Yaling Hsiao

I'm a Research Associate at ReadOxford. I am interested in how humans,who are the only species that have written scripts, learn and comprehend language. I study what type of sentences we have difficulty understanding, by looking at how much time people and computers spend reading the sentences. Also, at the word level, I investigate what factors in children's reading experience affect their word learning through excavating interesting statistics from large corpora: for example, how often,and under what circumstances, a word appears in children's books. All in all, I hope to understand how humans master this extremely complex and fascinating skill of reading.

Visit my academic page here.

My favourite word

My favourite childhood book

My favorite word not a real word as such.  It's "wug". I was fascinated by the Wug Game after learning about it in my language acquisition class. Children are are shown a picture of a made up creature and told "This is a Wug. There is another one. There are two ____";  children spontaneously add -s to the end of a nonsensical noun to make "wugs". This generativity of morphological rules is seen even in very young children. I was so fascinated by how effortless and fast it seems to be for humans to learn all the intricacies in language that I have been trying to find out how the human mind and brain works ever since.

My favourite children's book is called "Everybody Poops" by a Japanese author: Taro Gomi. It describes how every animal, including humans, defecates in a different way. I like that it teaches children that nobody should feel embarrassed about how our body works, because every living being survives by eating, and therefore everyone must poop!