Zhong Chen Headshot

Zhong Chen

Associate Professor

Department of Modern Languages and Cultures
College of Liberal Arts

Office Location

Zhong Chen

Associate Professor

Department of Modern Languages and Cultures
College of Liberal Arts


BA, Nanjing Normal University (China); MA, Ph.D., Cornell University


Select Scholarship

Journal Paper
Berent, Gerald P, et al. "Academic verb knowledge of DHH college students and their hearing peers." The Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education. (2023): enad053. Web.
Chen, Zhong and John Hale. "Quantifying structural and non-structural expectations in relative clause processing." Cognitive Science 45. 1 (2021): e12927. Web.
Chen, Zhong, Yuhang Xu, and Zhiguo Xie. "Assessing introspective linguistic judgments quantitatively: the case of The Syntax of Chinese." Journal of East Asian Linguistics 29. 3 (2020): 311-336. Print.
Jager, Lena, et al. "The subject-relative advantage in Chinese: Evidence for expectation-based processing." Journal of Memory and Language. 79-80 (2015): 97-120. Print.
Yun, Jiwon, et al. "Uncertainty in processing relative clauses across East Asian languages." Journal of East Asian Linguistics 24. 2 (2015): 113-148. Print.
Book Chapter
Chen, Zhong and John Hale. "Parsing Chinese relative clauses with syntactic and non-syntactic cues." Topics in Theoretical Asian Linguistics. Ed. Edith Aldridge and Kunio Nishiyama. Amsterdam, Netherland: John Benjamins, 2018. 253-283. Print.

Currently Teaching

3 Credits
This course introduces main subfields of psycholinguistics, a study that deals with all aspects of human language performance: language acquisition, sentence processing/comprehension, and sentence production/speaking. Through readings on theoretical and experimental studies, findings and issues in first language acquisition, sentence processing, and sentence production are introduced. By discussing how speakers of different languages acquire, comprehend, and produce sentences, the course also examines interactions with language-specific, linguistic constraints and human language performances.
4 Credits
This course is designed for beginners, with no prior study of Chinese. It introduces students to the sounds, basic sentence structures, and the writing system of Mandarin Chinese. Pinyin, the Romanization (phonetic transliteration) of Mandarin Chinese, is taught and required throughout the course. Students also learn to read and write Chinese characters. Emphasis is on developing listening and speaking skills, as well as building a vocabulary based on the ideographic Chinese characters. Chinese culture is also introduced through the course. Students must take a placement exam if this is their first RIT class in Chinese and they have some prior knowledge of Mandarin Chinese.
3 Credits
This course begins the intermediate level of Chinese study. Knowledge of Pinyin, Chinese characters, and sentence structures covered by the beginning level of Chinese study is required before taking this course. The focus continues to be on developing listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills. Further aspects of Chinese culture are also introduced, in parallel to Chinese language study.
3 Credits
This course continues the intermediate level of Chinese study. Knowledge of Pinyin, Chinese characters, and sentence structures covered by the first three semesters of Chinese learning is required before taking this course. The focus continues to be on developing listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills. Further aspects of Chinese culture are also introduced, in parallel to Chinese language study.
3 Credits
This course aims to improve students’ Chinese language proficiency and focuses especially on enhancing their conversational skills. The course will also increase students’ knowledge of Chinese culture in comparison with American culture through exposure to authentic sources. Students will learn expressions and manners of speaking during formal and informal Chinese conversations about their daily experiences. Students will develop their listening skills and will be able to gather general ideas and necessary details from authentic oral materials. They will also improve their abilities of narrating and describing familiar topics with various sentence structures. This course is especially suitable for students planning to study or work in China and desiring confidence and basic competence in communicating.
3 Credits
This course is designed to enhance students’ ability to read authentic Chinese materials and write a variety of texts in Chinese, such as messages, blogs, emails, and short stories, more effectively. The main focus is to develop practical reading and writing skills that are essential for daily life by employing vocabulary, idioms, expressions, and structures in a more natural and descriptive fashion. This course provides students the opportunity to practice reading and writing strategies in meaningful and practical contexts, and to reinforce the materials that they have learned. Through reading, writing, discussion, multimedia, and presentations, students will learn the Chinese language in the context of describing nature, people, Chinese daily life and culture.
3 Credits
This course teaches specialized terminology and linguistic structures important for communicating scientific and technological knowledge in the target language. The focus is on developing students’ listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills in interpreting technical Chinese. Students will learn science and technology terms and structures in a broad range of technical areas via experiential learning activities. In addition, students will research and present topics of their own interest or beyond their disciplines. Students will expand their knowledge of the target language to include technical terms/structures and prepare themselves to better apply their language skills in internships, research, and work while exploring and understanding the culture in professional workplaces.
3 Credits
The course gives students an opportunity to study professional Chinese language and culture as well as to practice presentation and negotiation skills, especially in professional and formal contexts. Students will improve speaking, listening, reading and writing skills developed in the elementary/intermediate sequence to master formal interactions in Chinese. They will learn professional vocabulary, expressions, and grammatical structures through readings, conversation, and discussion. They will cultivate expressive skills through discussion, writing assignments, and a video tutorial project. This course will be useful for students who are planning to seek employment in Chinese companies or in companies doing business in Chinese speaking areas, and also for students who want to learn more about business in Chinese culture. This is a language class; proficiency equivalent to Intermediate Chinese II is required.
1 Credits
This one-credit course provides students opportunities to intensively practice and improve real-life speaking skills in the target language, beyond what is possible in regular language courses. Grammar relevant to each context and communicative goal may be reviewed as necessary. This course may also provide cultural information related to current events and daily life. Open to any students who desire extra practice in Chinese speaking.
1 - 4 Credits
An in-depth exploration of the Chinese language and culture focusing on skills/topics that are not covered in sequential regular language courses. Prerequisite: varies; contact the instructor.
3 Credits
This upper division seminar constitutes the final core requirement in the Applied Modern Language and Culture degree program. Students majoring in Applied Modern Language and Culture will enroll in this course in their final year of study. The capstone seminar will further develop and sharpen the connection between the students’ professional or technical fields and their linguistic and cultural knowledge of the language of the track The course will involve a variety of written and reading assignments, and/or project which involves professional fields. May be repeated up to twice.

In the News

  • November 15, 2023

    logo for the United States Department of Education, featuring a tree in the middle of the seal.

    Faculty receive new grant to expand foreign language education offerings with a focus on STEAM

    Faculty in RIT’s Modern Languages and Cultures department received an International Research and Studies grant from the U.S. Department of Education to fund the development of new materials and curricula for Chinese, Italian, and Spanish courses that focus on STEAM. Associate Professor Zhong Chen, Principal Lecturer Elisabetta D’Amanda, and Department Chair Sara Armengot will spend the next three years developing, testing, and implementing the new materials in the classroom.

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