Four professors from the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences have been named 2022 Conrad Humanities Scholars, including Xun Yan, professor of linguistics.
The Conrad Humanities Scholars Award recognizes promising mid-career scholars and provides financial support for continued achievement, research, and scholarship in humanities. The designation is for five years.
A description of Yan's project in his own words follows:
In the next few years, I plan to build a corpus of speech produced by second language speakers of English and Chinese to examine speech fluency and disfluency on a variety of speaking tasks. Although the corpus will require a significant amount of annotation work, I envision a series of research projects as an outcome of this project, which can provide implications for both the cognitive processes of speech production and best practices in speaking assessment. At the end of these projects, I plan to work on a book project which focuses on delineating the construct of speaking ability for language teaching, learning, and assessment.
In addition, I will continue to work on quality enhancement for the English Placement Test (EPT) at Illinois, which is a campus-wide test designed to assess the academic English writing and speaking abilities for international students who do not speak English as a first language. My goal is to develop more writing and speaking tasks that capture relevant English communication skills in the digital era and improve the testing system to allow for more efficient communication between test developers, test takers, and other stakeholders. Ultimately, I hope that the EPT will not only accurately assess language skills but also provide instructional moments for international students.
Editor's note: This story first appeared on the College of LAS homepage.