Nian Liu (劉念)

Assistant Professor

Chinese 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 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 in Spring semesters), Chinese Language & Linguistics (MLLL4453 in Fall semesters), Classical Chinese (CHIN4543 in Fall semesters), Chinese Capstone (CHIN4993 in Spring semesters) 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. 


Refereed Publications

Liu, N., & Bergen, B. (2016). When do language understanders mentally simulate locations?Cognitive Linguistics, Vol. 17, No. 2, 181-204. 

Liu, N. (2016). On the evidence of morphology in isolating languages. Research on Folklore, Classics and Chinese Characters, Vol. 18, 181-198.

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

Stabile, C., Liu, N., Chen, V., & Deen, K. (2016). Cross linguistic priming of the passive in Mandarin and English bilinguals. In Stringer, D., Garrett, J., Halloran, B., & Mossman, S. (Eds.). GASLA 13: Proceedings of the 13th Generative Approaches to Second Language Acquisition Conference (pp. 223-232). Somerville, MA.

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). Advanced quantitative methods in Cognitive Linguistics research. Journal of Foreign Languages, Vol. 1, 72-81. 

Zhang, W. & Liu, N. (2015). The empirical cycle of cognitive linguistics research. Foreign Languages Research, Vol. 151, No. 3, 18-29. 

Liu, N. (2013). Implicit Priming Effects in Chinese Word Recall: the Role of Orthography 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 ASCS09: Proceedings of the 9th Conference of the Australasian Society for Cognitive Science (pp. 210-215). Edited by Wayne Christensen, Elizabeth Schier, and John Sutton. Sydney: Macquarie Centre for Cognitive Science. 



PhD, M.A. in Linguistics, University of Hawaii at Manoa

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

M.A., B.A. in English Literature, Wuhan University



Cognitive Linguistics


Language Acquisition