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Dr. Zhao's main research interest is in comparative syntax and language acquisition, especially second language acquisition. Her research is set against the background assumptions proposed by Noam Chomsky that there is an innate cognitive capacity for language in human brain. Dr. Zhao's second area of interest is intercultural communication.
- 'L2 acquisition of the interpretations of a null element and ta in the subject position of an adverbial clause by English-speaking learners' in Yuan, B.(ed), Theoretical and Empirical Approach to Applied Chinese Language Studies, London: Cypress Book (2008).
- 'The interpretations of two types of embedded null subjects in L2 Chinese', presented at the 17th European Second Language Association Conference (EuroSLA 17), University of Newcastle (2007).
- 'A deletion analysis of the distributive and interpretive properties of overt and covert subjects in discourse pro-drop languages' in Beltrán, E., G. Chatzidamianos, G. Chi, L. Frey, K. Hargreaves, T, Kraš, N. Novakovic (eds.), Proceedings of the Third University of Cambridge Postgraduate Conference in Language Research: 419-426 (2005).
- 'Early syntactic development of an English-Chinese bilingual child', Proceedings of the Second University of Cambridge Postgraduate Conference in Language Research: 104-111 (2004).