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Yao Tong, MA

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    I’m a PhD candidate in the research group of language use and cognition. My PhD project focuses on abstract concepts and co-speech gestures. Using a combination of quantitative and qualitative methods and the corpus-analytical approach, my dissertations contributes to the following research questions: To what extent abstract thought is related to our bodily experiences? What is the role of embodiment in structuring abstract concepts? To what extent are gestures co-occurring with concrete and abstract meaning related to, or different from each other?

    This project is being supervised by Alan Cienki (, Christian Burgers (, and Gudrun Reijnierse

    My research interests include embodied cognition, simulation semantics, conceptual metaphor, co-speech gesture, corpus linguistics, cognitive linguistics, usage-based linguistics, and quantitative empirical methods involving corpora. 


    2015-present      PhD candidate, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, the Netherlands

    2013-2015         Research Master’s in Linguistics, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, the Netherlands

    2011- 2013         Master in English Composition: Applied Linguistics and Teaching English as a Second Language, California State University (San Bernardino), United States

    2007- 2011         BA in English, Xi’an International Studies University, China

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