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Pengfei Li

Headshot of Prof Li

Senior Lecturer in Asian Studies (Chinese)


Office: Buttrick 254




  • BA – Dalian University of Foreign Languages, China
  • MA – Boston University 
  • PhD – Boston University


  • Theoretical linguistics
  • Syntax and prosody in Chinese
  • How word order interacts with phonology and information structure
  • L1 children’s knowledge of implicatures
  • Corrective feedback through technology in L2 instruction
  • Translanguaging
  • Task-based language teaching


Pengfei Li holds a Ph.D. in Applied Linguistics and specializes in linguistics and language acquisition. He is very experienced in technology-enhanced language teaching, course material development, and curriculum design. Before joining Vanderbilt University, he taught Chinese at all levels at Wake Forest University and Boston University. His classes are goal-driven and his teaching methods, which incorporate the communicative approach, are guided by the principle of “learn to use”. 

Dr. Li’s research interests focus on both theoretical linguistics and language acquisition. In theoretical linguistics, he investigates linguistic data at the interfaces, focusing primarily on syntax and prosody in Chinese. In particular, he examines how word order interacts with phonology and information structure. In language acquisition, he conducts research in L1 children’s knowledge of implicatures, corrective feedback through technology in L2 instruction, translanguaging, and task-based language teaching. 

In his spare time, Pengfei enjoys photography and videography. He loves all kinds sports and is a huge basketball fan. He can also swim, but not fast and long.



  • Li, P. (2018). Children’s Knowledge of Conventional Implicatures: Evidence from the Mandarin lian...dou Construction. In A. Bertolini & M. Kaplan (Eds.), Proceedings of the 42nd annual Boston University Conference on Language Development (pp. 451–464). Somerville, MA: Cascadilla Press.
  • Li, P. (2017). A Phase-Based Approach to Object Marking in Mandarin Chinese (Winner of Excellent Paper). In S. Lee, F. K. C. Lee, K. C. Li, & J. Yam (Eds.), Proceedings of the Third International Conference on Linguistics and Language Studies (ICLLS 2017) (pp. 133–149). Hong Kong: The Chartered Institute of Linguists Hong Kong Society.

Selected Conference Presentations:

  • Using “Quizizz” to Increase Advanced CFL Learners’ Vocabulary Retention, presented at the ACTFL 2022 Annual Convention and World Languages Expo, November 18-20, 2022, Boston, MA 
  • Debate in Advanced Chinese Class: Design, Execution, and Reflection, presented at the 2022 The Chinese Language Teachers Association (CLTA) Annual Conference, online, April 6-10, 2022 
  • Online Chinese Calligraphy Courses: A Challenge or a Solution? presented at the 12th International Conference on Hanzi Calligraphy Education, hosted by American Society of Shufa Calligraphy Education (ASSCE), online, July 16th - 17th, 2021  
  • Focus but Not Focus Movement: Evidence from Mandarin ‘Even’, 32nd North American Conference on Chinese Linguistics (NACCL-32), the University of Connecticut, USA, 2020
  • Computer-mediated Corrective Feedback: Exploration into Its Synchronous & Asynchronous Modes, presented at the Boston Area Pedagogy Conference (BAPC), March 22nd ,2019, Boston University
  • Teaching the Chinese BA-construction with a Cooking Lesson, teaching activity showcase at the Second CLTA International Symposium on Chinese Language Teaching and Learning (CLTA-S2), April 1-3, 2016, University of Maryland
  • Providing Computer-mediated Corrective Feedback to Chinese Beginners, presented at the ACTFL 2014 Annual Convention and World Language Expo, November 21-23, 2014, San Antonio, Texas
  • Extending the Language Learning Communities outside the Classroom: the Powerful Potential of Current Technologies, presented at the 8th International Conference and Workshops on Technology and Chinese Language Teaching in the 21st Century (TCLT8), June 6-8, 2014, Tufts University.
  • A Stress-driven Approach to the Syntax of the BA-construction in Chinese, poster presentation at the 38th Annual Penn Linguistics Conference, University of Pennsylvania, March 28-30, 2014, Philadelphia.