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Nian Liu

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Nian Liu 劉念

Associate Professor, Chinese Language and Linguistics

Kaufman Hall 103A

(405) 325-8622


Dr. Nian Liu joined the Department of Modern Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics in 2012. She served as academic advisor and section head of the Chinese Program and is currently serving as Assistant Chair of the Department of MLLL. She was a visiting scholar at University of California, San Diego, University of Latvia, Peking University, and the Chinese University of Hong Kong working on several cross-linguistic comparison projects.

Her research interests cover diverse topics including linguistic relativity, embodiment of linguistic constructions, bilingualism and Chinese language processing. Her main research projects explore the relationship between language and cognition— how language is influenced by and influences general cognition. The cognitive perspective is one which sees language as being inextricably linked to other cognitive functions, and so it is hypothesized that language affects and is affected by these other functions. Several of her research projects and internationally-cooperative projects have been supported by National Science Foundation (NSF), Ministry of Education of China, and OU Research Council.

Dr. Liu regularly offers courses in Language, Culture & Cognition (MLLL4753), Chinese Language & Linguistics (MLLL4453), Classical Chinese (CHIN4543), Learning Chinese through Media(CHIN4453), and Chinese Capstone (CHIN4993) in addition to some other language and culture courses. She also teaches Chinese Culture, Language & History (IAS3930/5830) while leading the Journey to China trip in the summer.

Selected Refereed Publications

Yang,Y.,  Li, Y., Tang, A., Liu, N., & Wang, X. (forthcoming). English spoken word segmentation activates the prefrontal cortex and temporo-parietal junction in Chinese ESL learners. Brain Research.

Kuehster, L. & Liu, N. (in press) The effect of language on conceptualizing event sequences. 中美人文学刊 [Journal of Sino-American Humanity Studies], Vol. 5.

Liu, N. & Zhang, W. (2018). 网络新生混成字的形成以及识别中的认知机制 [The cognitive mechanisms under formation and recognition of Chinese neo-blending characters]. 民俗典籍文字研究 [Research on Folklore, Classics and Chinese Characters]. Vol. 22, 225-233.

Liu, N., & Bergen, B. (2016). When do language understanders mentally simulate locations? Cognitive Linguistics, Vol. 17, No. 2, 181-203.

Liu, N. (2016). Tone 3 Sandhi in Mandarin Chinese: phonological rule or process? Journal of Sinology. Vol. 10, 48-71.

Liu, N. (2016). 对孤立语词形变化现象存在性的再讨论 [On the evidence of morphology in isolating languages]. 民俗典籍文字研究 [Research on Folklore, Classics and Chinese Characters]. Vol. 18, 181-198.

Stabile, C., Liu, N., Chen, V., & Deen, K. (2016). Cross-linguistic priming of the passive in Mandarin and English bilinguals. In D. Stringer et al. (Eds.) Proceedings of the 13th Generative Approaches to Second Language Acquisition, (pp. 223-232). Somerville, MA: Cascadilla Proceedings Project.

Liu, N., & Shin, Y. (2016). When months are numbered while days are not: Korean children’s acquisition of time words. In M. Kenstowicz, T. Levin, & R. Masuda (Eds.) Japanese/Korean Linguistics 23, (pp. 1-10). Stanford CA: CSLI Publications.

Zhang, W., & Liu, N.  (2016). 认知语言学定量研究的几种新方法 [Advanced quantitative methods in cognitive linguistics research]. 外国语 [Journal of Foreign Languages], Vol. 1, 71-79.

Zhang, W., & Liu, N. (2015). 认知语言学研究的“实证周期”[The empirical cycle of cognitive linguistics research]. 外语研究 [Foreign Languages Research], Vol. 3, 18-29.

Liu, N. (2013). Implicit priming effects in Chinese word recall: the role of orthography and tones in the mental lexicon. International Journal of Computational Linguistics and Chinese Language Processing, Vol. 18, No. 3, 1-20.

Liu, N., & Bergen, B. (2013). When Tuesday comes before Threesday: Cross-linguistic differences in numerical transparency of time words predicts temporal reasoning strategy and performance. In M. Knauff, M., Pauen, N., Sebanz, & I. Wachsmuth (Eds.) Proceedings of the 35th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society (pp. 924-929). Austin TX: Cognitive Science Society.

Liu, N. (2010). Tuesday, Threesday, Foursday: Chinese names for the days of the week facilitate Chinese children's temporal reasoning. In W. Christensen, E. Schier, and J. Sutton (Eds.), ASCS09: Proceedings of the 9th Conference of the Australasian Society for Cognitive Science (pp. 210-215). Sydney: Macquarie Centre for Cognitive Science.



Ph.D., M.A. in Linguistics, University of Hawaii at Manoa

M.A. in Eastern Asian Language and Linguistics, University of Hawaii at Manoa

M.A., B.A. in English Language and linguistics, Wuhan University


Cognitive Linguistics

Chinese Language, Culture and Linguistics


Language Acquisition