, Julian; and Giannakidou, Anastasia. (2016) "Semantic and pragmatic processes in the comprehension of negation: an event related potential study of negative polarity sensitivity." Journal of Neurolinguistics, 38,71-88
  • Xiang, Ming and Kuperberg, Gina. (2015) "Reversing expectations during discourse comprehension." Language, Cognition and Neuroscience. 30, 6, 648-672 doi: 10.1080/23273798.2014.995679
  • Xiang, Ming; Wang, Sui-Ping; and Cui, Yan-Ling. (2015) "Constructing covert dependencies—the case of wh-in-situ processing." Journal of Memory and Language, 84, 139-166. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jml.2015.05.006

Recent Courses

Experimental Method (LING 40301)

This course will cover the basic methods for experimental studies, including experimental design, data collection and statistical analysis. To demonstrate different design and analysis tools, we will look at data set from different types of studies, including self-paced reading, acceptability judgment, eye tracking, ERP, etc. Students will also gain hands-on experience on different paradigms.

Psycholinguistics: Language Processing (LING 30401)

This is an advanced introduction to the field of psycholinguistics. We will do an in-depth overview of both the empirical findings and the methodologies used on various topics in language comprehension/production, including areas of speech perception, lexical processing, syntactic parsing, and semantic/pragmatic processing.  Models at both the computational and the mechanistic levels will also be examined.

Reading Cultures (HUMA 14000) 

This sequence is devoted to the cultivation of the art of interpretation through the close reading of objects across a broad range of times and places, from the Homeric epic to contemporary film, folk tale to museum. In each case the goal is to work outward from the textual details-construing the term text generously so as to include any form of cultural production-and develop insight into the local emergence and global circulation of objects of interpretation. In the process the sequence explores questions about memory, home, and belonging; the various historical forms of cultural production, from epic to folk tale, music, film, and novels; about the challenges of translation to responsible interpretation; about texts as formative sources of human community, inter-personal obligation, and transcendence; about hybridity and the legacy of colonialism; and, of course, about the role of humanistic inquiry in addressing all these questions. The year is divided into three conceptual themes that allow us to explore the above questions: collection, travel, and exchange. Readings in the past have included Homer's The Odyssey, The Arabian Nights, Ovid, Metamorphoses, Balzac, Père Goriot, Harriet Jacobs's Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, Pu Songling, Strange Tales from Chinese Studio, Charlie Chaplin's Modern Times, Zora Neale Hurston's Of Mules and Men, T. S. Eliot's The Waste Land, Orson Welles's Citizen Kane, Tomás Rivera's And the Earth Did Not Devour Him, Jamaica Kincaid's A Small Place, Richard Wright, Native Son, Marx, The Marx-Engels Reader, the Coen Brothers' O Brother, Where Art Thou?, Haruki Murakami's Sputnik Sweetheart, Alfonso Cuarón's y tu mamá también, a visit to a museum, graphic novels, music, visual art, and cultural criticism.

Language and Human (HUMA 17000)

Language is at the center of what it means to be human and is instrumental in most humanistic pursuits. With it, we understand others, describe, plan, narrate, learn, persuade, argue, reason, and think. This course aims to provoke us to critically examine common assumptions that determine our understanding of language--and more specifically, of the ways we, as speakers or writers, use it to communicate meaning.
The Autumn Quarter of this sequence explores fundamental questions about the nature of language, concentrating on the conventional character of language as a system, and language in the individual. We discuss: the properties of human languages (spoken and signed) as systems of communication distinct from other forms (including animal and artificial systems), whether some languages are more primitive than others, how language is acquired, used, changes, and evolves, what it means to be bilingual. Typical texts used include Plato's Cratylus, parts of Finnegans Wake, Locke, Truffaut's L'enfant sauvage, Turing.