Lisa Cheng (linguist)

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Lisa Lai-shen Cheng
Alma materMIT
Known forsyntax-semantics interface, syntax-prosody interface, syntax-processing interface, Chinese languages, Bantu languages
Scientific career
InstitutionsLeiden University
Doctoral advisorNoam Chomsky

Lisa Cheng (Lisa Lai-shen Cheng, 鄭禮珊 in traditional Chinese characters, 郑礼珊 in simplified Chinese characters) (born 1962)[1] is a Chinese linguist with specialisation in theoretical syntax. She is a Chair Professor of Linguistics and Language and Cognition track coordinator at the Department of Linguistics, Leiden University, and one of the founding members of the Leiden Institute for Brain and Cognition.[2]

Academic life[edit]

Cheng has served on the editorial board of many leading journals in linguistics. She is an advisory editor of Linguistic Inquiry,[3] and an associate editor of Lingua, Journal of East Asian Linguistics, Contemporary Chinese Linguistics, Syntax: Journal of Theoretical, Experimental and Interdisciplinary Research, and The Linguistic Review. She was the Editor of Glot International between 1996 and 2003.

Cheng obtained her PhD at Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1991, where she studied with Noam Chomsky,[4][5] after completing her BA and MA degree at the University of Toronto. From 1991 to 2000, she worked at the University of California, Irvine, first as an assistant professor, then as an associate professor (with tenure), before moving to Leiden University. In 2012, she was nominated for the Regional Chair at the University of Nantes (France), where she was appointed for two years and lectured on East Asian Linguistics .[6] Cheng has done extensive work on theoretical syntax, mostly from a comparative perspective with the majority of her work concentrating on Chinese languages (Mandarin, Cantonese, Wu, and Min) and Bantu languages (Zulu, Chichewa).

Cheng was elected a member of Academia Europaea in 2016.[7][8] In 2017 she was elected a member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences.[1][9]


  • On the typology of wh-questions, 1991
  • More papers on wh-movement, 1991
  • The first glot international state-of-the-article book : the latest in linguistics, 2000


  1. ^ a b "KNAW kiest 26 nieuwe leden" (in Dutch). Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences. 10 May 2017. Retrieved 13 May 2017.
  2. ^ "Lisa Cheng".
  3. ^ "Editorial Board of Linguistic Inquiry".
  4. ^ "Noam Chomsky in Leiden".
  5. ^ Doyle, Allan. "Alumni and their Dissertations – MIT Linguistics". Retrieved 2019-03-29.
  6. ^ "Professor Cheng nominated as Regional Chair".
  7. ^ "Lisa Cheng". Academia Europaea. Archived from the original on 28 March 2019.
  8. ^ "Lisa Cheng elected as member of the Academia Europaea".
  9. ^ "Lisa Cheng". Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences. Archived from the original on 13 May 2017.

External links[edit]