3MT 2023 Finalist  Youran Lin

Youran Lin

Communication Sciences and Disorders, College of Health Sciences

Ugh, Mandarin Tones Are Hard for Our Students!

Introduce yourself…

I'm an international student from China, a PhD Candidate, a speech-language pathologist, an enthusiastic home cook, and an amateur karaoke singer.

What are you researching and what do you hope comes out of your research?

I am researching the pronunciation development of children who are enrolled in Mandarin-English bilingual schools. I hope to help immigrant families maintain their heritage languages and encourage our new generation to value international languages as a resource.

How did presenting a Three Minute Thesis (3MT) help explain your research to the public?

Preparing the 3MT helped me understand my research better! Through the discussion with my public audience, I learned a lot about what they care about. It also felt great to introduce my language to others. Therefore, presenting a 3MT helped me connect myself, my research, my culture, and the world around me!

What inspires you to do research?

Curiosity and care for others.

What are three key words important to your 3MT?

Bilingual, education, tones

How does your research impact local, provincial, or global communities at large?

My research aims to help local children and families maintain Mandarin as their heritage language or learn Mandarin as a second language. It presents the Mandarin Chinese bilingual program as an example of the many thriving international language bilingual programs across the province of Alberta. It also promotes the idea that languages are capital and resources. I hope our new generations will feel motivated to learn languages, understand cultures, and connect to communities around the globe.

If you had to dedicate your research to anyone from the past, present, or future, who would it be and why?

I would like to dedicate my research to my supervisor, Dr. Karen Pollock, and co-supervisor, Dr. Fangfang Li. They have been giving me tremendous support in my research and early immigrant life and have been my role models in exploring my career as a researcher. I would also like to dedicate my research to my partner, Kris, who is as nerdy as me and loves penguins.

3MT Image Description: In Mandarin, when the same syllable (for example "ma") is accompanied by different tones (pitch contours), it has completely different meanings.

Watch Youran's Three Minute Thesis