I’m primarily interested in syntax processing and have been gaining research experience on topics ranging from sentence processing, statistical learning, language learning mechanisms as well as the neural basis of language development. I’m developing my research in mainly two directions:

Firstly, I work on sentence processing. More specifically, I am interested in the processing and learning of long-distance dependencies. In my MA thesis, I have explored the effects of modification positions as well as different filler-gap distances on head-final RC processing. My MA thesis mainly focuses on the processing of Cantonese RCs, which has a VO word order and pre-nominal RC parameter. This leads me to consider the direction of expectation formation in structural processing; also, I’d like to question how structures are processed in different configurations of dependencies (e.g. serial dependency vs central embedding).

Secondly, I work on language-music relation and musician-nonmusician distinction. In my thesis, I am examining how language and music structures interact during processing when they have different head-directions, which in turn leads to the discussion of whether syntax processing would be a domain-general capacity. Moreover, finding differences in musicians’ and non-musicians’ language processing leads to the question of how musical training modulates language processing areas in brain.

I’ve been working as Dr. Regine Lai’s research assistant to explore human’s learning strategies for sound patterns of different computation complexities. The exposure to phonology research has stimulated my research ideas in three-way comparisons among musical, phonological and syntactic structures, where comparisons could be made in the senses of auditory vs other modalities, linguistic vs nonlinguistic processing, as well as general structural processing.

Recently, I’m having a growing interest in the statistical learning of linguistic and non-linguistic patterns. I would also like to explore human’s learning mechanisms as well as how human brains react to processing difficulties.

MA Thesis:

Simultaneous Processing in Language and Music: A Study on Cantonese (Non)Musicians [paper]


Tang, K.M.C. & Lai, R. (2023, May) The acquisition of Cantonese phonotactics. Hanyang International Symposium on Phonetics and Cognitive Sciences of Language (HISPhonCog 2023). [Oral presentation]. Seoul, Korea.

Tang, K.M.C. (2022, Jun) Simultaneous Processing of Language and Music: Cognitive Difference between Musicians and Non-musicians. The Fifth Forum on Cantonese Linguistics (FoCaL-5) [Conference presentation]. Hong Kong.

Yip, K.F., Tang, K.M.C., Lee, T.M. & Chan S.L.S. (2022, May) Processing Discontinuous Predicates in Cantonese. The 6th Workshop on Innovations in Cantonese Linguistics (WICL-6)
[Conference presentation]. Ohio, United States [Zoom].

Tang,. K.M.C. (2021, Dec). Cantonese Relative Clause Processing. The Annual Research Forum 2021 of Linguistics Society of Hong Kong (LSHK-ARF 2021) [Conference presentation]. Hong Kong.

Lai, R. & Tang, K.M.C. (2021, Dec). The Acquisition of Cantonese Phonotactics. The Annual Research Forum 2021 of Linguistics Society of Hong Kong (LSHK-ARF 2021) [Conference presentation]. Hong Kong.

Tang, K.M.C., Li, C. & Lai, R. (2021, Dec). Bias in Statistical Learning. The Asia-Pacific Babylab Constellation (ABC) Conference [Conference presentation]. Hong Kong.

Tang, C. (Jul, 2021). Simultaneous Processing in Language and Music: A Self-paced Reading Study on Cantonese (Non)Musicians. Hong Kong Meetup of The Cognitive Science Society. Hong Kong.

Li, C., Tang, C., & Lai, R. (Dec, 2020). The Impact of Computational Complexity on Phonological Learning. The Annual Research Forum 2020 of Linguistic Society of Hong Kong (LSHK-ARF 2020). Online.

Tang, C. (Jun, 2020). The Acquisition of Cantonese Classifiers by Bilingual Children. The 3rd Forum on Cantonese Linguistics. Hong Kong. [slide]

Luk, P.S., Winterstein, G., & Tang, K.M.C. (Apr, 2020). Interpreting (in)definiteness in Cantonese: A pragmatic account. In 5th Workshop on Innovations in Cantonese Linguistics (WICL-5). Online.

Conference proceeding:

Winterstein, G., Tang, C. & Lai, R. (2020, May). Cantomap: a Hong Kong Cantonese MapTask Corpus. In The International Conference on Language Resources and Evaluation (LREC 2020). Palais du Pharo. (Conference canceled)

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