Convocation, Profile

June 11, 2020

MA graduate looking forward to continuing her studies at SFU

Danielle Deng’s interest in language began in her childhood. Growing up, Danielle’s family moved to different cities throughout China. In each new location, Danielle would quickly pick up the dialect of that community. She had a knack for learning and analysing languages that continued throughout her school years. When deciding what to study in university, she decided to further explore the mysteries of human language by majoring in Linguistics.

After completing her undergraduate degree, Danielle wanted the opportunity to conduct her own research and ask further questions about Linguistics. The best way for her to do this was through a graduate degree.

Danielle chose to pursue graduate studies at Simon Fraser University (SFU) for a variety of reasons. The most important thing for her was that she found faculty members in the Department of Linguistics whose research interests aligned with her own. She also liked the structure of the program. The focus on building a strong background in theory while also giving hands-on experience in research through Research Assistantships was important to Danielle.

“In this way, students get solid theoretical training and also a broader view of what is happening outside their own research field,” says Danielle. “They can also get hands-on experience in doing research and learn about up-to-date research techniques.”

In April 2020, Danielle completed the first virtual defence held in the Department of Linguistics at SFU. She is graduating this Spring with a Master of Arts (MA) in Linguistics. Her thesis “Processing Tone and Vowel Information in Mandarin: An Eye-tracking Study of Contextual Effects on Speech Processing” examines how the vowel and tonal information of noun classifiers in Mandarin Chinese affect the eye movements of native listeners.

Now that she has finished her MA, Danielle will be continuing her graduate studies at SFU. She will be starting her PhD in the Department of Linguistics in Fall 2020.


Graduate-level study is a very intensive training process. You may feel overwhelmed or even doubt your ability to do research but as long as you persevere through the whole process, you will make great improvements on all sorts of aspects.

Spring 2020 Featured Graduates

This spring convocation, the Department of Linguistics is recognizing a small group of graduating students for their accomplishments in the department.