Professor Zhiqiang Li

Zhiqiang Li


Program Director
Full-Time Faculty
Kalmanovitz Hall 341


Dr. Zhiqiang Li is a professor of Chinese and director of the Chinese Studies minor program in the Department of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures at the University of San Francisco. He holds a Ph.D. in Linguistics from MIT. 

Professor Li is a linguist. His research expertise includes several areas, including phonology, acoustic phonetics, Chinese linguistics, and language pedagogy. He has conducted research on phonological prominence in tone sandhi, the interaction of tone and intonation in Mandarin, tonal alignment and prosodic prominence, phonetic enhancement of distinctive features, intonation structures, prosodic features of spoken dialogues, and production and perception of tones by non-native speakers of Chinese. 

In recent years, he has engaged in collaborative endeavors with several fellow researchers in examining the intonation structures of tone languages, with a particular focus on Chinese dialects. By adopting a typological approach, they aim to unravel the intricate relationship between tone and intonation across a diverse range of languages and dialects. 

Professor Li teaches Chinese language courses and courses on linguistics and traditional Chinese culture. His publications include one single-author book in 2018 and one co-authored book in 2020.

Research Areas

  • Phonological prominence in tone sandhi
  • Intonation structures in tone languages
  • Enhancement in speech
  • Speech learning in second language


  • PhD, Linguistics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
  • MA, Applied Linguistics, Beijing Foreign Studies University
  • BA, English Language and Literature, Tianjin Normal University

Awards & Distinctions

  • Post-Sabbatical Award, University of San Francisco, 2023
  • College Service Award, University of San Francisco, 2015
  • Award of Distinction, Chinese Language Education Research Center (CLERC), 2011

Selected Publications

  • Huang, Jingwen, Aijun Li and Zhiqiang Li. An experimental study of tones and disyllabic tone sandhi in Shanghai Chinese. Journal of Chinese Phonetics, Vol. 19: 28-49, 2023.
  • Li, Zhiqiang and Aijun Li. The hierarchical structure of stress and prosodic features in connected speech in Mandarin. Studies in Prosodic Grammar, Vol. 9: 88-114, 2023.
  • Li, Zhiqiang. Enhancement in Mandarin Chinese. Journal of Chinese Phonetics, Vol. 18: 17-23, 2022.
  • Li, Aijun and Zhiqiang Li. Prosodic realization of tonal target and its alignment with neutral-tone syllables in Mandarin Chinese. Language and Linguistics, 23:1, 47-81, 2022.
  • Lin, Maocan, Aijun Li and Zhiqiang Li.​​​​​​ Study of Chinese Intonation in Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language (汉语语调与对外汉语教学研究). Beijing: Press of Chinese Social Sciences, 2020.
  • Li, Zhiqiang. Studies in Acquisition and Teaching of Mandarin Chinese Phonology (汉语语音习得与教学研究). Beijing: Beijing Language and Culture University Press, 2018.
  • Li, Zhiqiang. Prosodic restrictions on the distribution and realization of tonal events: evidence from Chaha. Studies in Prosodic Grammar. Vol. 3, Issue 1: 63-89, 2018.
  • Li, Zhiqiang and Maocan Lin. Phonetic issues in teaching Chinese tone and intonation as a foreign language. Journal of International Chinese Teaching. Vol. 3: 26-36. Beijing: Beijing Language and Culture University Press, 2018.
  • Li, Aijun and Zhiqiang Li. Teaching and research of phonetics in spoken dialogues. Special Topic: Teaching and Research in Chinese Phonetics, ed. by Zhiqiang Li. Journal of International Chinese Teaching. Vol. 4: 4-10. Beijing: Beijing Language and Culture University Press, 2017.
  • Li, Zhiqiang. A model of phonological acquisition in Chinese. Journal of International Chinese Education, Vol. 1: 161-174. Beijing: Science Press, 2016.
  • Li, Zhiqiang and Qiguang Lin. Review of The Experimental Study of Intonation in Mandarin Chinese, by Maocan Lin. Chinese Academy of Social Sciences Press, 2012. Phonetica, 73: 141-143, 2016.
  • Li, Zhiqiang. Phonetic bases of distinctive features. Journal of Chinese Phonetics, Vol. 4: 27-38. Beijing: Commercial Press, 2013.
  • Li, Zhiqiang. Phonological contrast and non-distinctive features. Journal of Chinese Phonetics, Vol. 3: 77-82. Beijing: Commercial Press, 2012.
  • Li, Zhiqiang. The phonetics and pedagogy of pronunciation teaching in Chinese. International Chinese Language Education, No. 4: 36-42. Beijing: Foreign Language Teaching and Research Press, 2011.