Hello and thank you for visiting my page!

I am an assistant professor in the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures (EALC) at Indiana University Bloomington. I am also affiliated with the Department of Linguistics, Cognitive Science Program, and Southeast Asian and ASEAN Studies Program at Indiana University Bloomington. I have a PhD in Linguistics and a graduate certificate in Second Language Studies from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, an MA in Linguistics from the University of Pittsburgh, and a BA in Behavioral Sciences from Chiba University. My pronouns are she/her.

I am a linguist specialized in language acquisition, experimental linguistics, and corpus linguistics. I am interested in finding out to what extent the grammatical patterns we find in languages (e.g., relative clause asymmetries, islands) can be explained in terms of the human beings’ cognitive capacities and the type of input we receive during our learning process. I work with different types of speakers (children, adult native speakers, second/foreign language learners, heritage speakers, individuals with aphasia) of languages of Asia and the Pacific (e.g., Japanese, Mandarin Chinese, Tagalog, Yoron-Ryukyuan). I am also interested in using findings from acquisition research to facilitate language maintenance and conservation of endangered, heritage, and minority languages.

New paper in Glossa

An overview article I wrote with Elaine Lau on the subject-object asymmetry in relative clause has been published through Glossa. We coded 300+ relevant studies, covering as many languages, populations, and methodologies as possible, all of which are summarized in the figures and listed in the supplementary files. Check out the Open Access paper here!


tanakan [at] iu [dot] edu
Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures
Hamilton Lugar School of Global and International Studies
355 Jordan Avenue
Bloomington, IN 47405-1105